AP NEWS

Doubleheader Debate: Senate, House Hopefuls to Square Off

August 12, 2018

A Sun Staff report

LOWELL -- The Sept. 4 primary election ballot is filled with political races, including two Lowell-based legislative contests that are generating much attention.

The candidates in those races -- for the 1st Middlesex Senate District and 18th Middlesex Representative District -- will be highlighted during two debates sponsored by The Sun and UMass Lowell at Moloney Hall on Thursday evening.

Senate candidates will go first beginning at 6 p.m. Representative candidates will take the stage about 7:15. Each debate will last 60 minutes.

The candidates for Senate are battling to replace Eileen Donoghue, who resigned to become city manager earlier this summer.

The race includes three former Lowell mayors: Rodney Elliott, Edward Kennedy and Bill Martin. Elliott and Kennedy remain on the City Council. Also in the race are John Drinkwater, legislative director for the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and a Lowell resident, and Terry Ryan, a former Westford School Committee member and Lowell native.

Besides Lowell, the district includes Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell, Tyngsboro and Westford.

Besides the incumbent, Rady Mom, the race to represent the 18th includes two former city councilors, James Leary and Rithy Uong. The fourth candidate is Sam Meas.

Mom was elected in 2014, when Kevin Murphy resigned to become city manager. Among the candidates he beat was Leary, then a School Committee member.

The race has generated plenty of headlines:

* In May, Meas claimed Mom assaulted him at a function. A clerk magistrate, however, denied an application for a criminal assault complaint.

* In June, Lowell resident Mark Cote challenged at the state level the residency of Meas and Uong, alleging they reside outside the district, which is comprised of the Highlands and Acre. However, the state Ballot Law Commission decided Cote didn’t prove his case and both Meas and Uong were allowed to remain on the ballot.

The debate will be moderated by Sun Enterprise Editor Christopher Scott.

Sun Editor James Campanini will serve as timekeeper, swinging his trusted Salvation Army bell to let candidates know when they’re bloviating.

“I urge people to come out and see the democratic process for themselves,” he said. “The Sun is pleased to partner with UMass Lowell for this event.”

The university will be represented by Frank Talty, co-director of UML’s Center for Public Opinion.

“A core mission of the center is to educate the public about polling and debates,” Talty said. “We’re fulfilling that mission by partnering with The Sun on these debates.”

The panelists for the evening will be Sun reporter Rick Sobey, who covers City Hall, and Ryan Callahan, an incoming UMass Lowell sophomore from Chelmsford studying political science.

Each debate will last 60 minutes. There will be no opening statements, but candidates can make up to a 90-second closing statement.

Candidates should be prepared to ask questions to one another.

AP RADIO
Update hourly