"If I win this race," Schetzsle added, "there's going to be a lot of long-time establishment Beverly people who wake up and say, 'Wait a minute, I don't know anybody who voted for this guy.'"
No Republican has won the state rep seat in Beverly since Jim Henry in 1990, and he was knocked out two years later by Democrat Mike Cahill. Cahill and then Grant have held the seat ever since.
Beverly has more than twice as many Democrats as Republicans, but Schetzsle is banking on the city's large number of unenrolled voters — 14,679, more than the two parties combined — to join his side.
He pointed to the fact the Republican Scott Brown got 55 percent of the vote in Beverly in his U.S. Senate victory over Democrat Martha Coakley in January.
"I was watching a surfing competition on TV the other day and the announcer said, 'You have to have good surfing skills, but you also have to have a really good wave,'" Schetzsle said. "There is a sense that the wave is out there."
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.