Certainly an odd turn for the race. Peabody Democrat Jim Moutsoulas withdrew from the race for State Representative Saturday, just days after filing his nomination papers with election officials.
That means there won't be a Democratic Primary after all in March, leaving School Committee member Beverley Griffin Dunne with independent candidate and city councilor Dave Gravel to await the winner of the Republican contest between Greg Bunn and Leah Cole.
Moutsoulas says the Secretary of State's office discovered an oversight in his papers that prevented him from getting on the ballot. That oversight was neglecting to write in his party affiliation, according to Moutsoulas.
His campaign released a statement Saturday, explaining the gaffe.
Moutsoulas said he picked up his stamped nomination papers from the Peabody City Clerk's office on Thursday and brought them down to Boston.
He said the Secretary of State's office would not accept the papers, despite 220 approved signatures attached, because he didn't write 'Democrat' in the party designation line at the top of the documents.
"Therefore, my name will not appear on the March 5th special election primary ballot because of this technicality," Moutsoulas said.
"For this reason, I regret to announce that I am dropping out of the race for State Representative. I would like to thank all of my supporters for their dedication and hard work. I am extremely disappointed about this oversight," he said.
Moutsoulas, 67, served as the Ward 3 City Councilor from 1985-1997 and has run unsuccessfully for both at-large seats and in the mayor's race in the years since.
He first made known he was entering the race to succeed Joyce Spiliotis in the 12th Essex District shortly after the new year.
Spiliotis, 65 and a popular representative, died in office in November.