Almost immediately, those who held any aspiration of running for state office began contemplating a run and taking out nomination papers. Others, including Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday, former Amesbury Mayor Thatcher Kezer and former Newburyport City Councilor Dick Sullivan Jr., quickly dispelled any notion that they too would join the race.
Yesterday, current Newburyport City Councilor Barry Connell joined those announcing they would not seek Costello’s office.
“While we’ll miss Mike, there are other capable candidates who seem eager to serve in his place, but I will not be among them. Newburyport voters voted in November to send me back to the City Council, and I will not go back on my pledge to serve a complete term,” Connell wrote in an email.
Kelcourse, 40, a practicing general attorney, already has experience running for a state office, having waged an unsuccessful campaign to succeed former state Sen. Steven Baddour in 2012. The seat was won by former Newburyport City Councilor Kathleen O’Connor Ives, a Democrat. In that race, Kelcourse ran as an Independent, a move that some speculated cost him in terms of visibility.
But Kelcourse said the failed state Senate race served him well in terms of the many debates he participated in and generally getting his name out across the river into Newburyport and Salisbury. Having an established presence on social media sites such as Facebook and a campaign website were added advantages.
“I’ve got experience which I think is going to be very helpful for me,” Kelcourse said.
At the same time he announced his candidacy, Kelcourse unveiled plans for his first campaign fundraiser Wednesday, April 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Ale House in downtown Amesbury.
The married father of two, Kelcourse serves as vice president on the City Council and is chairman of the council’s rules committee. Prior to his years on the council, he served a year on the city’s Planning Board. Regionally, he’s a member of Greater Newburyport Rotary Club and the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce.