By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher
If it turns out that there is a personal or family issue for why Leah Cole — in a New York Minute – is resigning her State Rep seat, and leaving Peabody without a voice on Beacon Hill for the next several months, then I will offer a full and public apology to her for what I’m about to write.
Look, I thoroughly respect the work done by nurses, physicians and all other healthcare providers. But is Obamacare such a disaster that Ms. Cole needs to immediately abandon her responsibilities to the residents of Peabody, and even worse, run out on those who believed in her enough to elect her to a second full term in the Great and General Court?
Unless there is another more personal reason I discover — which causes me to grovel for forgiveness — her resigning mid-term to focus on a nursing career and education all seems somewhat unprofessional, and maybe even a little bit immature.
In addition to the obligation she had to Peabody and her always “enthusiastic” supporters, Ms. Cole has also left the Mass GOP crying in its beer (no doubt it’s Bud or Coors, though, since we all know that they’re not cool craft beer drinkers.)
When Cole, then 24, upset Beverley Dunne and Dave Gravel three years ago in a special election to replace the late, great Joyce Spiliotis, the stumbling and bumbling Mass GOP was the unlikely winner of a seat in the usually Democratic 12th Essex District.
Now, thanks to this almost-October surprised by Ms. Cole, the Republican chances of keeping this seat in a soon-to-be-announced special election are about as good as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ chances of beating the Patriots in Foxboro on Sunday.
I mean, let’s prove my point by looking at the potential field of prospects and suspects.
At the head of the pack, you have newly minted GOPer Anne Manning-Martin, a long-time Peabody Councilor At-Large. She would be competitive, but at the end of the day, she’d have a tough time beating fellow at-larger Tom Gould, or even former rep John Slattery, who might just want to come out of “retirement” for this one. Not sure Anne could beat Dunne either.
After Anne, there’s no one else who could even come close to being competitive on the Republican side. You have Greg Bunn, who would be a terrific state rep, but – unless we have another Democrat masquerading as an independent in the special election — Greg just doesn’t have the Peabody roots nor the name recognition to beat anyone who would run with the D.
After that . . . there is no Peabody Republican that I know of who could “shock” the world as Ms. Cole did three years ago.
Essentially, barring an electoral miracle, the Mass GOP, “the gang that can’t seem to shoot straight” when it comes to electing people to our “wonderful” state legislature, will be singing the blue when it comes to this 12th Essex seat.
As for Ms. Cole’s political future, it likely no longer exists. Voters don’t forget silliness such as this, but maybe she truly doesn’t want a “political future,” which is understandable and certainly OK.
But she definitely “coulda been a contenda.” She could have been a Mass GOP rock star in a few years, and maybe even made Mayor Ted Bettencourt a little bit nervous that he could have a formidable foe in five or six years. But instead, as a nurse, she’s going off fulltime to do noble work.
It’s only too bad she wasn’t up to first finishing the job that Peabody’s voters wanted her to do.