Word is the race to succeed late Peabody state Rep. Joyce Spiliotis is unofficially underway.
Local political commentator Bob Croce, in his blog Eye on Peabody, shared in a post this week that he is aware of three elected city officials who are seriously considering a run for Spiliotis' seat in the House of Representatives.
Those would-be candidates are School Committeewoman Beverley Griffin Dunne and City Councilors-at-Large Dave Gravel and Tom Gould. Dunne and Gould are both registered Democrats, while Gravel is Unenrolled.
Peabody Patch has spoken with all three officials, but they have declined to comment on their plans at this time, citing a desire to be respectful of Spiliotis' family so soon after her death.
Spiliotis died Nov. 29 after succumbing to a battle with cancer she kept private. She was 65.
All three officials and many other locals attended a wake and funeral service for Spiliotis earlier this week, during which she was fondly remembered again as the "People's Joyce."
State officials have indicated no action will be taken to move forward with a special election until the new year -- those dates will likely be set sometime in January and a primary, if it comes to that, could be slated for March.
The 12th Essex District seat, which Spiliotis held for 10 years, represents most of the city -- wards 1-4 and Precinct 1 and 3 in Ward 5 (state Rep. Ted Speliotis represents the remainder).
Croce, who co-hosts the cable access show "You Make the Call" with Dick Jarvis (Spiliotis' husband) and is a family friend, says he has learned that Dunne, Gould and Gravel have been making preliminary phone calls to determine whether they would have enough support for a run.
Dunne, a close family friend to Spiliotis, is in her third term on the School Committee and is coming up for re-election in 2013, while Gravel served eight years on the committee and then moved over to the City Council in 2007. Gould is a relative newcomer to Peabody politics, although he topped the ticket in the council race last fall in his first run for office.
A number of other names have been mentioned as well, but none with any amount of certainty, except that former state Rep. John Slattery may sit out this opportunity to win back his seat. Slattery did just suffer a sound defeat to Salem's Joan Lovely for a shot at retiring state Sen. Fred Berry's seat.
Spiliotis and Slattery both came on the City Council at the same time, and Slattery was then elected to the 12th Essex District seat after one term. Spiliotis served 10 years on the council and then succeeded Slattery until her death.
As for that special election, the Secretary of State's office has a whole guide available online for candidates.