NEWBURYPORT — Candidates for state Rep. Mike Costello’s seat as representative of the First Essex District have cleared the first qualification hurdle and are planning their summer campaigns.
Costello, a Newburyport Democrat, is not seeking re-election after 12 years in office. His withdrawal has brought a half-dozen hopefuls into the contest, who were required to file signed signatures by late last week in support of their candidacy.
City officials say that as a result of filings, candidates for the post include Democrats Ed Cameron, a city councilor in Newburyort, and Bob Lavoie, a city councilor in Amesbury.
Jim Kelcourse, also a city councilor in Amesbury, will be running as a Republican.
Independents include Ari Herzog, a city councilor in Newburyport; Rama Valianti, a solar-heat manager from Newburyport; and Steve Stanganelli, a professional financial adviser from Amesbury.
The primary election on Sept. 9 will determine party nominees.
Independents will not be on the ballot until the final election on Nov. 4.
Looking ahead to campaigning this summer, Cameron said, “The major hurdle for me will be the Sept. 9 Democratic primary. Bob Lavoie, who is also pursuing the Democratic nomination, and I are planning debates over the summer sponsored by the local Democratic committees.
“Throughout the summer, I will be focusing on meeting as many voters of all political stripes as I can through door-knocking, house parties and events in Amesbury, Newburyport and Salisbury.”
Lavoie, a lawyer, projected his summer campaign as follows: “I plan to hold traditional kick-off events in each of the three municipalities, followed by the usual coffees, socials and other appearances. I intend to knock on as many doors as possible within the entire First Essex District during the upcoming weeks of this primary election campaign.
“My elected position these last eight years as an Amesbury city councilor has allowed me to become well-known to Amesbury voters. I especially look forward to presenting myself to the voters of all three municipalities in the separate debates contemplated to be held this summer by the three local Democratic Committees within the First Essex District.”