5 candidates vie for North Shore seat
Race could be one of state’s most interesting
REP. TED SPELIOTIS of Danvers is stepping down after 23 years in office, and the race to replace him has become one of the most interesting in the state.
Five candidates are running for the office – a Democrat, a Republican, and three Independents not affiliated with any party. The crowded field raises all the questions ranked choice voting (which is Question 2 on the ballot) seeks to address – too many candidates vying for support, raising the possibility that someone will squeak into office with less than a majority of the vote.
The Democrat in the field is Sally Kerans of Danvers, who actually held the seat for three terms from 1991 to 1997 before stepping down to focus on her family. She’s remained active locally as a Town Meeting member and now, at age 60, says she is ready to take back her old job and tackle the coronavirus and all its fallout.
“This is about shared sacrifice, this is our generation’s World War II, and if the wrong people are elected, we will not have a functioning federal government that can partner with states and families to help communities,” she said. “What is happening right now with unemployment and sickness and everything else simply is not sustainable.”
“I will be the leader you can count on to push back on the radical left-wing proposals that are gaining traction in the Legislature,” May says on his website. “I believe in liberty, limited government, and lower taxes. I have no ties to big business or the Massachusetts ‘political machine’ and will never be influenced by special interest groups.”
Pro-Trump forces within the state Republican Party are high on May, but a super PAC affiliated with moderate Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is taking a pass on the race. In a filing on Monday, the super PAC backed 26 Republicans running for state office but provided no support for May.
The three independents are Bill Bates, Chris Keohane, and Jason Guida. All three candidates are from Danvers. They each have different campaign messages, but a recurring theme is their independence from the Republican and Democratic parties.
Bates worked as the district coordinator for constituent services for Speliotis for 10 years and also served on the Danvers School Committee and as a Town Meeting member. “One of the reasons that local government is so effective is that there are no party politics involved,” he says on his website. “Decisions are made on the basis of what is good for the city or town and its residents, not on how they play within a particular political party.”
Keohane works in the food service industry and appears to be fashioning a campaign targeting voters tired of the two mainstream parties. “If you want a Democrat, they are there, like always,” his website says. “If you want a Republican, they are there, like always. If you want a normal person representing normal things like you would, there is one guy: Chris Keohane.”Guida worked on Beacon Hill as a legislative aide early on in his career and later served as an assistant district attorney and the head of the Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau before launching his own law practice. He portrays himself as a problem solver who will “remain independent of special interest groups and party politics in order to take a pragmatic approach on every issue.”
How the three independents fare on Election Day will likely determine the outcome of the race.