AMESBURY — State Rep. Jim Kelcourse said Wednesday he is considering a run for mayor of Amesbury, citing encouragement from people urging him to run.
Kelcourse, an Amesbury Republican, has represented Newburyport, Amesbury and Salisbury in the Massachusetts House since 2015.
If he runs for mayor he would face incumbent Kassandra Gove, who is in her first term as mayor. Gove has taken out nomination papers for a second term.
Asked on Wednesday if he is eyeing a campaign for mayor, he said, "I can no longer ignore the hundreds of people who have encouraged me to run, and I will be making my decision shortly."
Kelcourse, 47, said he has received hundreds of requests from people asking him to run for mayor via email, phone calls and private Facebook messages.
"I have been amazed and it has been very humbling," he said.
Gove said in a text message on Wednesday that she welcomes a good debate if Kelcourse does commit to seeking the city office.
State Sen. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, announced earlier this week she will be running for state auditor in 2022, which would also place her Senate seat in the 1st Essex District up for grabs.
Kelcourse has successfully run for reelection three times to the House but said he is not interested in seeking DiZoglio's Senate seat.
In her text on Wednesday, Gove said, "As I’ve done since I took office, I encourage anyone who wants to help continue to make this city a great place to explore any and all avenues by which to do so."
Kelcourse was elected to the Amesbury City Council in 2009 where he served until he successfully ran for state representative in 2014.
Gove had previously announced she would be running for a second, two-year term in the fall.
According to the City Clerk's Office, both Gove and former selectman James Thivierge have taken out nomination papers to run for mayor this year. But neither potential mayoral candidate has returned their papers with the 50 certified signatures which are required for a candidate to be placed on the ballot.
Thivierge last ran for mayor in 2019 but he received only 15 votes in the September preliminary election and was not on the November ballot.
Gove defeated Mayor Ken Gray 2,306 votes to 2,149 votes to become the city's chief executive in 2019.
Kelcourse last ran for reelection against Democrat challenger Amber Hewett in 2020 and received 5,592 votes to Hewett's 4,411 in Amesbury. Kelcourse would win that election, 14,415 to 13,407, when factoring adding in voters from Newburyport and Salisbury, the other two district communities.
The 2021 municipal election is Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.