UPDATE: Andy Vargas Triumphs Over Shaun Toohey in Haverhill State Representative Race

Rep. Andy X. Vargas. (WHAV News file photograph.)

New state Rep.-Elect Andy Vargas takes congratulatory calls during his victory party Tuesday. (WHAV News photograph)

Democrat Andy Vargas is Haverhill’s new state representative for the 3rd Essex District after beating Republican opponent Shaun P. Toohey at the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Vargas received 3,889 total votes to Toohey’s 3,403.

Vargas spoke with WHAV from his victory party in downtown Haverhill.

“It feels great to know that hard work and a positive campaign can still win in the city of Haverhill and in the Commonwealth. In a time where not many people have faith in our politics, it’s good to see that when a small group of people turns into a big group of people – volunteers – we can make some neat things happen with our politics,” Vargas told WHAV after his win Tuesday.

Twenty-four-year-old Vargas will relinquish his seat on the City Council in order to relocate to the statehouse.

“I plan to resign from the City Council and be a full-time state representative solely. I don’t think it is prudent to be in two elected offices,” he said.

Vargas said he had a preliminary conversation with House Speaker Robert A. Deleo about the possibility of being sworn in sooner rather than later. He believes voters wanted someone with the best chance of emulating the successes of former Rep. Brian S. Dempsey.

“The core issues, frankly, were who’s going to be best to try to mitigate the loss of a giant in Brian Dempsey, who was able to deliver so much for the City of Haverhill. Who’s able to work hard, be humble, but also stand up for Haverhill every single day on Beacon Hill.”

City Councilor Michael S. McGonagle was among the first to congratulate Vargas, offering his colleague high praise when speaking to WHAV at City Hall Tuesday.

“Andy is a hard worker and I’m proud of him,” McGonagle said. “He’ll be a great representative for Haverhill. He’ll do his homework.”

Going into Tuesday’s vote, Vargas carried endorsements from six of his fellow eight councilors, including President John A. Michitson, as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Haverhill Firefighters Local 1011 and the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts.

The freshman state representative, who serves as the senior marketing manager for Entrepreneurship For All, ran on a platform that put education, healthcare, environmental issues and economic development at the forefront.

In a controversial move, Vargas also voiced support throughout his campaign for the legislation called the Safe Communities Act. The act has been criticized by many including runner-up Toohey as code for “sanctuary city.”

The bill would restrict the arrest and deportation of undocumented Massachusetts residents to those convicted of violent or drug offenses. Vargas argues that immigration activity should be “resource-focused and pragmatic.”

The politician was forced to defend his youth and limited government experience often, calling on voters to reject the “toxic politics” of opponent Toohey.