DEBATE HIGHLIGHT: Most Democratic Candidates Not Ready To Pledge To Support Their Party’s Nominee In General Election

WILMINGTON, MA — In a debate that found the candidates generally agreeing with one another on the issues, the question that generated the most disagreement was certainly an interesting one.

Moderator Katie Lannan, of State House News, asked the five Democratic candidates running for the 19th Middlesex State Rep seat, the question: “If you don’t win this primary, will you support the party nominee and encourage others to do the same?”

Judy O’Connell (D-Wilmington), Mark Kratman (D-Tewksbury), and Erika Johnson (D-Wilmington) were not ready to make any promise.

“Obviously my goal and intent is to be the Democratic nominee. I’m still working very feverishly to win this candiacy and I have not thought that far ahead,” said O’Connell. “I’m focused so much on my campaign and what I can do for the residents of the 19th Middlesex District, I’m not prepared to commit to any one candidate sitting here… At this time, I’m focused on my candiacy and why I should be elected.”

“I’m planning on working as hard as I can to win this race. At this point, I really haven’t looked at it any other way,” responded Kratman. “I don’t vote the party, I vote the person. I have a lot of respect for a number of these candidates. A lot of them have done great things for their community…. But I’m not going to vote the party, I’ll vote the person who will do best for our communities.”

“I, too, am not going to commit to a single person,” added Johnson. “I’m out there doing my best to be a bold new voice for the legislature for these communities. With that said, I hope whoever does end up becoming successful will take the opportunity to meet with all the candidates so we can come together and really keep this seat blue.”

Dave Robertson (D-Tewksbury) and Mike McCoy (D-Wilmington), on the other hand, did pledge to support the Democratic candidate in the general election, whomever he or she may be.

“Given the alternative, absolutely,” declared Robertson. “I know many folks in town look at the person, not the party, but in this race, given the alternative, and seeing the blood, sweat and tears that myself and my colleagues have put in, [I’ll support the nominee]. I believe, however, I am, by far, the best choice.”

“The bottom line is [when] someone wins this election, I would definitely support that person,” said McCoy. “However, I’m out there trying to get elected. I have my little own resume. I have 31 years of public service – 28 years as a member of the [Wilmington] Board of Selectmen and 3 years as a member of the [Wilmington] Planning Board. I owned a successful restaurant for a period of time. People know how I am. I have a lot of experience and I know I could do a great job. I’m not going to say I’m better or worse than anyone else. I just know I can do the job.”

Watch the debate, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television, below. Jump to the 1-hour, 3-minute mark to watch what was written above.

(NOTE: Look for more debate highlights in the coming days.)

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8 thoughts

  1. I was sad to hear the 2 candidates say they would support the winner of the primary because I have started forming an exploratory committee in case Ms O’Connell survives. For many reasons but read this article and she states “there is a housing crisis in both towns, with not the supply to meet the demand, and that the towns need to do more to increase housing in Wilmington and Tewksbury.” Really? I’m sure that will go over well with the voters of the 19th District.

  2. You neglected to finish my statement which stated more affordable, senior and veteran housing which I believe is an important qualifier.

    There isn’t enough inventory of homes and that’s a fact that is undeniable. Does that mean I’m saying build anything and everything to any scale – absolutely not!

    I am concerned about over development, infrastructure, traffic and the impact on our schools just like many others, but I’m not going to be disingenuous and say that all development should stop as I’m talking about commercial as well. You continue to try and spin my words which I don’t appreciate. If you ever want to actually meet me (for the first time) and talk with me in person to actually have a conversation about my principles and beliefs on this topic or any other, I’m willing to do so. Thank you.

    1. Judy, perhaps you should repost the stats from Exit Family First Realty one more time so people reading this post know the actual facts!

    2. The article I commented upon was in both the Tewksbury and Wilmington Patch. It also stated that you support Pro Growth Development. If those are the kinds of building you support then maybe the writer of the article didn’t include them. I’m waiting until next Wednesday to solidify our short and mid term plans of public service. I’m sure at some point soon we will meet and hopefully work on a common goal in our towns.

  3. The question of this election will come down to what kind of representative do we want in Boston. Do we want one that will tow the party line or do we want a rep that will find common ground and work toward solutions that benefit everyone? 3 of the 5 candidates admitted to never voting outside the party. That’s them saying a Republican has never had a message worth pursuing.

      1. 2 of the 5 admitted that someone on the other side had a message worth pursuing at one time. Politics is finding middle ground and working toward a solution, not doing what the higher ups of a party want.

  4. Rob, I agree. If you have common ground then you find places to work to together. I voted for Weld, only one in my life. That being said nationally the Republican. are so far from even the center it is pathetic. In MA, not so much. For me anyway, my perspective. Baker is doing ok, I don’t agree with him on everything but he is doing an ok job. And George Ferdinand O’Connell is definitely pro-development. No one is saying no development obviously, we are already over developed so now what? She has commented herself that the old J. T. Berry site in North Reading is a good thing when Wilmington got all the impacts and North Reading got all the benefits. And that she got a client a place there. Right, good for development based businesses for profit but not good for small towns. Instead how about proposing changes to 40 B like when a development that size on the border of another community that community gets to use some of those affordable units to their totals since the impacts to the neighboring community go without saying and mitigation is only fair.

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