Saturday, February 16, 2008

The line on local races

February 16 update: Harold Naughton has decided against a run. This development likely strengthens Brian Knuuttila in a Democratic primary as he will now have Gardner all to himself, and keeps open the possibility that Stephen Kerrigan may mount a run, since there no is no other potential candidate from the Southern part of the district. Updated Democratic line below.

Since I originally broke down the potential candidates to succeed State Senator Bob Antonioni, two potential candidates have pulled out, another may be in, and another looks to be running for another seat.

Most of the movement has happened in Fitchburg, where first-term representative Stephen DiNatale has decided to run for reelection instead of the senate, former Mayor Dan Mylott has announced that he is not running--leaving the race looking for a Republican--and city councilor Dean Tran has indicated that he may be in the Democratic primary. Finally, Leominster city councilor Claire Freda has taken out papers to run for state rep, taking her out of the state senate mix.

Here is my early line on the three races in play in the North County. First the State Senate...

1. Rep. Jennifer Flanagan (Leominster) -- Front-runner for the nomination, since she's from the district's largest city and has Antonioni's blessing. Currently the only candidate who has announced.
2. Former Rep. Brian Knuttilla (Gardner) -- Would have the support of Sheriff Guy Glodis and his machine. Now has Gardner and the north county all to himself, with Naughton's departure (Gardner Rep. Robert Rice had annouced his support for Naughton).
3. Councilor Dean Tran (Fitchburg) -- Would be the only Fitchburger in the race. Currently unenrolled, but has said he would run as a Democrat. I wonder if a late party change would hurt in a primary.
4. Stephen Kerrigan (Lancaster) -- Mounted a brief run for US Congress in 2007. Only candidate from the Southern flank of the district.

1. Gregg Lisciotti (Leominster) -- I doubt Lisciotti would set aside his real estate business to move to the state house, but he's been active in Republican circles in the past, and there are no other Republicans yet mulling a run.

1. Mayor Dean Mazzarella (Leominster) -- Could be the wild card in the entire race. Mazzarella is hugely popular in Leominster and might be the only candidate of any persuasion who can beat Flanagan in November. On one hand, why would he want to give up what is essentially a Mayor-for-life gig to be one of 40 senators? On the other hand, this is not a mayoral election year, so he doesn't have much to lose.

Now the race to replace Jennifer Flanagan as state representative from the Fourth Worcester district (City of Leominster):

1. Councilor Dennis Rosa -- Is the only current councilor running as a Democrat. Will be hard to beat.
2. Former School Committeeman Chad M. Radock -- As a potential state Democratic Committeeman (he's on the list as a candidate for a seat), he could be able to put together a strong organization.
3. Former Councilor Susan Chalifoux

1. Planning Board Chairman John Souza -- Lost the Republican primary in 2004.

1. Councilor Claire Freda -- Lost runs in both 2004 and 2006. In '04, she lost to Flanagan in the Democratic primary. After leaving the party in '06, she was trounced by Flanagan in the general election.

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