Tag Archives: Peabody State Rep race

Choice should be Joyce-like when it comes to the race for Peabody State Rep

16 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

It’s been almost two years since the passing of Joyce Spilliotis, and each year at this time I think about her when campaigns heat up. That’s because, in my opinion, the former State Rep and Peabody City Councilor was a model of what we should expect from all of our public servants.

We need a rep who went about the job just like the late, great Joyce Spillotis

We need a rep who went about the job just like the late, great Joyce Spillotis

A lot of what Joyce got for Peabody while on Beacon Hill was because she was a Democrat, who was in step with the major themes of those who ran her party. But first and foremost, she always strived to do what was right for Peabody, and the people she represented.

If that meant tangling with the Speaker, so be it. If it meant cutting a deal with members of her party, and even wooing some Republican votes to get what she needed for Peabody, she knew how to negotiate.

At the end of the day, she was certainly a Democrat, but it was always people over party.  It was always Peabody first.

People have asked me lately why I’ve been so rough in this space on our freshman Republican State Rep Leah Cole, and the first thing I usually say is that it’s definitely not personal. Although I’ve met Leah only a couple of times, I think she’s a nice person. I also think it’s admirable when people in her age group get involved in community service, and that we need more 25-year olds running for office, especially when it comes to Library Trustee, school committee, and city council.

But I don’t think her being part of the minority party on Beacon Hill, and her lack of business, leadership and life experience are good qualities for Peabody’s State Rep. to have.

There’s something else, though, and this is where I think about the job done by Joyce.

Many times, I get the impression that Leah Cole is on Beacon Hill to be more of a foothold for the dysfunctional Mass GOP, than she is there to represent the residents of Peabody. I cite her rhetoric during the special election, during which she managed to get about 6% of the district’s roughly 28K voters to fill in the oval next to her name.

During that campaign, and while defending the acceptance of donations from outside of Peabody, she sometimes talked about how State Reps don’t just represent their districts, but also make decisions for the entire state. I don’t think I ever heard Joyce Spilliotis worry about anything other than the people who needed here most back her in Peabody.

“I believe her platform will be different. I am interested in hearing what she has to say. … So much of her support comes from outside of Peabody; I would like to know what exactly she intends to do for the citizens (of Peabody),” Beverley Griffin Dunne, Cole’s Democratic opponent on Nov. 4th ,told the Salem News yesterday.

And Beverley is right. While Joyce Spilliotis was all about Peabody and constituent services, Leah Cole seems more interested in pushing forward with the state Republican Party’s agenda, and wooing support from OUTSIDE of Peabody. She’s worked on a number of fiscally responsible tax issues, which I feel most Peabody people would agree with, but it’s all been rhetoric rather than action, since Republicans on Beacon Hill have very little influence.

Money is not only the “mother’s milk of politics,” it’s also the major thing that ends up influencing the decisions of most elected officials.  This is why my eyebrows are raised when I see that a majority of the money in Cole’s war chest coming from non-Peabody people.

When Cole talks about more responsible tax policies and not bilking the middle class, most of us stand up and cheer. But then we peel the onion, and see that she received $22K in in-kind contributions from the uber right-wing Marlborough Republican City Committee, which is in lock-step with the far right nationally when it comes to social issues. Heck, we all want lower taxes, but I believe that the majority of Mass. voters are live and let live when it comes to same-sex marriage. I also believe that, while most people are not pro-abortion, they certainly aren’t – like most Republicans – against a woman’s right to choose.

This is indeed going to be one of the more interesting Peabody State Rep races in recent memory. All I suggest is that people peel the onion, and ask themselves the following before making a decision:

Which of these two candidates is more like Joyce?

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Dunne and the Dems need to avoid over-confidence in state rep race against Cole

10 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

I’ve heard it already a few times today. Less than 24 hours after Beverley Griffin Dunne’s convincing victory over Jim Moutsoulas in the Democratic primary for Peabody State Rep, people are saying that Republican incumbent Leah Cole will be trounced by the Peabody School Committeewoman on Nov. 4th.

And all day … I’ve been telling them they’re taking Cole way too lightly.

Leah Cole ... working toward the fringe?

