Ward 3 Shake-Up

By Chris Wangler
June 12, 2023

With his trial for OUI hit-and-run approaching at the end of the month, city councilor George Darcy has made a surprising election announcement.

The longtime councilor will not run this fall in his North Waltham ward, but rather for one of six at-large seats representing the whole city.

The news shook up the Ward 3 race, where challengers Paul Tracey and Bill Hanley had announced plans to run for the seat held by Darcy since 2004. This week, a third hopeful pulled papers to run.

Ward 3 includes large swaths of North Waltham along the Lexington and Belmont lines.

New Goal

Darcy announced the news in a message to constituents Sunday.

“After deep consideration I have decided to not run for the Ward 3 City Council and instead I am running for the Waltham At-Large Council position,” he said.

Darcy did not provide a reason for the decision.


He could not be reached for further comment, but a previous run could offer a clue to his reasoning. 

Back in 2020, Darcy ran for 9th Middlesex state representative against longtime incumbent Tom Stanley [right in photo], who is also a Waltham councilor-at-large.

Although Stanley was re-elected easily with 73% of the vote, Darcy earned 5,500 votes from predominantly Waltham voters (the district also includes parts of Lincoln).

Could that sizable vote tally help him earn an at-large seat in Waltham this November?

New Race

In his message to Ward 3 constituents, Darcy encouraged them to consider running, sharing the steps required to get on the ballot and even the annual salary. 

“If you have a thick skin and enjoy helping people, improving Waltham, then this councilor position will be a life-changing event for you and your family!” he wrote.

One prospective candidate took his advice and pulled papers this week.

Barbara Ayala Rugg Diehl is a Waltham artist and environmental educator. 

One of her works is currently displayed at Waltham Vision Care as part of the Moody Art Walk, where she serves on the committee.

“I want to step up and continue George Darcy’s environmental work, said the first-time candidate. She also wants to support public transit and LGBTQ advocacy.

Two returning candidates, now facing an easier path to election, also commented on Darcy’s decision.


“I was surprised by the news, and I wish councilor Darcy luck in his at-large campaign,” said Bill Hanley, who pulled papers to run in Ward 3.

A family man involved in youth sports, Hanley is a healthcare professional and Waltham Board of Health member. In 2019, when he lived in Ward 2, he ran for ward councilor and lost by only 12 votes.

Veteran Waltham police officer Paul Tracey, another second-time candidate, also plans to run in Ward 3. 


The husband and father of two ran against Darcy back in 2019 as a first-time candidate and almost won, losing by roughly 250 votes.

Tracey thanked Darcy “for his many notable successes in Ward 3,” advocating for open space and historical preservation and fighting for seniors and the disabled. 

If Darcy is elected at-large, Tracey expressed confidence that “he will continue his important work for the rest of the people of Waltham.”

If all three Ward 3 hopefuls submit their election paperwork by June 30, it would trigger a preliminary election in September.

OUI / Hit-and-Run

Meanwhile, George Darcy is set to stand trial before a jury in Waltham District Court on June 29. 


In October 2022, he was arrested and charged with operating under the influence (OUI) and leaving the scene of property damage in connection with a crash at Main and Lyman Streets.


He has pleaded not guilty, and is represented by James Milligan, a top Massachusetts OUI defense attorney.