As Andover Democratic Sen. Barry Finegold was poised to make his bid for treasurer public today, the Merrimack Valley was abuzz with talk of possible contenders to fill the seat he would leave vacant.
Rumors flew fast and furious as Republicans and Democrats mulled the options ahead.
Republican Alex Vispoli, a member of the Board of Selectmen in Andover, has already thrown his hat in the ring.
“I want to thank Barry for his years of service to the people of Andover, Dracut, Lawrence, and Tewksbury,” he said in an emailed statement. “I wish him the best of luck in the Democrat primary. His decision to seek higher office gives the people of this district an opportunity for a new direction. I believe now is the time to elect a Senator who can use his business experience to demand accountability of our tax dollars and work to put people back to work.”
It is the second go-round for Vispoli, who ran for the Senate seat in 2012 but lost in the primary.
Democrat Barbara L’Italien, a member of the Andover School Committee, said she was waiting until Finegold made his intentions known during a press conference this afternoon in Hyde Park.
“I’m sure, once Barry makes it official, you’ll see a number of people announce,” she said. When asked if she had any interest, she answered, “We’ll see what happens.”
L’Italien is a former state representative who lost a bid in 2012 to regain her seat from Andover Republican Jim Lyons.
Tewksbury Selectman Doug Sears, secretary of his town’s Republican Committee, said he had heard rumors that Democrat Scott Wilson, also a Tewksbury Selectman, was mulling a run for the seat.
“He had considered it, but realized it was rather daunting and decided against it,” said Sears.
Wilson could not be reached for comment.
Another Republican who has run for the seat, Paul Adams of Andover, could not be reached for comment, either.
Adams was a state representative who won the primary against Vispoli but lost to Finegold in 2012.
Also mulling a run for the seat is Pavel Payano, a School Committee member from Lawrence. He could not be reached for comment but told The Eagle-Tribune in late November that he would consider a run for the seat if Finegold ran for Treasurer.
Deb Silberstein, an Andover attorney and former School Committee member, ran for state Senate as a Democrat in 2010 but lost in the primary to Finegold. She could not be reached for comment, either.
Vispoli said his announcement was made in December without knowing what Finegold was going to do.
He said he’s met with as many people as possible in the district and has the blessing of the Andover Republican committee and is working on getting endorsements from other Republican groups in the district.
Vispoli has about $10,000 in his campaign fund and recognizes the need to start ramping up his fund-raising efforts. He loaned the campaign $19,000 two years ago which remains as a liability on his campaign finance reports.
“We’ll obviously spend time on fundraising to finance this race,” he said. “We are in the process of a organizing a series of fund-raisers, and talking to folks interested in participating in the campaign.”