Leah Cole

Beverley Griffin Dunne

Beverley Griffin Dunne

Make no mistake, if she runs the right campaign, and is able to raise some money, I feel that Dunne will be our next State Rep from the 12th Essex District.  I also feel that Dunne would be a far more effective state rep than Cole, who as a member of the minority party on Beacon Hill,  has no shot to bring Peabody anything more than a scrap of the bacon.

For the simple reason that Democrats overwhelmingly dominate the Massachusetts Great and General Court, Peabody needs a Democrat in that seat.

But while I don’t think Cole, or any Republican for that matter, can help Peabody get what it needs when it comes to local aid, I also think that people are way underestimating the incumbent’s strength as a candidate.

People who underestimate a Republican’s ability to win in Peabody are either misinformed, or still living in 1972.

Peabody is no longer a city dominated by Democrats. That’s not just me talking. That’s science. Although Dems still outnumber Republicans almost 4-to-1 in our fair burg, those without any party affiliation outnumber Democrats almost 2-to-1.

These voters, designated as the “unenrolled,” have the most impact on all of our elections, and are the reason why Republicans Scott Brown (twice), Charlie Baker, and Richard Tisei have carried the vote in Peabody in recent elections.

It’s also one of the reasons why Cole won in the first place. Oh sure, Cole was definitely aided in that special election 18 months ago when Dunne and Dem-turned-independent Dave Gravel split the vote. But mainly conservative, ticked off unenrolled voters put Cole over the top. I know this first hand after my door-to-door campaigning last fall for Ward 5 Councilor. With many unenrolled voters I visited, it was sometimes snarls once they learned that I was a Democrat.

But the great conservative unenrolled vote is not the only challenge faced by Dunne.

Ms. Cole is not just some candidate from South Peabody. She is a young trophy piece for the Massachusetts Republican Party in what is a sea of blue on Beacon Hill. With the exception of Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei, Cole will get more Mass GOP attention when it comes to money and strategy than any other Republican candidate this cycle. She already has a 4-to-1 advantage over Dunne when it comes to cash in her war chest.

She’ll have plenty of dry powder to launch mail campaign salvos at Dunne, painting the Democrat as a dreaded “liberal,” while painting herself as a state rep with a record of fighting to keep your taxes in check. Even though Ms. Cole has no power on Beacon Hill to keep salons from raising your taxes, and even though Dunne is a moderate on many issues, Cole’s anti-tax message will sound good to those reading the brochure.

This will not be a cake walk for Beverly Griffin Dunne. If the Democrats take Cole lightly, their candidate might go down in flames. It’s something that everyone who wants to see that seat turn blue again needs to understand, and believe.

Get ready, because like the Congressional race, this one is also going to be a battle to remember.

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Poll: Who will you vote for in Peabody State Rep Democratic primary?

4 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

James Moutsoulas

James Moutsolas

Beverley Griffin Dunne

Beverley Griffin Dunne

With less than a week to go before the Sept.9th state primary, let’s see where The Eye audience stands when it comes to the most-important local race on the Democratic side.

Who do you prefer to be the Democratic nominee for State Rep in the 12th Essex District: Beverley Griffin Dunne or James Moutsoulas?

Please be honest, though, and ONLY take our poll if you are eligible to vote on the Democratic side on Tuesday, and you live in the 12th Essex District (Peabody Wards 1-4; Ward 5, precincts 1 and 3 only). Only vote in our poll if you are either a registered Democrat or an unenrolled voter who plans to take a Democratic ballot.

I would appreciate your honesty here so we can get some indication on where our growing audience is trending.

I’ve set this up so you can only vote once.

Too bad Ward 3 residents, who voted for Moutsoulas, can’t ask for their votes back

10 Apr

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

If I were a Ward 3 resident who voted to elect Jim “Demo” Moutsoulas Ward 3 Councilor last fall, I’d be knocking on City Clerk Tim Spanos’ office door this morning to ask him … “where do I go to get my vote back?”

Why?

Jim Moutsoulos ... running on empty.

Moutsoulas: running on empty.

Well, apparently Demo doesn’t really want the job he’s held for just four months. Word is out that the current Ward 3 Councilor, who some refer to as the “bad penny of Peabody politics,” is planning to announce next week that he’s running for State Rep.

