ANDOVER – Local Republicans had one bright spot to celebrate last night.
State Rep. James Lyons, R-Andover, who unseated a Democratic incumbent two years, was re-elected in the 18th Essex District by 525 votes. Former state Rep. Barbara L’Italien failed to make the comeback she and her supporters hoped for.
The scene in the barn behind Lyons’ home on High Vale Road was a repeat of November 2010, with Lyons hugging and shaking hands with jubilant supporters. Lyons attributed his victory to “all the hard work of the people who helped us.”
During his second term in the House, Lyons said his priorities will include getting accountability on where “people’s hard-earned tax dollars are spent” and promoting “openness” in state government.
As he enters his second term, Lyons said he will work toward increasing state aid to communities.
L’Italien’s street, Harper Circle, was clogged with cars bearing her campaign bumper stickers. Her house was thronged with supporters, but it wasn’t enough to beat Lyons.
“I am so grateful to you,” she told her supporters. “We had a positive message. I am proud of what we projected.”
L’Italien, first elected to the House in 2002, said she is looking forward to the next chapter in her life, “whatever it may be.” Lyons worked as a case manager for Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley before her first run for the Legislature.
L’Italien estimated she spent $60,000 on her campaign. Lyons placed the cost of his re-election bid at $80,000.
The 18th Essex Distirct includes six precincts in Andover, three in North Andover, two in Tewksbury and one in Boxford.