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Local News

January 31, 2013

Heard Around Town: Moutsoulas is down, but not out ... yet

PEABODY — James Moutsoulas says he isn’t quite out as a candidate for state representative in the upcoming special election to fill the late Joyce Spiliotis’ seat. His 150 signatures were disqualified by the secretary of state’s office, but the former ward councilor is now mulling an appeal.

“I’ve had people come and tell me, ‘Don’t give up on this,’” he says.

A decision hinges on a conversation he hopes to have with Secretary of State William Galvin.

Moutsoulas complains he was ill-treated by the secretary’s office when he brought in his papers. He says “a young man” dismissed their validity, saying, “You didn’t put ‘Democrat’ where the line says party.”

“Let me put it in now,” Moutsoulas replied.

“The papers are now in my possession,” the official replied, according to Moutsoulas.

The candidate’s plea that it said “Democrat” elsewhere on the document cut no ice, he says.

“He just stood there gloating ... in the pain he was causing me.”

Brian McNiff, spokesman for the secretary of state, cites the violation of Chapter 53, Section 45, of the general laws, failing to put the name of the party on the nomination papers, as the reason for rejecting them. “It’s the law.”

He adds that there is no administrative appeal available for Moutsoulas, but, “He could go to court.”

The man who handled the matter, McNiff says, “is a good man.” As to Moutsoulas, “I can see why he might have been upset.”

Moutsoulas’ absence reshapes the race, giving Democrat Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne no opponent for her party’s nomination and a clear field to the final election contest on April 2 versus unenrolled City Councilor Dave Gravel and the winner of the March 5 Republican primary between Gregory Bunn and Leah Cole.

Losing ground

He’s leaving at the end of the year, but Ward Councilor Dave Gamache wanted his colleagues to know how much they meant to him. In a short speech at last week’s meeting, he singled them out as special among the many councils he’s sat on in 24 years.

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