BEVERLY — Democrat Jerry Parisella rode his hometown roots and nice-guy reputation to a resounding victory over Republican newcomer Brett Schetzsle yesterday in the race for state representative.
Parisella, a 47-year-old lawyer, swept all 12 of the city's precincts to win by more than 3,000 votes and earn a 60-40 margin of victory.
"Wow, what do I say?" Parisella remarked as a crowd of about 70 supporters at the Italian Community Center chanted, "Dominate, dominate." "I couldn't have done this without all of you."
Parisella staved off a determined challenge from Schetzsle, a 33-year-old marketing manager and Indiana native who moved to Beverly three years ago.
Schetzsle announced his candidacy more than a year ago and resigned his job at Gillette in August to devote full time to his campaign. He revived a near-dormant Beverly Republican City Committee, outspent Parisella and tweeted nearly 1,000 messages on his campaign website.
Ultimately, however, he was unable to overcome the hometown support of Parisella, who comes from a large extended family, works for a well-known Beverly law firm, and has volunteered for the YMCA, Kiwanis Club and various other civic groups.
"Realistically I knew it was an uphill fight against Jerry," Schetzsle said as he held one of his 11-month-old twin daughters, Elliot, at his campaign headquarters on Cabot Street.
"We fought that fight the right way. We ended up with 40 percent of the vote, and it's been a long time since a Republican has polled 40 percent of the vote here."
Parisella will succeed Mary Grant, the Democratic incumbent who opted not to run for re-election after eight years in office. Grant showed up at Parisella's victory party to congratulate him and to "bequeath" him two large signs advertising the annual ice cream social she has hosted as part of Beverly Homecoming.