Crighton only name on ballot for Senate seat

Rep. faces no formal opposition in bid to replace McGee

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN, but Rep. Brendan Crighton of Lynn is poised to become the newest senator on the North Shore.

Crighton will walk uncontested on the ballot into the Senate seat held for the past 14 years by Lynn Mayor-elect Thomas McGee barring the emergence of a write-in candidate who would face long odds at pulling off an upset on March 6.

The former McGee aide will be able to run with all the trappings of incumbency next fall for a full two-year term.

The deadline for potential candidates to turn nomination signatures in to local clerks passed Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. and Crighton was the only candidate to submit papers. As long as Crighton turned in at least 300 valid signatures, his name will be the only one on the ballot for both the primary on Feb. 6 and the special election on March 6.

Town and city clerks in all six communities that comprise the Third Essex District confirmed that Crighton’s was the only campaign, Democrat or Republican, to turn in signatures by the deadline.

Election officials in Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant and Saugus all said they received papers from the Crighton campaign, while the clerk in Swampscott – Gov. Charlie Baker’s hometown – reported that no nomination papers were submitted.

Crighton could not be reached for comment on Wednesday afternoon, but the fact that he will be the only candidate for the office will make the task of running for Senate a lot easier as the Legislature prepares to begin the second year of its two-year session with a busy agenda.

Should a write-in candidate emerge on the Republican side, he or she would need earn at least 300 votes to qualify for the general election ballot.

Crighton spent 10 years working for McGee at the State House before he ran in 2014 for the House seat vacated by Steve Walsh, who is now the president of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association.

A Lynn native, Crighton graduated from Lynn Classical High School in 2003 and went to Colby College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in government. He got a master’s degree in public administration from Suffolk University in 2009.

“Today more than ever, we need new ideas and a bold vision to make the Third Essex District the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” Crighton said in his campaign announcement release.

“Throughout my career I have never been afraid to think outside of the box, challenge the status quo, and fight for what I believe in. As a father and husband, I recognize the many challenges that working families face today. I will work tirelessly to create opportunities for all and to help our district reach its full potential,” he said.

McGee will give up his seat in the Senate next Tuesday when he takes the oath of office to become the next mayor of Lynn. The former head of the Democratic Party defeated incumbent Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy in November, and despite hinting on election night that she might consider running for McGee’s Senate seat she did not turn in papers.

Other Democratic representatives from the district, including Rep. Dan Cahill of Lynn and Rep. Lori Ehrlich of Marblehead opted not to challenge Crighton in the primary, and Republican Rep. Donald Wong of Saugus also took a pass on the race.

A number of local officials, however, are reportedly lining up already to run for Crighton’s House seat.

Meet the Author

Matt Murphy

State House News Service
A Massachusetts Republican Party spokesman did not return an email seeking comment Wednesday on why the party did not recruit a candidate to challenge Crighton. The GOP is coming off the successfull campaign of Sen. Dean Tran in north central Massachusetts who flipped a formerly blue seat red in a special election on Dec. 5.

Crighton must turn in certified signatures to the secretary of state’s office by Jan. 2 to formally qualify for the ballot.