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Several Possible Candidates Emerge for Berry's Seat [POLL]

Out of the possible candidates so far to make a bid for the state Senate, who would you vote for?

With longtime Senator Frederick Berry (D-Peabody) planning to retire after he completes his 15th term in office, the wide open seat at the State House is getting a fair amount of consideration from local politicians.

Berry, 61, again in the 2nd Essex District on Nov. 17 during a fundraiser his charitable fund was sponsoring.

As could be expected, even with several months to go before nomination papers are due, speculation is running rampant on who would make for a good candidate to replace Berry or simply be interested in running.

So here's the tally thus far of who's in or out of consideration to represent Peabody, Salem, Danvers, Beverly and Topsfield in the future. Our poll below includes those individuals who have indicated some level of interest in the seat.

Fellow Peabody native Ted Speliotis (D-Danvers), says he is seriously considering trading his seniority in the House of Representatives to make a bid for the Senate. The fact that he has represented a fair number of the same constituent base in Danvers, Topsfield and Peabody for 23 years only gives him an edge, he believes.

Speliotis, in the 13th Essex District, currently chairs the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

The other serious candidate to emerge thus far is Governor's Councillor Mary-Ellen Manning.

Manning is also a Peabody native and has a law firm in Salem. She currently represents the 5th District (Essex County and a few other towns north of Boston) on the Governor's Council.

She says she has already reached out to sitting mayors to talk local needs over a cup of coffee.

Peabody Mayor Michael Bonfanti appears poised somewhere between strong consideration and possible interest in the seat, along with a few other individuals so far.

At 67, Bonfanti says he still has some political ambitions after he retires from the corner office at the end of the year. Bonfanti, who has a lot of admiration for Berry, says he's considering a run and doing some self-evaluation.

Bonfanti said it was time for him to move on from the mayor's office, a job he has loved and still loves. He believes he did a "pretty good" job over the past 10 years, but it's time to try new things and let some new blood in.

Bonfanti said he has come to appreciate the difference in perspective at the state level and the ability to take some leadership in areas he feels are lacking now.

Two other possible Democratic candidates for Berry's seat are Gary Barrett, former district director for U.S. Congressman John Tierney, and Salem City Councilor Joan Lovely, according to the Salem News.

The Boston Globe reported that Barrett, the interim director of the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, is considering a run.

Lovely, a popular at-large councilor, is a former State House employee and lost a bid to state Rep. John Keenan (D-Salem) to replace J. Michael Ruane for the 7th Essex District seat when Ruane retired n 2004.

As for Keenan, he quickly took himself out of the running for the Senate, releasing a statement the .

Keenan noted he ran for that seat in 1994, but "timing is everything" and now is not in the best interests of his young family or his district. He does plan to seek re-election next year.

The third and remaining member of Peabody's state delegation, Democrat Joyce Spiliotis, says she has no aspirations for the Senate. She only plans to run for her seat for the 12th Essex District again in 2012.

So far, the only Republican to report he is considering running is Beverly's Richard Jolitz, who handily lost to Berry in 2010.

Several other names have been tossed around as potential candidates by political speculators on the North Shore, but those individuals have not declared their intentions yet. A particularly active discussion on the topic can be found over at the Blue Mass Group. Across the aisle, the Red Mass Group is also talking, but no new names have been mentioned.

bogey251 December 02, 2011 at 11:56 PM
Matt, I was looking at the previous posts and figured that misspelling Mr. Barrett's name wasn't that big a mistake. You misspelled it the same way in a previous post....but that's not important. You obviously believe in John Tierney and want to support one of his friends get into elected politics. If I knew the guy I might want to help him get started too. But I am very leery of anyone connected to John or Patrice Tierney after the criminal trial and it's revelations. I mean didn't Patrice tierney funnell money to her fugitive brother's mother who then donated $4,000 to John Tierney's campaign?
Matt Browning December 03, 2011 at 12:06 AM
Actually, I didn't misspell it. I just checked. In all honesty, I actually don't know / am not affiliated in any way with John Tierny (and am not here to defend/ support him), but do support Gary Barrett. And my support comes from a legitimate concern as to who should replace Senator Berry. So it is with that background that I take offense to your accusations and inferences that Mr. Barrett is/was involved in any nefarious dealings. I admittedly don't know the details of the Tierney criminal trial that you reference, but I fail to see the connection to Mr. Barrett.
DStDenizen December 03, 2011 at 12:16 AM
I have lived in Salem most of my life and could have told you who all those people are, except for GB. I had to look him up. Sand bagged, indeed, lol. Tierney hasn't done a damn thing but run for cover these last few years. Oh, whoops, I forgot rubber stamping Pelosi's directives. Get. Him. OUT. And we surely do not need another just like him. UGH. Manning or Lovely - although we really do need Lovely here on city council.
bogey251 December 03, 2011 at 03:08 AM
Matt. I certainly did not say Mr.barrett has been personally involved in any crimes. As I said before, I have never heard of Mr. Barrett at all before yesterday. I found it unusual that a low profile political operative who has never run for or held any public office could garner such a vote tally. So I did google him and discovered that he has worked in john tierney's office for the past 14 years. If you haven't heard, Tierney's wife has pleaded guilty and served her sentence for her involvement in her two brothers' illegal gambling empire. John claims ignorance but that strains all credulity. I believe it is time for Tierney to go, so I am not inclined to support one of his operatives when there is a candidate with Manning's credentials in the race.
Michelle T December 05, 2011 at 04:49 AM
Karen-Mabye Bonfanti should get his own show on Comedy Central-he's be much more suited to that than another elected office--he was a ZERO in Peabody-he did nothing! Is Gary Barrett any relation to famed Holywood gossip maven Rona Barrett? How about former Red Sox second baseman Marty Barrett. Unitl I saw his pals flood this post--I had never heard of him. I did run into a member of the Democratic State Committee today at Dunkin Donuts. She told me that Barrett was an operative in Tierney's Peabody office--then left abruptly last year and no one is talking about why! Sounds like ol Gary knows something about the corrupt congressman but isnt talking! But I guess all this makes him more than qualified to run for office. When people take a look at this proposed field, Ted Spiliotis, Bonfanti, Barrett and mabye Slattery--WOW is it weak.I am a moderate Democrat but really feel unconfortable with the lefty loon Deval Patrick crowd. The only one that makes sense in the race is Mary-Ellen Manning. She looks out for the average folks, is honest, and is the only elected official to consistently criticize the outrageous judicial nominees Patrick hires and the nutty womens groups that blindly support him! I agree with several posters--it is strange that this guy no one ever heard of--Barrett got all these votes here on the Patch! Why is he even remotely qualified for this job? What is his position on the issues--isnt he just going to take orders from Tierney.

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