By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — The 2012 campaign season ended only four months ago, but North Andover Democrats are already getting ready for the next election cycle.
With the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat of Secretary of State John Kerry occurring in only a few months, the next campaign is already underway.
The North Andover Democratic Town Committee will be hosting its annual Scholarship Breakfast on March 10, starting at 10 a.m. at the North Andover Country Club on Great Pond Road. State Treasurer Steven Grossman, who has said he will likely run for governor in 2014, is expected to attend.
This will be at least the second time this year Grossman has visited North Andover. A few weeks ago, he attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Lowell Five Cent Savings Bank branch at 498 Chickering Road.
Congressman John Tierney, D-Salem, and State Auditor Suzanne Bump are also expected to be at the breakfast, as are supporters of Congressmen Edward Markey of Malden and Stephen Lynch of South Boston. Markey and Lynch are competing for the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator in the April 30 primary.
The general election will take place June 25.
“We’ve been doing this for over 20 years and we always receive a great response,” said Tricia Melvin, recently elected chairwoman of the Democratic Town Committee. Melvin also led North Andover Democrats in the 1990s.
Tickets cost $25 each or $175 for a table of eight. Melvin encourages the purchase of tickets in advance. To buy tickets, email NADemocrats@gmail.com.
“We do sell tickets at the door, but last year we actually reached capacity and had to turn people away,” explained Melvin.
Ticket sales support the North Andover Democratic Town Committee’s Annual Scholarship. Each year, the committee awards a scholarship to a senior who is about to graduate from North Andover High School.
“I think the cost of school is so high that students really look for as many opportunities as possible to qualify for scholarships,”said Philip DeCologero, vice chairman of the town committee. “North Andover is lucky to offer so many opportunities for students, and I am glad the North Andover Democratic Town Committee is able to contribute.”
DeCologero, a member of the North Andover High School Class of 2005, is a past recipient of the scholarship. More recent recipients who have become involved in local politics include Grace McDaniel and Kara L’Italien, both members of the Class of 2011.
“While it isn’t always possible to award a politically active student, it certainly is nice when recipients end up becoming involved,” Melvin said.
Melvin said those who attend the breakfast are asked each year to participate in a straw poll on upcoming races, from governor to North Andover School Committee.
One of the brightest parts of the morning is when the town committee presents a local resident with an award naming him or her Democrat of the Year.
“This past year was a very busy year in politics, and I am really excited to present the award for 2013,” Melvin said. The committee will announce the Democrat of the Year in early March, she added.
DeCologero was last year’s recipient. He has run successful campaigns for former state Rep. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover, North Andover Selectmen Tracy Watson and Donald Stewart and Methuen Mayor Stephen Zanni.