SALEM — Joan Lovely sailed to an easy victory last night in a lopsided race for the 2nd Essex District’s state Senate seat.
Lovely, an attorney and Salem city councilor, beat Republican Richard Jolitz by more than 2-1, carrying every community in the district, which includes Salem, Beverly, Peabody, Danvers and Topsfield.
How the North Shore Voted: State Senate, 2nd Essex District
Jolitz, an EMT from Beverly, collected enough signatures to get his name on the Republican primary ballot, but never campaigned for the office. He did not return a call seeking comment.
Lovely will take over for Sen. Fred Berry, a Peabody Democrat who has represented the district for 30 years and who endorsed Lovely this fall.
“I’m elated,” Lovely said last night. “We worked so hard to get here. I’m honored. I’m pinching myself, really. ... What an experience! This whole year, it’s been terrific.”
Lovely celebrated with supporters at Old Town Hall after the polls closed last night. She circulated among tables decorated with blue and green balloons, shaking hands and giving hugs to friends and supporters.
Lovely, a 54-year-old mother of three, has been on the Salem City Council for 15 years.
Last night, she said it will be “impossible” to fill Berry’s shoes. Berry was among the many people Lovely thanked in her victory speech.
“I will do the best job I can and continue to take care of the district,” she said afterward.
Although Lovely campaigned start to finish, the heat of the race came before the Sept. 6 Democratic primary. Lovely won the primary nod over former Peabody state Rep. John Slattery, Governor’s Councilor Mary-Ellen Manning and Edward Carroll of Salem.
Jolitz was endorsed by the Boston Herald, although he did not raise any money, made no public appearances and did not return reporters’ phone calls throughout the fall.