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Snuffer will not run again

December 16, 2015

Walpole Selectmen Chairman Cliff Snuffer announced at last night’s Selectmen meeting that he will step down at the conclusion of his term in June.

Snuffer, who is serving his second non-consecutive term on the Board, said that his decision was a personal decision, made with his family, and was not influenced by the “nasty vitriol of the last few weeks.” Snuffer was referring to at least two weeks of intense criticism leveled at him surrounding his role in secret negotiations with Siemens over a property tax break.

A video posted anonymously on YouTube last week, which showed Snuffer preventing discussion at a Selectmen meeting on the proposed Siemens agreement, had reached more than 700 views by yesterday, just six days after being posted. The video has also been the subject of conversation on social media.

Snuffer was elected in 2013 on a stridently fiscal conservative platform, but during his tenure he sadly became infected with the “Conformation Phenomenon” and fell in line with the Establishment. Nevertheless, he remains an icon in the eyes of many Walpole conservatives, particularly older-generation conservatives, for his service as Finance Committee chairman during the Walpole Conservative “Glory Days” in the 1990s.

Snuffer previously served on the Board from 2008 to 2011.

[Read 180’s endorsement of Snuffer in 2013]

His record of service in Walpole spans all the way back to 1976, when he launched his first bid for Town Meeting Representative, while serving as the Walpole community coordinator for the President (Gerald) Ford Committee.

Sources suggested that Snuffer likely made his decision not to run for re-election at least several months ago, and not recently. In recent weeks, sources close to Snuffer had expressed uncertainty about his political plans, but some observers said they were expecting him to run again.

Selectman Jim Stanton is also up for re-election in 2016, but has not made his plans clear. Stanton, who maintains a large base of support, is expected to sail to re-election if he chooses to run again.

Snuffer’s decision to step down will open up jockeying for his seat during the weeks leading up to February 1, when town nomination papers become available. The strength of Selectman David Salvatore’s political machine, which helped get him and key allies elected to town boards this past June, will also likely play a role in this election. Salvatore’s endorsement would be critical for any candidate looking to replace Snuffer. A few individuals friendly with Salvatore are known to be potential candidates.

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