Manzi, at a gathering with supporters in Haverhill, said O’Connor Ives did well on the shore and her home of Newburyport, more than neutralizing how well he and Coco did in their respective hometowns. “It turned out to be a geographic race,” he said.
Manzi had emerged as the clear favorite of established Democrats in the region, winning the endorsement of Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday and former state Sens. Steve Baddour and James Jajuga. He also led his opponents in fundraising.
But in Newburyport, Manzi faced a political problem with a controversial endorsement he received from IBEW Local 103. The electrical union spent months protesting in Newburyport over Anna Jaques Hospital’s decision not to hire union workers to do electrical work on its $15 million expansion. The union’s tactics in Newburyport won it widespread criticism from the public and local leaders. While Manzi defended the endorsement, O’Connor Ives criticized him for being out of touch with this end of the district.
Last night, Manzi said the “seat is in play” and could go a Republican, and he committed himself to helping O’Connor Ives however he could. “I intend to work for the Democratic nominee,” he said. “I think it’s more important as we go forward because the things Democrats value are important.”
Manzi complimented his primary opponents, saying the “race was about ideas.”
At a gathering down Essex Street in Haverhill, Coco said he was proud of his race, coming in second overall. “I’m very proud, a first time candidate, to have won Haverhill and more importantly raised very basic issues that turned out to be very critical in this campaign,” Coco said.
O’Connor Ives will face the Republican winner, Haverhill School Committee member Shaun Toohey, and two independents — Amesbury City Councilor James Kelcourse and Haverhill School Committee member Paul Magliocchetti. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.
“I’m going to continue to work hard and I want to be available and accessible to residents throughout the district, to know their priorities, find out their concerns and be responsive to the questions they have,” she said. “It’s about being straight forward and clear about why I’m movitivated to do this work.”