REGIONAL – Dawne Shand will be the first woman to represent the First Essex District in the state house since Barbara Hildt held the seat from 1983 to 1993.
For the next two years, Shand, the former president of the board of directors for the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, will represent her hometown of Newburyport as well as Salisbury, Merrimac and Amesbury Districts 2-5. Shand reclaimed the district for Democrats, after Jim Kelcourse, a Republican from Amesbury, left Beacon Hill for a seat on the state Parole Board.
She defeated C.J. Fitzwater of Salisbury by about 4,000 votes, according to unofficial results.
Sen. Bruce Tarr, the Republican minority leader from Gloucester, will represent Newburyport, Salisbury and Amesbury in a district that was redrawn in the latest redistricting map. Sen. Diana DiZoglio, a Methuen Democrat, who previously represented the district, won a statewide race for auditor.
In the second Essex District, incumbent Republican house member Leonard Mirra of Georgetown defeated a strong challenge from Kristin Kassner of Hamilton.
Mirra, who has served in the House for 10 years, won re-election in a redrawn district where only two of the towns – Georgetown and Newbury – were still in his district. He won both of those towns and added Rowley and precinct 1 in Topsfield.
Kassner, a Hamilton resident, running her first race for public office, won her hometown and Ipswich by significant margins.
In a statement, the Ipswich Republican Town Committee, congratulating Mirra, said, “Although we did not win Ipswich, we pulled in a significant margin of votes to help him in his victory in an atmosphere, where at least in Massachusetts, there was an enormous Democratic wave.”