STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, NOV. 29, 2023…..Former Rep. Kate Campanale will not run for the open House seat that was vacated Wednesday by her husband, Peter Durant, when he was sworn into the Senate.
Durant represented the 6th Worcester district in the House, encompassing Southbridge, Dudley, and parts of Charlton and Spencer, since 2011.
Elected to the Senate following a special election earlier this year, the Spencer Republican left the House seat unoccupied with over a year left in the 2023-2024 lawmaking session.
Campanale, also a Republican, served two terms in the House. She formerly worked in Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration and ran for lieutenant governor alongside Chris Doughty in 2020.
Campanale over the summer changed the “office sought” section of her campaign finance documents from lieutenant governor to the 6th Worcester House district that Durant has represented.
Asked by the News Service Wednesday if she planned to run for the open House seat, Campanale said she wouldn’t pursue the office in a special election next year or in the normal 2024 election cycle.
Campanale and Durant said they would be lending their support to Dudley Select Board member John Marsi when the seat comes up for election. Marsi, who according to his LinkedIn is a vice president of database marketing company Acxiom, is in his fourth term on the town’s select board, which is up in June 2024. Campanale said he plans to announce his run next month.
It is up to House Speaker Ron Mariano to decide whether to call a special election to fill the now empty House seat.
With Durant’s move between the chambers, the House’s Republican ranks fell to 24, while the Senate’s grew to four members.
Dave Adams, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, the veterans affairs officer in Uxbridge, and member of the Southbridge Select Board, has also launched a campaign for the 6th Worcester House seat.
Another Republican, Adams launched his campaign earlier this month. As of Wednesday, he has raised about $13,000.
“It would seem like there should be a special election, but obviously that’s going to be up to the House,” Durant said about his now-open seat. “A year is a really long time to leave that open. So I would suspect that there will be, I think historically we’ve seen them.”
In January 2022, former Rep. Claire Cronin left the House to take a new post as U.S. ambassador to Ireland. Though there was close to a year left in the session at that time, Mariano never called for a special election to fill her seat, leaving residents of Plympton, Kingston and Halifax without representation.
There are still 13 months in the 2023-2024 session, and seven months of formal lawmaking business to conduct.