NORTH ANDOVER — State Sen. Steven Baddour, D-Methuen, said this morning he will be leaving the seat he has held for a decade either this week or next to join the law firm McDermott, Will & Emery.
Baddour, who originally won the seat during a special election in 2002, told The Eagle-Tribune he doesn't think there will be a special election to fill the remainder of his term, which expires this fall.
"I talked to the senate president (Therese Murray) last week about whether there should be a special election," he said. "It's her call, but I think she's leaning away from it. I agree. There should not be a special election."
Baddour's district includes Methuen, Haverhill, Newburyport, Amesbury, Merrimac, North Andover and four precincts in Salisbury. Candidates will have to decide soon if they want to run for the seat because nomination papers with signatures are due by May 1.
Baddour's sudden departure is seen by some as linked to an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office into a hiring scheme between lawmakers on Beacon Hill and the state's Probation Department. Baddour's wife, Ann, works at Haverhill District Court as an Associate Probation Officer making around $35,000 a year.
Baddour said there's no link.
"It (his resignation) has nothing to do with the investigation," he said. "There was no mention of any Essex County lawmaker in the indictment." The U.S. Attorney's office released the indictments on Friday.
Baddour said the opportunity to join a prestigious and successful law firm was something he agonized over but just couldn't pass up.
"I love the job (as state senator)," he said. "It was not an easy decision. It was a tough decision. But I always said I wasn't going to be in public service forever. I always thought I'd go back to the law."
He said he first started talking with a friend at the law firm about two months ago while at a restaurant. That conversation turned into a job offer last week.
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More coming on this story in tomorrow's editions of The Eagle-Tribune.