( – promoted by Mike “DD4RP” Rossettie)
It appears that popular, seven-term State Senator Steve Panagiotakos (D-Lowell) has decided to call it quits, and will not seek re-election this fall. This means two of the four Merrimack Valley districts will be open this fall. Panagiotakos’ retirement may come as a surprise to some considering his chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. However, as the Lowell Sun reports:
Panagiotakos, 50, said he considered retiring from the Legislature several years ago when Senate President Robert Travaglini resigned, but decided instead to stay to take the reins of the state budget.
In any case, Panagiotakos’ retirement is very likely to set off a blockbuster Democratic Primary in the Mill City and its surrounding suburbs. Yet, like the neighboring Lawrence-Based (and Open) Senate Seat of Sen. Susan Tucker, Scott Brown won this district decisively. Can the Republicans try and pull two wins out of their hat in the Merrimack Valley?
More after the Fold
In both Tucker’s and Panagiotakos’ districts there is a certain lack of Republican depth to the bench of potential candidates from current office holders. However, 2010 may be a year where outsider may fare the best, despite the fact, that in both districts the loaded nature of the Democratic benches in both districts will ensure an entrenched insider will end up as the Democratic Nominee.
Here are some of the cast that I think will certainly look at running for the Lowell-Based seat (Notice All Democrats):
Former Lowell Mayor and 2007 5th District Candidate Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell)
State Representative Thomas Golden (D-Lowell)
State Representative David Nangle (D-Lowell)
State Representative Kevin Murphy (D-Lowell)
Lowell City Councilor Kevin Broderick (D-Lowell)
Lowell City Councilor William Martin (D-Lowell)
The only elected Republican official in the district is State Representative Robert Hargraves (R-Groton), who is also retiring this fall. Though its conceivable that Hargraves could take the plunge, his earlier retirement from Beacon Hill probably indicates he is all set with State politics. Another possibility could be the return of Former State Senator Nancy Achin Sullivan (R), however, a couple years back she left the district for the Hamilton-Wenham area, and probably isn’t interested in coming back. There are number of Republican town officials in the neighboring suburbs, but more likely, the Republican will have to come from outside the world of politics, and despite my residence in the area, I don’t have a good idea of whom that might be.
However, considering the numbers below from the 2010 Special Senate election, it is almost guaranteed that someone will take the challenge to run here in Lowell.
Lowell: 10559 to 9571
Dunstable: 969 to 502
Groton: 2664 to 2135
Pepperell: 3279 to 1607
Tyngsborough: 3187 to 1453
Westford : 5937 to 3888
Brown: 26,595 (57.49%)
Coakley: 19,156 (41.41%)