SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election

October 27, 2010

Cahill's strongest tie locally is through school building projects

Editor's Note: This is the last in a series of stories exploring the North Shore connections of the governor's candidates. A story about Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick ran in Monday's edition, and a story about Republican challenger Charlie Baker appeared in yesterday's edition.

Tim Cahill has less than a week to make up what polls show is a monumental gap between him and front-runners Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker.

Still, he won't drop out of the race.

"He's not a quitter. None of us are quitters. ... Because he hasn't quit on the campaign, it shows he won't quit on the commonwealth in solving real problems," said Amy Birmingham, the chief of staff of Cahill's campaign.

Birmingham lives in Salem and has worked for Cahill since 2003, first in the treasurer's office, then as a campaign staffer about a year ago. For the last few years, she's traveled with Cahill to community events and campaign appearances.

Part of her job is projecting a tone of optimism for the campaign, even when the latest polls show few reasons for celebration. So far, Cahill is polling at less than 10 percent.

His North Shore ties are weak, compared to those of his two biggest opponents. Baker lives in Swampscott, and Patrick has been endorsed by a variety of local officials, including the mayors of Peabody, Beverly and Salem. Carrying the North Shore on Election Day is probably a long shot for Cahill.

Still, Birmingham said she believes Cahill is the candidate who best understands regular people's problems.

"He's a middle-class guy with middle-class values. It's what drives his employees because we identify with him," Birmingham said. "He knows what it's like to pay a mortgage. He knows what it's like to fill out financial aid forms for his kids. He cuts his own grass. That's what I admire about him. He reminds me of someone that lived on my street growing up."

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