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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