Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Evangelidis is out, Ken O'Brien to run

According to Red Mass Group, Representative Lew Evangelidis announced to his supporters yesterday that he is definitively running for Sheriff. The announcement opens up the seat in the First Worcester District, which Evangelidis has held for eight years. Holden Selectman Ken O'Brien announced last night at the Sterling Democratic Town Committee meeting that he intends to run for the seat, with a formal announcement early in February.*

First, the email from Evangelidis:
I wanted all of you to know that I will be a candidate for Worcester County Sheriff this coming November.  As a former assistant district attorney, assistant state prosecutor and having worked in the private sector for many years I hope you would see me as an ideal candidate for Worcester County Sheriff.  With your help I think that we can break down the old Worcester County political machine and have an independent and professional Sheriff's Department.
In making his pitch last night to our committee, O'Brien said that he is a socially progressive, fiscally conservative Democrat. He said he will make bringing federal stimulus dollars and other state aid to the district a priority. He also said that he will fight to make sure that any future budget cuts do not affect local aid.

He said that his experience as a Holden Selectman and his relationships with local, state, and congressional Democrats make him an ideal candidate for the seat. The district includes the western half of Sterling, along with Holden, Princeton, Rutland, Oakham, Hubbardston, and Westminster.

Although the district leans strongly Republican (For instance, in 2006 Kerry Healey and Christy Mihos combined for 50% of the vote in the district, compared with 42% statewide; in 2008, McCain won 49% of the district, compared to just 36% statewide), O'Brien believes that he can make up the difference through a strong organization and get out the vote effort. He certainly has ties to a successful organization: his brother Joe was easily elected mayor of Worcester last fall.

It's possible that O'Brien might have to get through a primary. Last month, Worcester Magazine reported that Worcester radio and TV personality Hank Stolz is exploring a candidacy as a Democrat. There will definitely be at least one Republican running for the seat. Rumors in the district are that fellow Holden Select Board member Kimberly Ferguson is exploring a run, among others.

*-- Even though Ken O'Brien has not officially announced, since his comments last night were at a public meeting held in a public building, I am comfortable writing about them.
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