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Peabody mayoral candidate Sean Fitzgerald reportedly had a good crowd — 400 people by one estimate — for his comedy-night fundraiser at the Knights of Columbus Hall last weekend. The event was hosted by Fitzgerald's longtime pal, comedian Gary Gulman.

Mayor Michael Bonfanti, Fitzgerald's boss before the latter moved from City Hall to the town manager's position in Plaistow, N.H., was in attendance. But Bonfanti says he's not taking sides in the race to succeed him, for now.

Not so two other prominent politicians in the city — state Reps. Joyce Spiliotis and Ted Speliotis — who have both publicly come out in support of Councilor at large Ted Bettencourt's candidacy. Spiliotis is even sporting a Bettencourt-for-mayor sticker on her car.

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Meanwhile in Salem, School Committeeman Kevin Carr has picked up the endorsement of state Rep. John Keenan in his bid for councilor at large.

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This is one endorsement we're certain Salem Ward 6 Councilor Paul Prevey could do without.

Prevey is being challenged by former Carlton School principal Charlie Walsh. That and other council races were previewed in a story in Wednesday's Salem News.

Commenting online, local gadfly and occasional candidate Mike Blatty observed: "Mr. Prevey has been an exceptionally fine representative of his ward on the Salem council and will not be displaced by an 80-year-old pal of the mayor's who would doubtless have trouble staying awake through an entire city council meeting."

Alienating supporters of the popular mayor and senior citizens in a single sentence is a pretty neat trick.

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According to one attendee, there was a lot of buzz at the Democratic State Convention in Lowell last Saturday about the possibility of U.S. Reps. John Tierney, D-Salem, and Niki Tsongas, D-Lowell, being pitted against each other in 2012.

Tierney and others plan a big showing at the June 20 hearing before the legislative redistricting committee in Lynn to try to convince the panel that the 6th District should remain intact.

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Rep. Lori Ehrlich's bill aimed at tightening the standards for the inspection and maintenance of gas lines received a hearing before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy this week.

According to a release from the Marblehead Democrat's office, "With the oldest natural gas delivery system in the country and the second highest per capita amount of cast iron piping most susceptible to corrosion and breakage, Massachusetts is positioned to be first in addressing the danger of explosions."

Not only do these leaks pose a public safety hazard, Ehrlich testified, but they represent a significant waste of resources and money.

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U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., almost had them fooled. About the same time CNN was reporting Monday that the congressman had admitted to sending inappropriate photos of himself to women he had met online, a national polling firm was out with a release stating that a majority of those who had viewed his earlier denial on CBS thought he was telling the truth.

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The GOP House caucus sent a letter to Gov. Deval Patrick this week urging him to reconsider his decision not to have the state participate in the Secure Communities program which allows local police to share information with federal authorities on criminal suspects they believe may be here illegally. Signees included Rep. Brad Hill of Ipswich, House Minority Leader Bradley Jones, whose district includes part of Middleton, and Rep. James Lyons whose district includes part of Boxford.

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The North Shore Tea Party is holding a Flag Day rally on Tuesday, June 14, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. around the giant flagpole in Danvers Square.

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