BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — BEVERLY — With two weeks to go before the deadline to enter the race, it’s looking like a relatively easy path to re-election for state Rep. Jerry Parisella.
Parisella’s only opponent so far is Euplio Marciano, a U.S. Army veteran who has lost several previous runs for city councilor and mayor. The deadline to submit nomination papers with the required 150 signatures is April 29.
Parisella said yesterday he doesn’t know who might come forward in the next two weeks, but he’s planning to run the same type of campaign regardless.
“My message is essentially going to be the same whether someone’s running or not,” he said. “I enjoy the job of state representative. I work hard at it. I try to be someone people can reach out to very easily.”
Parisella defeated Republican challenger Brett Schetzsle to win the seat in 2010, then had no opposition in 2012.
Sarah Stewart, the newly elected chairwoman of the Republican City Committee, said the committee has been “actively speaking” with potential Republican candidates, but no one has committed to running.
“It’s a big commitment, a big personal decision,” Stewart said. “If someone decides to run, we would support them as best we can. It would be a rush to get signatures, and we would help them.”
Schetzsle put up a strong fight against Parisella four years ago and still lost by 3,000 votes. Schetzsle, a former city councilor, said yesterday that he will not run again this year.
“Incumbency has many advantages,” Schetzsle said. “I think it’s just a difficult proposition to unseat someone, particularly somebody who has Jerry’s name recognition.”
A last-minute candidate would also face a fundraising disadvantage. Parisella has $13,474 in his campaign fund, according to state filings.
Parisella said he is running for re-election because he enjoys the job and wants to continue to make an impact on Beverly. He cited several projects, including a new middle school, MBTA parking garage, and the Route 1A reconstruction, that he wants to continue to help the city move forward.
“I felt I’ve made somewhat of a difference in Beverly, and I’d like to go at it again for at least another two years,” he said. “There’s a lot happening in Beverly now and in the future that I’d like to continue to take a part in.”
Parisella said he has helped ensure the future of the River House homeless shelter by securing $200,000 in state funding in each of the last two years.
As a member of the Army Reserves and vice chairman of the joint committee on veterans and federal affairs, Parisella said he has also helped pass legislation that benefits veterans. One law gives veterans college credit for their military training, while another, signed last week by Gov. Deval Patrick, provides tuition reimbursement and other protections for students who are called to active duty.
Marciano, who is running as a Libertarian, said Parisella could be vulnerable on issues like the Brimbal Avenue rezoning project. Parisella, an attorney, resigned from his job with the law firm that was representing the developer after complaints about a potential conflict of interest.
Parisella is now working for the Salem law firm of Tinti, Quinn, Grover & Frey.
“Jerry’s got the popularity contest won,” Marciano said. “He grew up here, and he knows more individuals.”
Stewart, the Beverly Republican City Committee chairwoman, said a strong Republican candidate would have a chance at unseating Parisella.
“It’s a winnable race for the right candidate,” she said. “We’ve just got to get them in.”
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.