Town GOP Endorses MacMillan
In a rare move, the local Republican Committee is publicly supporting the moderator candidate.
In a sign that the town moderator race may be intensifying, the North Andover Town Republican Committee has unanimously voted to endorse Frank MacMillan Jr.
"You know, he's higly educated, he comes from family who's given back to community for long long time," said Selectman Rosemary Smedile, chair of the North Andover Republican Town Committee.
MacMillan said he is very glad to have the endorsement because it shows his candidacy is gaining steam in the days leading up to Next week's election.
"Signs, endorsements don’t vote, but they tell people you’re serious," MacMillan said. "That’s the message I’d like to get out there, that I’m serious, I have a chance to win, and it’s going to come down to getting my voters out there."
Party for the Party-less
MacMillan is not enrolled in any political party.
"He's totally a moderate," Smedile said. "He promised to put people who could work together on the Finance Committee, no extremists."
But the endorsement is sure to raise eyebrows in town for two reasons. First, because a town moderator race is customarily nonpartisan and the local political party committees tend not to be involved. And secondly because one of Macmillan's opponents, Mark DiSalvo, has been a Democratic party operative for years.
"One of the canfidates was mentioning that they would put 'diametrically opposed people' on the Finance Committee," Smedile said, referring to an answer given by DiSalvo at the recent League of Women Voters debate.
"A question was asked and he wasn’t satisfied with response, he would ask them to answer again. They [the North Andover Republican Committee members] thought the moderator injecting themselves in debate by asking them to answer again was troubling."
Smedile insisted the committee's decision was based on MacMillan's stances on issues relating to Town Meeting and not partisanship.
And despite the Republican endorsement, MacMillan continues to campaign as an independent candidate with no political ties.
"I am unenrolled, remain unenrolled, and I have no plans to become a Republican," he said.
A political party endorsing a moderator is practically unprecedented in North Andover, since the town moderator position is expected to be nonpartisan.
"I don't have any organization behind me," MacMillan said. "I went to an organized body that doesn't have anyone in the race."
And in the age of Internet campaigning and social media, old rules may have become outdated.
"The sitting chairman of Board of Selectmen has endorsed my opponent," he said, referring to Selectman Tracy Watson's support of DiSalvo. "The sitting chairman of School Department has endorsed my opponent. Who is left?"
Voters will head to the polls at North Andover Middle School on March 27 and decide who the next town moderator will be.