SALEM — Mayor Kim Driscoll is running for lieutenant governor, but for the time being, the campaign is expected to have little impact on her current job, until at least the fall.

Driscoll’s announcement came barely a week after she was sworn in to her fifth four-year term as Salem’s chief executive on Monday, Jan. 3. Were she to complete the term through 2025, she’d tie Francis Collins as Salem’s longest-serving mayor with 20 years in the corner office.

The announcement set off speculation around Salem Tuesday as to who might become the next mayor as Driscoll seeks higher office. The news also came just days after District Attorney Jon Blodgett said he wouldn’t seek a new term, which prompted state Rep. Paul Tucker to announce his own bid and a number of prospective local challengers discussing runs for the seat held by Tucker.

Driscoll, meanwhile, has no plans to step back from her current duties. Even if her campaign were successful, she would still be Salem’s mayor for the rest of the year.

“We’re full steam ahead on all our efforts — from the offshore wind opportunities we’re working on to the housing issues, to a City Council that we’ll be working with on joint priorities,” Driscoll said. “We don’t intend to take the foot off the gas in Salem at all.”

Driscoll’s run will evolve over the spring and summer as more candidates emerge. With the main election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, primary elections in September will thin all governor and lieutenant governor fields down to one person per party, she explained.

“You really run independently, so it’s sort of a shotgun marriage at the end,” Driscoll said. “The lieutenant governor candidates will run, gubernatorial candidates will run, and whoever the two winners are will be matched up as a team for the Democratic party.”

As such, there will likely be no need to discuss a mayoral race in Salem unless Driscoll gets through the primary and ends up on the Democratic ticket for the general election in November.

Driscoll’s term runs until the first Monday of 2026. By Salem’s city charter, if there is a mayoral vacancy within the first three years of a four-year term, a special election is held to finish the term. If a vacancy occurs in the fourth year, the City Council must elect one of its members within 30 days to serve as acting mayor; if they fail to do so, the City Council president at that time becomes acting mayor, until the next election.

Contact Dustin Luca at 978-338-2523 or Follow him at or on Twitter @DustinLucaSN.

Contact Dustin Luca at 978-338-2523 or Follow him at or on Twitter @DustinLucaSN.

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