2012: The Year in Politics
A wrap-up of North Andover's political stories from the past year.
The year 2012 will be known for a few things, not the least of which is politics. The nation, the state and the town was engaged in politics this year in ways not seen in a while.
Here's a recap of our political year:
New Town Moderator
Selectman Bill Gordon was reelected to the Board of Selectman, and local businessman Dick Vaillancourt won a seat on that board as well. On the School Committee, incumbent Laurie Burzlaff won reelection and Andrew McDevitt won a seat.
After Town Moderator Charlie Salisbury announced last year thsat he would step down after more than 20 years in that role, few could have predicted the heated race that would ensue to fill his seat.
But a heated race is what we got. Mark DiSalvo announced his candidacy, and from then on people seemed to be either for him or against him. The North Andover Town Republican Party endorsed Frank MacMillan Jr. Then Charlie Salisbury, a Republican, also endorsed MacMillan.
Despite these high-profile endorsements, DiSalvo defeated MacMillan and former Finance Committee member Ramsey Bahrawy, taking more than 50 percent of the vote in the three-way race.
DiSalvo went on to preside over his first Town Meeting in June, at which residents voted to keep the CPA tax, establish a new capital stabilization fund and reject a both Route 125 sewer design plan and a 4.3 million energy savings project.
State House Shake-Up
When Diana DiZoglio of Methuen announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for state representative for the Essex 14th District, she was seen as the underdog against incumbent Democrat David Torrisi.
But DiZoglio racked up union endorsements and support in her home town of Methuen, and despite losing in North Andover, she defeated Torrisi in the primary.
DiZoglio went on to defeat Republican Karin Rhoton of North Andover to win the state representative seat in November.
In the Essex 18th race, State Rep. Jim Lyons faced off against a familiar adversary -- Barbara L'Italien, the former state representative he had defeated for that seat in 2010. The rematch was close, and Lyons defeated L'Italien again to win reelection.
The races for Congress and president were even more heated, and a "blue wave" seemed to rush over New England, giving Democrats huge victories.
Republican Richard Tisei launched an aggressive campaign against Congressman John Tierney and out-raised Tierney every quarter. Tisei's momentum was seen by many as being unstoppable, as the popular Republican garnered the support of many Democrats and Tierney even skipped one debate entirely.
On election night, polls had shown Tisei with an impressive base of support but also showed many undecided. In the end, the undecided voters tipped toward Tierney, and Tierney won the race.
Massachusetts saw one of its most intense Senate races in recent history, with incumbent Republican Scott Brown battling for reelection against progressive powerhouse Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Brown led in polls, and then Warren led in polls, and then Brown led, then Warren, and so on.
In the end, it seemed to be about turnout. Warren won the election, becoming the first woman to win a Senate seat in Massachusetts history.
In the presidential race, President Barack Obama won reelection against challenger Republican Mitt Romney.
And in case you haven't had enough politics, Massachusetts will likely have another high-profile Senate race soon. Candidates are already stepping up to run for Sen. John Kerry's seat since Kerry has been nominated by Obama to be the next secretary of state.