Then again, maybe this is just Demo being Demo. We’ve seen this from him in the past, so perhaps, we’ll hold fire – a little at least – until he ACTUALLY brings back his nomination papers. After all, this guy has a habit of pulling papers for an office, and then finding some bizarre reason in the end NOT to run.

But if he is serious this time, clearly this is a slap in the face of those who supported him in his Ward 3 run against Bill Toomey and Tom Serino last November.

What is Demo saying here?

He never really wanted the job to begin with?

It’s like accepting a new job in January, and then telling your boss in April that you were giving your two-week’s notice. Some commitment, eh?

Or, is Demo hoping to “double-dip” here?  That is, hold both the state rep and his Ward 3 seat so he can someday collect TWO taxpayer-funded pensions?

I mean, it’s not like the state rep seat just opened up this time, like it did with the untimely passing of Joyce Spilliotis, which promoted a special election a year ago. This time, it’s a regular cycle election, which all of the candidates for office knew when they pulled papers to run in the city election.

If Moutsoulas gets into the state rep race, he’ll join Democratic challenger Beverley Dunne and Republican incumbent Leah Cole in a three-candidate field.

And if Demo is in, would he run as a Democrat?

Who knows? He’s capable of anything.

Maybe he should be the candidate of the “Rent’s Too Damn High Party.” Or, better still, the “Mickey Mouse Party.”

Dunne’s in, are Cole and Gould out when it comes to Peabody State Rep race?

20 Jan

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

We know Beverley Dunne is in, but who will join her in the race for State Rep?

We know Beverley Dunne is in, but who will join her in the race for State Rep?

I thought we’d have some Peabody political insider fun this afternoon, and talk about what the Eye is uncovering in what could become another very interesting race for the State Rep seat in the 12th Essex District (Peabody Wards 1-4, Ward 5 Prec. 1 & 3).

Less than a year after Republican Leah Cole’s stunning special election upset win over Democrat Beverley Dunne and unenrolled candidate Dave Gravel, candidate names are being floated as the seat gets contested again this November.

Dunne has told several people that she’s going for it again on the Democrat side, and we’ve heard speculation that Ward 1 Councilor Barry Osborne is contemplating a run as an unenrolled candidate.

But here’s what else The Eye is learning …

Incumbent Cole is leaning away from running for re-election to focus on her nursing career, and another source tells us Councilor at-large Tom Gould is leaning against running too. Gould considered running last year for the open seat after Joyce Spilliotis passed away, but then decided against it to focus on his business.

The Cole thing could change quickly, though, once the Mass GOP gets wind of it and starts doing whatever it can to convince its Golden Girl to run again, including a promise to help her build a campaign war chest north of $100K.

It all does make you wonder, though, if the Peabody Democratic City Committee is going to step up this time and support the Democratic candidate. Osborne is really a Democrat, and so too was Gravel last time. But the party insiders were divided, and with Dunne and Gravel splitting the vote, it made things much easier for Ms. Cole to pull off the upset.

Let me know in the comments section what you think will happen here.

‘Make The Call’ show invites State Rep primary candidates to address voters

6 Mar

By Eye On Peabody

Please join your hosts Dick Jarvis and Bob Croce tonight, 8-9 p.m., on PAT Channel 99 when they invite the candidates from yesterday’s primaries for Peabody  State Rep. on the “You Make the Call” show.

Dick and Bob have invited Democratic Primary winner Beverley Griffin Dunne, Republican Primary winner Leah Cole, and Republican Primary runner up Greg Bunn to come on and address the voters of Peabody about yesterday’s results.

On our next show, we will invite back Dunne and Cole, as well as unenrolled candidate David Gravel in advance of the final election on April 2nd.

For now, though, please tune in and ask questions of the candidates. Each will be individually given 10-15 minutes to address the voters and answer questions from our co-hosts and the callers.

In their own words: Hear from the candidates for state rep before you vote

5 Mar

By Eye on Peabody

If you haven’t yet voted in today’s Primary for the Special Election for Peabody State Rep in the 12th Essex District,  and are still undecided, check out these videos in the Peabody Patch. They are from a recent appearance by each candidate at the Brooksby Village candidates forum.

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