The Race Is On!

Republican Paul Avella launched his candidacy this past Saturday for the Second Middlesex District seat formerly held by Democrat Geoff Hall. Avella’s kick-off was held at the Nabnassett Country Club in Westford & attracted roughly 150 people. Among those in attendance was Jim Ogonowski (GOP candidate for US Senate), Kurt Hayes (GOP candidate for Congress), Sandi Martinez (GOP candidate for State Senate), Susan Slade (GOP state committee woman for the district), Jeff Wilson (GOP state committeeman for the district), Helen Hatch (state committee woman), Monica Mederios (state committee woman), Valerie Wormell (Westford Selectman), Dennis Galvin (Westford Planning Board), Diane Weir (Westford School Committee), & an assortment of local GOP activists in the district.

Most of the members of the Westford Republican Town Committee were in attendance (I counted 13 of them) & many of them were pleased with the turnout. A representative from the Lowell Sun covered the event. Galvin introduced Avella to the crowd & the candidate gave a good speech wherein he outlined his vision & asked those in attendance to support him. Verdict? A solid start from a man with an impressive background who will need to kick ass if he has any hope of winning the district.

Westford Democrat Jim Arciero has already tossed his hat in the ring & he’ll be a formidable opponent. He lives in the heart of the district (Westford) & his background includes his stint as a former legislative aide to Hall & until last week a legislative aide to State Senator Steven Panagiotakos (D-Lowell). He resigned from Pangy’s office in order to devote himself full time to his campaign. Littleton resident & former Lowell School Committeman Jim Kennedy has declared that he will examine the lay of the land before he decides whether or not he’ll join Arciero in pursuing the Democrat nomination for the seat. If he chooses to run, I think Kennedy will have a difficult if not impossible task in beating Arciero given the latter’s extensive experience on Beacon Hill, his personal connections in the district (which cuts across Democrats, Republicans, & unenrolleds), his home town advantage, Pangy’s machine, & Arciero’s likability as a person. I know the man; I’ve advised Avella that Arciero will be a formidable opponent.

Avella won’t have a free ride in the primary either. Westford resident William Bunker is collecting signatures to be on the Republican ballot. You can check out his blog http://www.williambunker2008.b… if you want more information on his candidacy but he appears to me to be a Libertarian in Republican clothing with a LOT of time on his hands. Of more concern to Avella should be the public musings of Phil Eliopoulos, a Chelmsford Selectman & attorney whose family has deep roots in the area. Eliopoulos has expressed interest in the seat. Should he decide to run, he could pose complications for Avella that could be harmful for his political ambitions in this election cycle if said complications aren’t properly finessed.

As much as EaBo & others might fantasize that Avella’s decision to run against Hall forced the 18 year incumbent to step down, the reality is that other forces were at play. Hall suffered from an attack of colon cancer a few years ago & was recently given a clean bill of health by his doctors. His anti-DOMA (Defense of Marriage Amendment) vote alienated him from many of his constituents & left him vulnerable to a credible challenger. Said vulnerability was not lost on key area Democrats who quietly suggested it was time for him to move on. I bring this up because if the GOP wants to win this seat, its members have to operate on the reality principle, not the fantasy principle. Yes, the district is a conservative one but it won’t be won in a walk. Avella seems to be as good a candidate for the GOP as Arciero seems to be a good candidate for the Democrats. Time will tell who will win the hearts (& votes) of the district.

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