NORTH ANDOVER — Selectmen Chairwoman Rosemary Connelly Smedile took several weeks to think about whether she would run for state representative.
As the April 29 filing deadline got closer, many people concluded she wasn’t going to take the plunge. Local Republicans feared that they wouldn’t have a candidate in the 14th Essex House District.
A recent decision by the House leadership, however, pushed her into the race, she said. Democratic leaders, she said, were way out of line when they “stifled” debate over welfare reform, aid to cities and towns and education during the Legislature’s review of the budget.
Smedile, who was gathering signatures for her nomination papers at the North Andover Republican Town Committee’s annual Spring Fling on Wednesday night, said she intends to serve as “a voice against the Boston political machine.”
“Not to even have the debate is just wrong,” Smedile said.
She said she knows she has her work cut out for her. First, she has to collect at least 150 voters’ signatures and present them to area city and town clerks by tomorrow. Then she needs to get those signatures to the secretary of state’s office for certification.
That’s only the beginning. Defeating the winner of the Sept. 9 Democratic primary — Smedile appears to be the sole Republican running for the seat — will require backbreaking work and lots of money.
Smedile knows it will be a tough race, but “I’m in it to win,” she said.
Three Democrats are running for their party’s nomination in the 14th Essex, which comprises five precincts in North Andover, three in Methuen, three in Lawrence and one in Haverhill. Rep. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, faces challenges from Philip DeCologero and Oscar Camargo, both of North Andover.
DiZoglio scored a huge upset in September 2012 when she defeated then-Rep. David Torrisi, D-North Andover, in the primary. She beat the Republican nominee, Karin Rhoton of North Andover, in the general election.