WEST NEWBURY — Two weeks removed from a busy state primary season, both candidates for the Second Essex District representative seat are now looking ahead to what promises to be a hotly contested race to the finish.
Republican Lenny Mirra and Democrat Barry Fogel, who both hail from West Newbury, will be facing off in November’s general election to replace Rep. Harriett Stanley, D-West Newbury, who is stepping down after 18 years in the Legislature. The 2nd Essex District includes Newbury, West Newbury, Merrimac, Georgetown, Groveland and parts of Haverhill and Boxford.
The two candidates have been discussing future debate plans and have agreed to face off several times in the weeks ahead.
The first debate will be held Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. at Boxford Community Center. It will be hosted by the Town Democratic and Republican Committees and moderated by Gerald Johnston, the town moderator.
The second event, a meet the candidates-style forum presented by the Greater Haverhill League of Women Voters, will take place Monday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. at Haverhill Public Library.
A debate involving the communities of Georgetown and Groveland is tentatively in the works for Thursday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. at Georgetown Town Hall, but the specifics are still being finalized. An additional debate to be held jointly by groups in Newbury and West Newbury is also being discussed.
In addition to the debates, both Mirra and Fogel have each been busy meeting with supporters and planning their campaign strategies.
Fogel, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, allowing him the opportunity to steadily build his base of support and focus his resources on the November finals, said he has been canvassing and making calls.
“We’ve been getting everybody focused on the general campaign,” he said.
Mirra, meanwhile, has been working to capitalize on the momentum generated from his primary victory, when he emerged to win the Republican nomination with 45 percent of the vote, beating out competitors Bob Cronin of Boxford and Gary Fowler of Georgetown.