Five candidates vie for North Shore seat

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.”

The Republican in the race is Robert May Jr. of Peabody, who founded his own company (Techsource Thermal Solutions of Newburyport) and wants to bring his business experience to Beacon Hill. May says it’s time to move on from the two liberal Democrats who have represented the district for the last 30 years.

“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.

BRUCE MOHL

 

FROM COMMONWEALTH

A super PAC affiliated with Gov. Charlie Baker doles out $525,000 in support of 29 candidates, nearly all of them Republicans, but takes a pass on Sen. Dean Tran of Fitchburg, one of only four Republicans in the Senate.

A federal judge in Massachusetts stayed a Trump administration policy about to take effect that would have weakened protections under the Fair Housing Act.

The MBTA faces an Appeals Court  judgment of more than $850,000 for allowing one employee to settle a 10-year-old “grudge” against another.

A bill allowing about 17,000 Massachusetts residents to gain access to expanded federal unemployment benefits sweeps through the Legislature and is signed by the governor.

Secretary of State William Galvin orders enhanced ballot box security after a man set fire to  a box in front of the Boston Public Library.

Opinion: Vikki Spruill, president and CEO of the New England Aquarium, explains how the institution is staying afloat.

FROM AROUND THE WEB             

 

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

In response to resident concerns, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s administration is replacing the gas lamps on Temple Street on Beacon Hill as part of a pilot project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that were killing the trees. (WBUR)

Salem may be telling visitors to stay away this Halloween, but its school committee votes to start reopening the schools next month. (Daily Item)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The state reported 1,216 new COVID-19 cases yesterday amid fears of a second wave. Traces of coronavirus in Boston area wastewater are also spiking. (MassLive)

The Patriot Ledger looks at how the coronavirus crisis has overshadowed the opioid epidemic that has been killing Massachusetts residents for more than a decade, in a three-part series.

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Amy Coney Barrett’s lightning-fast nomination to the Supreme Court was confirmed 52-48, the first time in 151 years that a nominee got no votes from the minority party. (New York Times)

Across the country, Americans are breaking voting records by casting ballots before Election Day. (NPR)

President Trump continued to say at rallies yesterday that the country was “rounding the turn” on the pandemic and it was “ending anyway,” at a time when the country has suffered a 20 percent increase in cases and 13 percent increase in hospitalizations over the past week. (Washington Post)

ELECTIONS

The Boston Herald endorses President Trump, declaring that Joe Biden’s platform is a “risky love letter” to those “who believe capitalism is the root of all evil.”

Attorney General Maura Healey posts a Fleetwood Mac “go vote” video on TikTok that features her drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice while riding a skateboard and wearing a white T-shirt.

In Worcester County, Register of Probate Stephanie Fattman, a Republican, is facing a challenger from Democrat John Dolan. Her husband, Republican State Sen. Ryan Fattman, is facing a Democratic challenger in Christine Crean. (Telegram & Gazette)

Westfield voters have four choices in the race for the 4th Hampden District state representative seat vacated by now-Sen. John Velis, between Republican Kelly Pease, Democrat Matthew Garlo, unenrolled candidate Ethan Flaherty, and a write-in campaign by Republican City Councilor Dan Allie. (MassLive)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Dunkin’ Brands, a local icon that seems as part of the regional identity as a dropped “R,” is poised to be acquired by a national conglomerate in a $8.8 billion deal. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

Public schools in Amherst and Pelham are seeing a sharp drop in students, with the superintendent theorizing that many are transferring to private schools. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

Methuen is changing its reopening plan and bringing more students back to school in person after the superintendent said parents and kids are “falling apart” without in-person schooling. (Eagle-Tribune)

Worcester is letting 425 high school seniors enter school to take the SATs — the first in-person educational activity the school district has hosted since the pandemic hit. (Telegram & Gazette)

Assumption University students say they were stopped by campus police from writing chalk messages in support of the school’s LGBTQ community. (Telegram & Gazette)

A new study finds large declines in math and reading skills among elementary school students whose schools wereclosed due to COVID-19. (MassLive)

ARTS/CULTURE

Public libraries in Fairhaven and Acushnet are getting a lot of love from readers and researchers during the pandemic. (Standard-Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

In the final story in MassLive’s three-part series on drought, experts say droughts will become more common in the future due to climate change.

The North Atlantic right whale is on the verge of extinction, say federal regulators, with only 366 whales estimated to be alive, of whom just 94 are breeding females. (Boston Globe)

Water quality on Cape Cod is worsening, according to a new report by the Association to Preserve Cape Cod that looked at the health of the Cape’s coastal saltwater and inland freshwater water bodies. (Cape Cod Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins says her office will move for “dangerousness hearings” that would allow defendants charged with gun offenses to be held without bail, a practice that she said deviates from that of her predecessors as well as her own office’s earlier approach. (Boston Herald)

A developmentally disabled 20-year-old man, who is accused of assault but deemed incompentant to stand trial, spends 17 months in county jail, where he contracted COVID-19, because no one can agree on an alternative place to send him that can provide him with the structure he needs while accommodating his disabilities. (The Salem News)

The Herald News has a list of potential witnesses for federal prosecutors in the upcoming government corruption trial of former Mayor Jasiel Correia II and his chief of staff and campaign manager Gen Andrade.

PASSINGS

Judge Juan Torruella, the first Puerto Rican judge to sit on the US Court of Appeals, dies at 87. (Associated Press)