It was a close race for the First Essex state senate seat as Merrimack Valley voters gave incumbent Democrat Kathleen A. O’Connor-Ives a second term. Her Republican challenger, Haverhill School Committee member Shaun P. Toohey, took Haverhill and North Andover, came close in Methuen, but lost to O’Connor Ives in the seacoast area vote.
Toohey spoke with WHAV’s Jack Bevelaqua in extending his congratulations to O’Connnor Ives..
“The voters spoke, they spoke loud and clear. First, I Just want to commend Katie Ives. I tried to reach out to her, she must be celebrating, but I want to commend her for a good race. It was a positive race. We shared our ideas. At the end of the day, voters tonight made a decision, and they left with… they wanted to go and continue with Katie in that direction,” Toohey said.
The Haverhill school committeeman said it can be a struggle to run in the senate district as a Republican.
“If everyone thought that way…you’d certainly throw your hands up in the air, throw in the towel. You can’t do that. So you need to have the courage to fight, and fight for what you believe in, day in and day out,” Toohey said.
Meanwhile, Toohey said his work on the Haverhill School Committee goes on.
“Quite frankly, at the end of tomorrow, when I wake up, I’m still president of the Haverhill School Committee. And I’m going to hit the ground tomorrow, and continue with the initiatives and issues that are facing Haverhill Public Schools tomorrow. So nothing’s going to change for me,” Toohey said.
O’Connor Ives was scheduled to speak on WHAV at 9:50 p.m. but the call was not successful.