Republican Jon Golnik said he will run for Congress again in 2012, setting up a potential rematch with U.S. Rep Niki Tsongas, D-Lowell, in the newly-formed 3rd District.
Golnik, 46, of Carlisle, lost to Tsongas in 2010 but finished with more than 94,000 votes — the best showing from a Republican in the region since 1992.
Golnik earned 42 percent of the vote last year in his first ever run for public office. Tsongas finished with 55 percent, coasting to re-election by more than 25,000 votes, including big wins in Lawrence, Haverhill and Lowell and close victories in Andover and Methuen.
"We didn't win, so obviously I'm not happy," said Golnik last week. "But we started from a very small base. We're going to work harder than we did last time. We're going to raise more money this time. I look at our jumping off point as 42 percent."
Golnik works as a small business consultant and is married with two children. He is the first Republican to officially announce his candidacy in the new 3rd District.
Congressional districts in Massachusetts were redrawn this fall because the state is set to lose one of its 10 House seats. Seats are distributed based on Census population data.
With unemployment at 8.5 percent or higher for the last 30 months, Golnik said he will continue to attack the "job-stifling" policies supported by Democrats like Tsongas.
"I don't think things have improved," said Golnik. "I think that Rep. Tsongas has voted for every piece of job-killing legislation to pass the president's desk over the last three years."
Golnik said voters want their elected officials to cut spending and limit the scope of government as a means to create jobs and get the national economy back on track. He said Tsongas wrongfully believes the federal government can create jobs effectively.
"She sees us as her ATMs and that's a problem," said Golnik. "I don't think she's listened to the people of the district at all and I think that leaves us disenfranchised."
Tsongas was first elected to Congress in October 2007 in a special election, after former U.S. Rep. Martin Meehan stepped down to become chancellor of UMass-Lowell.
She went on to run unopposed in 2008.
After she was re-elected last year, Tsongas said job creation would be her top priority.
Earlier this month, Tsongas successfully pushed for the six-year reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which awarded roughly $283 million to Massachusetts businesses last year, according to a press release from Tsongas' office.
The program reauthorization was included in conference report that sets Department of Defense spending, including a 1.6 percent pay raise U.S troops and their families.
"It is these types of initiatives that grow our economy, create jobs, and benefit our service members that she has focused on while representing 5th District residents over the last four years and is what she will remain focused on next year while Republicans are determining who their nominee will be," Tsongas Spokesman John Noble wrote in a statement.
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