Kelcourse Withdraws From Race He Didn’t Run

Thursday September 15, 2022

Photo provided by James Kelcourse. James Kelcourse

REGIONAL — James Kelcourse, the newest member of the state Parole Board, withdrew last week from the race for the state legislative seat he had held since 2015 and one he could have easily won in November. 

Kelcourse had filed for reelection before he was appointed and confirmed to the Parole Board. In last week’s Republican Party primary election, he won without opposition to the slightly realigned House district. 

But he had already resigned his seat.

Now the State Republican caucus must meet to decide who will be the Republican nominee for the state district that includes parts of Amesbury, along with Merrimac, Newburyport and Salisbury. 

“I am so grateful to all the wonderful people of Newburyport, Salisbury, Amesbury and Merrimac who cast a vote for me in Tuesday’s primary. Thank you for your confidence in me and for the privilege of serving you,” Kelcourse wrote in a Facebook post. 

“Today, I filed my notice of withdrawal from the November ballot with the Elections Division in Boston. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Serving as the State Representative of 1st Essex District was the best job I ever had, but I love the challenge of my new position on the Massachusetts Parole Board and the people I serve with,” he wrote. 

In an unusual all-write-in ballot, Dawne Shand of Newburyport won the Democratic primary to succeed Kelcourse, and Charles “C.J.” Fitzwater of Salisbury led the Republican field for the Nov. 8th general election. 

Shand defeated Newburyport City Councilor Byron Lane with 1,407 votes to Lane’s 416, according to unofficial results.

Fitzwater won 425 Republican votes over his only opponent Samson Racioppi of Salisbury, who received 131 votes.

Kelcourse wished both candidates “the best of luck. I am confident you are going to love serving as much as I do.”

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