Toohey to Seek State Rep. Seat; End City Council Bid

Shaun P. Toohey before a joint City Council and School Committee meeting in 2016. (WHAV News photograph.)

School Committee member Shaun P. Toohey is the first Republican to enter the race for the Third Essex House seat being vacated by Rep. Brian S. Dempsey.

In a twist, though, Toohey said he will cease his campaign to join the Haverhill City Council. The veteran school committeeman surprised some in early June when he took out nomination papers for a city council run instead of seeking re-election.

“I’m running for state representative to have an impact on the community I care deeply about,” Toohey said in a statement Monday night. “We expect results from our state representative who must advocate for working families by responding to our needs while looking out for the hard-working taxpayers” he added. Toohey said his relationship with the Republican administration gives him an edge on delivering for Haverhill.

“I believe I am the best candidate with the experience to deliver for Haverhill in a bipartisan manner with our region’s delegation while continuing to work with Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito,” Toohey said.

Democrats Paul A. Magliocchetti and Andy Vargas have also declared their intentions to seek the representative seat. Vargas has said he will continue his bid for City Council, while Magliocchetti said Monday he is still deciding whethe to run for both School Committee and state representative. Toohey’s decision not to run for City Council may save the city the cost of a preliminary election depending on the number of candidates that ultimately return nomination papers by next Tuesday’s deadline for city races. Aug. 29 is the deadline for submitting nomination papers for the Oct. 10 state primary election.

Toohey has served 13 years on the School Committee. He placed fourth for three available school seats when 2015 final election ballots were counted. He received 3,502 votes—111 less than the third-place finisher. However, he was reseated in February, 2016, filling the unexpired term of Joseph J. Bevilacqua. He received the post after a contentious 8 to 7 vote of a special committee of the mayor, city council and remaining members of the school committee.

Toohey has also unsuccessfully run twice, in 2012 and 2014, for the First Essex Senate seat now held by Sen. Kathleen O’Connor-Ives. Unlike the Senate seat—whose district runs from North Andover to Salisbury—the Third Essex representative seat is wholly located within Haverhill.

He is vice president of Seaman & Toohey Insurance Agency, president of KC Carpets and regional vice president and mortgage banker at Mortgage Equity Partners. He is a member of Kiwanis and a former Riverside Bradford Baseball and Valley Jr Warrior hockey coach. He and his wife Tatum have been married 19 years and have two children Delainey and Jack.

3 thoughts on “Toohey to Seek State Rep. Seat; End City Council Bid

  1. “I believe I am the best candidate with the experience to deliver for Haverhill in a bipartisan manner with our region’s delegation…..”

    Shaun, if you think you can win with this kind of “political word speak” in Haverhill, you’re dreaming. You have to know that as a Republican it’s a long shot for you to win in the city dominated by liberal democrats. But there is a boat load of good news for you….liberalism in Haverhill has been a complete failure. There are indisputable factual statistics about the city showing its decline in literally every aspect impacting the quality of life of living here. But they’re going to do you no good if you continue with the typical political rhetorical BS. You need to take the gloves off, Shaun, and tell it like it is. You need to point out the decline of the city is directly related to when liberal democrats Dempsey and Failurentini took office.

    If you think you can win in Haverhill by taking the RINO approach Baker did, it won’t work. You need to educate the uneducated in this city to the facts. You have no choice other than to burn bridges by educating voters every day about what the liberal democrats running this city have done to destroy it. Talking about “bipartisanship” and “reaching across the isle” and all the other insane political speech democrats can use to coast to victory in this city and state is going to do you no good. You don’t have that luxury. You need an informative campaign which connects the dots between liberal public policy and the negative impacts it has had on Haverhill citizens. This is not hard to do, because the facts are the facts. But if you’re not willing to take the gloves off Shaun, why even bother running?