SPECIAL ELECTION: 12th Bristol State Rep. Seat Vacated by Incumbent Democrat

I was stunned by the news at the 5:00 pm on WBSM 1420 AM as State Representative Stephen R. Canessa of New Bedford who represented the 12th Bristol district has resigned his seat for a new job elsewhere.

That will trigger a special election, at a date as yet to be announced, for the opean seat.

While nothing is official, and indeed I think news of the vacancy is less than 5 hours old, it is entirely likely that there will be at least one Republican candidate seeking to run to fill the vacancy.

I’ve chatted with at least one qualified gentleman and had reached out to at least one other.  I don’t want to name any names at this point too publicly until one, the other, or more take the formal steps to do what they need to do between OCPF & Galvin’s office (or at least until they go public with it) but as of right now it looks as if the SouthCoast WILL NOT be allowing this prime opportunity to pass us by.

For the record, the 12th Bristol district is defined as:

Consisting of precinct 3, of the town of Freetown, precincts F and G of ward 1, precincts A, B, C, D and E of ward 3, and precincts D and E of ward 4, of the city of New Bedford, and precinct A of ward 4, of the city of Taunton, all in the county of Bristol; and precincts 2 and 3, of the town of Lakeville, and precincts 2 and 4, of the town of Middleborough, both in the county of Plymouth.

Only the New Bedford portions are within my Second Bristol & Plymouth State Senate district.  Parts also fall under the First Bristol & Plymouth as well as the First Plymouth & Bristol.  It also is a district that has had a relatively high turn over rate in incumbents over the past decade and geographically is a fairly red to at least purple color nowadays.  It’s by no means a gimmie for the MassGOP but there could be much worse opportunities here in the SouthCoast.

About Brock N. Cordeiro

  • Times may get very exciting here in the SouthCoast.  Here’s hoping that with everyone’s help that we can turn another special election into a MassGOP victory.

    Six-year state Rep. Stephen R. Canessa is resigning his seat in the Legislature effective today to take a new position at Southcoast Health System as its legislative liaison, he told The Standard-Times today.

    Canessa, 31, holds a masters degree from Suffolk University, which he said he will be putting to good use in the new position. The job is formally called executive director of government affairs, and it is essentially a lobbying position.

    He would not disclose the salary of the new position, which he said the hospital advertised before selecting him as the new hire. The base salary of a Massachusetts legislator is $58,237 per year, plus bonuses for committee work.

    Canessa said he notified the House leadership of his decision Thursday. His resignation is effective Friday at 5 p.m., he said, and he will assume the new job at Southcoast on Monday.


  • i would guess that the special election will be after redistricting.if this district is even looking purple the democratic political machine will move more of the district into new bedford so it stays true blue.

  •    Does MAGOP care about a lowly (in their eyes) State Representative seat?

      rw: They’re starting to run out of blue space to shift seats to!

  • For a Donation.  

    I am not sure if I will be able to make it down to help in person, but I will be more than happy to write a check to help with the general election work.

    Also, I hope they announce before the GOP Summer BBQ as it would be nice to meet them in Attleboro (also a great potential for them to garner volunteers and donations).

  • Steve Urbon of the New Bedford Standard-Times briefly interviewed me, and other SouthCoast politicos, yesterday evening for today’s newspaper article.  You can access the entire piece at No clear heir after Canessa’s surprise exit.

    My published comments were as follows:

    Brock Cordeiro of Dartmouth, a member of the Republican State Committee, said that when he heard about Canessa’s departure, he “immediately started making phone calls to party officers because I wasn’t sure they’d heard.”

    “I spent three or four hours on the phone calling various potential candidates, and two or three are mulling their options.

    “Odds are pretty good that we will have a candidate, and a viable candidate at that,” he said.

    Cordeiro said that GOP analysts have identified the 12th Bristol as one of their better opportunities, based on demographics and the voting patterns in past elections, especially the special U.S. Senate contest that elected Scott Brown.

    “Even New Bedford isn’t that bad. Ward 1 has a Republican city councilor (Linda Morad),” Cordeiro said.


  • … according to SHNS


    Voters will go to the polls Sept. 20 to choose a successor to former Rep. Steven Cannessa, a New Bedford Democrat who resigned from the House Friday and was scheduled to start his new job Monday at Southcoast Health Systems.   The House on Monday adopted an order setting the special election date and Secretary of State William Galvin, the state’s elections overseer, subsequently announced the primary would be held on Aug. 23.  The district is split falls within two counties – Bristol and Plymouth – and includes portions of five communities: Freetown, New Bedford, Taunton, Lakeville and Middleborough.

  • I won’t reveal his or her name at this point publicly so as not to steal their thunder but after several long talks over the past few days, and a couple of emails sent late last night that I just read very early this morning, at least 1 MassGOP candidate WILL be running in the 12th Bristol special election.

    In fact, they’ve already accounted for their papers, dealing with OCPF, and have already committed to personally contributing $20,000 to their account.

    I suspect that they’ll be sending out a press release very soon.

    There are at least one or two other reported/rumored candidates as well although I haven’t personally spoken with either nor have I heard of them making any concrete steps towards running.  Who knows, we could have a primary or we could have one candidate with clear sailing through to Tuesday, September 20.