NEWBURYPORT — The race for state Rep. Michael Costello’s soon-to-be-vacant seat on Beacon Hill became clearer over the weekend after city councilors Ed Cameron and Ari Herzog announced their candidacies.
Since Wednesday’s announcement that the longtime Newburyport resident wouldn’t seek re-election for his First Essex District seat representing his city along with Amesbury and Salisbury, several area pols have expressed interest in the job, while others have announced they had no desire to run.
Costello, a 12-year veteran of the House and an attorney by trade, said he plans to join a law firm specializing in statewide governmental issues once his term runs out. His decision caught many, including Cameron and Herzog, by surprise and soon after inspired them and others to consider succeeding him.
Others who expressed some interest yet remain undecided are Amesbury city councilors Jim Kelcourse and Bob Lavoie. Lavoie, a lawyer, was elected to the Amesbury council in 2005. Kelcourse, also a lawyer, ran unsuccessfully against Kathleen O’Connor Ives in the 2012 Senate race to fill the seat vacated by Stephen Baddour.
Yesterday, Kelcourse, a Republican, said he had pulled nomination papers Friday and will make a decision this week about a possible run. Phone calls to Lavoie were not returned in time for this edition.
Well-known political figures already expressing no interest in the job include Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday, former Amesbury Mayor Thatcher Kezer and former Newburyport City Councilor and mayoral candidate Dick Sullivan Jr.
According to Newburyport City Clerk Richard Jones, the deadline for submitting nomination papers is April 29. Candidates must have 50 signatures from each community that make up the district. Candidates can pick up the nomination papers in town offices of Newburyport, Salisbury and Amesbury or the office of the Secretary of State in Boston. Or, the Secretary of State will mail out nomination papers. The primary for Republican or Democratic candidates is Sept. 9. Unenrolled voters can vote in this primary.