PEABODY — It’s last year, all over again.
The race for the 12th Essex District is turning into a three-way contest with three of the same candidates who ran for the House seat last year. Democrat Beverley Griffin Dunne submitted her nomination papers to the city clerk’s office on Friday. Fellow Democrat Jim Moutsoulas said he plans to join the race next week. And incumbent Republican Rep. Leah Cole says she’s still collecting signatures and will be turning in her papers soon.
Dunne and Cole were both on the final ballot last year. Moutsoulas withdrew from the race before the party primary due to a technicality.
Cole, an unknown candidate making her first bid for office, narrowly defeated Dunne, as well as unenrolled candidate Dave Gravel, in a low-turnout special election last April to succeed the late Joyce Spiliotis.
“I’m not on the ballot yet; I’m on the way,” Dunne said this week, adding that she still plans to bring more signatures to City Hall. At least 150 signatures must be certified by local election officials before nomination papers are submitted to the Secretary of State’s office in May. There is no deadline to take out papers, but the deadline to submit papers to the clerk’s office is April 29.
Dunne, 56, a veteran School Committee member, vowed last year to run again after she finished just 73 votes behind Cole.
“People seem to be much more interested in this race [this time],” Dunne said. “People have been seeking me out, asking if I’m running.”
The congressional and gubernatorial races should generate more activity at the polls, she noted, but even so, “the Democrats want that seat back.”
Cole, now 25 and with a year on Beacon Hill, agrees that this election is different. “For one thing, people know who I am this time around,” she said.