Local Government and Politics, News

Who will run for McGee’s Senate seat?

Mayor-elect Thomas M. McGee celebrates with his supporters at Trio's Mexican Grill after announcing his victory. (Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN —  A symphony has started in a game of musical chairs that could have sweeping implications for the region’s political landscape.  

Sen. Thomas M. McGee’s election as mayor on Tuesday may result in two changes among the Beacon Hill delegation. State Rep. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) told The Item Wednesday that he plans to seek the seat when McGee resigns from the senate in January.

“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 a statement. “Throughout my career, I have not been afraid to think outside the box, challenge the status quo, and fight for what I believe in.”

State Rep. Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn), and a Crighton friend, said he has no intention of making a run for the seat. State Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead) has also said she will not make a bid for the senate.

But following her defeat on election night, Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, a Republican, told supporters her political career may not be over.

“I hear there will be a state senate seat that will be opening in the next couple of months, so stay tuned and don’t lose my phone number,” she said.

In 2010, Nahant resident and Republican Christopher J. Dent ran unsuccessfully against McGee for the post. He received 4,487 votes to McGee’s 16,017.

But Dent said he is not interested.

“When I ran in 2010, it was the right thing to do at the time, but I don’t think it would be the right move for me right now,” he said.

Crighton, who served as a City Councilor and McGee’s chief of staff before getting elected to the House in 2014, said he is well-positioned to move to the senate. He serves on the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses, Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Public Health, and Committee on Revenue.

The Third Essex District includes Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant, Saugus, and Swampscott.

If Crighton is successful, it will open up his 11th Essex District House seat, which includes West Lynn and Nahant. So far, at least two potential candidates are in the running.

Ward 6 City Councilor Peter Capano and Drew Russo, executive director of the Lynn Museum, said they plan to run if Crighton moves up.

“I have a lot to add,” said Capano. “I’ve been involved at the local and state level for many years. I would be an aggressive advocate for constituents in West Lynn and Nahant. I’d work for infrastructure improvements and transportation, especially for our seniors.”

Russo, who was outreach director to former U.S. Rep. John F. Tierney (D-Mass), said he has experience in the nonprofit sector and the federal government.

“I have a strong love for this community and a desire to work for people,” he said. “Coming up with legislative solutions for West Lynn and Nahant is very important to me. I would be a good representative of the people.”

Marven Hyppolite, who came within 105 votes of unseating Ward 5 City Councilor Dianna Chakoutis, said he is backing Russo.  

“Drew is a standup guy and he’s a hard worker,” he said.  “I enthusiastically support him.”

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