Peterson ends bid for Congress

Lisa Peterson

SALEM — Lisa Peterson, a Salem Democrat and one-term city councilor in the city’s Ward 3, has ended her bid for the state’s 6th Congressional District.

In an announcement to her campaign page Friday afternoon, Peterson described it as a “difficult decision to leave the race.” She gave three reasons for ending her bid: Waning public interest in a competitive race, that she can be more effective in fighting for important causes in a “different format,” and that this decision is best for her family.

“I want to thank you — my family, my supporters, my friends, my amazing campaign team, and all those who contributed to this campaign with your time and your treasure,” Peterson wrote. “I will forever be indebted to you and I hope we get a chance to meet and to continue our work together toward building our dream America.”

Peterson originally pulled nomination papers to run again for her City Council seat, but then announced in early July that she planned instead to run for Congress. She was among a handful of North Shore Democrats who expressed interest in running as Congressman Seth Moulton instead sought the Democratic nomination for president.

Moulton finally ended his presidential bid in late August and is focusing his efforts on a re-election campaign, as he had promised he would do.

Peterson raised $37,000 on her congressional campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission website. She spent about half of that on the campaign.

“As I consider my own next steps, our democracy is experiencing significant turbulence, and it is up to all of us to save it,” she wrote Friday. “There are so many issues that I feel so deeply about — the influence of corporations on our public discourse; the impact of money on campaign priorities; access to healthcare; housing and food security and nutritional food access; gun violence in our communities and classrooms; student loan reform; addressing the climate change crisis; fixing our transportation infrastructure; an equality for all agenda; ending the use of private prisons; reproductive freedom; and helping serve those addicted to drugs with compassion.

“I hope that my candidacy has inspired you as much as it has inspired me,” she continued, “and that you will join my continuing to fight on these important issues.”

On the heels of Peterson’s departure from the race, Angus McQuilken, a Topsfield Democrat and gun violence prevention advocate who had been contemplating entering the race, said Friday he plans to make an announcement in the coming days.

Fellow Topsfield Democrat Jamie Zahlaway Belsito, a women’s mental health advocate, already announced her candidacy in June, and Nathaniel Mulcahy, of Rockport, has a campaign website saying he’s running as a progressive Democrat. On Friday, Governor’s Councilor Eileen Duff, who had also considered jumping in the race, said she would not run for Congress and instead plans to seek re-election.

In Salem, Peterson’s decision not to seek re-election to the council — which came just before the city’s filing deadline — triggered a small wave of new candidates to emerge and a preliminary election on Sept. 17 that narrowed down four candidates to two. On Nov. 5, Robert Camire and Patricia Morsillo face-off for the Ward 3 seat on the council.

Peterson, asked if she planned to make a last-minute bid now as a write-in candidate in the city election, said she would not. She also declined Friday to say if she’s endorsing one council candidate over the other.

“I will likely be making a public statement about the ward race on Monday,” she said.

Staff writer Ethan Forman contributed to this report.

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

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