School committee member Paul Coogan, the leading candidate in this race, says a debate with city administrator and write-in candidate Cathy Ann Viveiros would make a mockery out of the upcoming election. 

"I'm running against a very corrupt machine," Coogan says. "[It's] used the city to a horrible disservice for a long time and I'm just not going to play their games."

Coogan says the timing of the Viveiros announcement is suspect. The administrator made her campaign announcement just eleven days after leaked audio revealed mayor Jasiel Correia’s plan to sway the election with a write-in candidate. 

But Viveiros says she decided to run on her own and accused her opponent of using the situation as an excuse to not debate her. 

"His decision not to debate does seem unusual to me," Viveiros says. "Debates are fairly typical, especially in races for the office of mayor that are so important to the future of the community."

Coogan won the preliminary election for mayor with over 60-percent of the vote. Correia, who recently suspended his campaign amid multiple federal charges against him, will still be on the ballot.