EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 12, 2013

Kannan: LeBlanc should drop out of race

METHUEN — Mayoral candidate Jennifer Kannan called on City Council hopeful Robert LeBlanc to drop out of the race as allegations of inappropriate behavior have dogged his campaign for more than a week.

LeBlanc, who is one of five candidates running for three at-large seats, in an email statement yesterday, said he would not drop out, calling the allegations false and criticizing Kannan for piling on.

Mayor Stephen Zanni, who is running for a second term, said LeBlanc should “do the right thing,” but stopped short of calling on him to back out of the race.

“He should drop out, for the good of the city,” Kannan, 48, said during an editorial board meeting with The Eagle-Tribune yesterday.

LeBlanc, 62, said that political opponents “peddled this story last time I ran for office.” He said the allegations have “zero credibility.”

“Once the shock wears off and people begin to think rationally I will be vindicated,” he said in the statement.

“The career politicians in Methuen want to get their hooks into the finances and development opportunities that are ripe for the picking for corrupt officials and their facilitators. They don’t want me on the Council because I will reveal real criminality. They know I cannot be corrupted. They need to knock me out. I am a fighter not a quitter. Had I done anything wrong I would have been arrested. I was not.”

Zanni, 69, a first-term mayor who served multiple terms on the City Council, did not urge LeBlanc to drop out of the race. “I really don’t have a comment at this point,” he said yesterday. “I think enough has been said and it’s up to him to do the right thing.”

No other candidates in the race have called on LeBlanc to quit. The Massachusetts Republican Party last week did call on him to drop out and urged the state Democratic Party to cut ties with him.

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