A Bird’s Eye View of the 2012 Election – Evaluations, Endorsements & Links

Paying Attention! with Tom Duggan


November 3, 2012

tom DuganAfter watching all the debate, interviewing the candidates, consuming the news and commercials every day I have made my final decisions on who I am supporting in Tuesday’s election. As the publisher of a newspaper, a political radio talk show host and an activist in my (somewhat) free time I have been privileged enough to get a bird’s eye, and one on one view of most candidates and most political races here in the Valley.

Right out of the gate I want to tell you my biases so you can keep that in mind when reading my personal take on the candidates below. I am a conservative republican. I have very conservative views on most political issues. I am a Tea Party member and, yes, I am quite libertarian on most first amendment issues and though most of my views are in line with the Republican party, other factors are far more important when I choose a candidate than just agreeing with a candidate on issues.

A candidate’s honesty, their ability to think on their feet, solve problems, admit fault and be able to back up their own talking points are also extremely important to me when choosing a candidate. If someone has all the same positions I agree with, but is dishonest, doesn’t play well with others or doesn’t seem capable of doing the job I have no problem supporting a candidate of another party that I disagree with on key issues. In short I am not an extreme ideologue when it comes to choosing candidates.

I also factor in how the winner of each race will handle the major catastrophe that is the City of Lawrence given the billions of tax payer’s dollars (state and federal) pumped into that corrupt and broken city’s government with no accountability.

These are my personal perspectives and are not reflective of the Valley Patriot Editorial Board or the Newspaper.

The U.S. Senate Race

This is the most important race on any ballot. United States Senator Scott Brown vs. Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren.

On the honesty test, Elizabeth Warren fails miserably.

On issues she is a disaster. Warren believes that you can tax your way out of a recession and that if you do not support abortion on demand, up to the 9th months, funded by the government, you are “anti woman”.

If she wins she will govern with that philosophy. If she is elected Israel will be that much more in jeopardy, we will be further away from enforcing our immigration laws, and worst of all, she will be voting on a nominee to the United States Supreme Court.  

This race not only will affect the direction of the country but has local ramifications as well. Elizabeth Warren has been endorsed by Willie Lantigua, the Mayor of Lawrence. It is an endorsement she gleefully accepted because it comes with Willie’s 8,00 votes.

Given Warren’s admitted love for raising taxes and letting the government spend more money, you just know Warren will be writing millions more in federal grants for Lawrence.

Elizabeth Warren Reads The Valley Patriot
Elizabeth Warren Reads The Valley Patriot

But they won’t be for cops and firefighters, they will be for global warming initiatives and training for green jobs that don’t exist.

They will be grants that will flow through the hands of Mayor Lantigua or the many so called “non profit” organizations that build more low income housing in Lawrence with more of your money. And none of it will be accounted for. 

She will also be one more ally for Lantigua, after all, Willie’s endorsement never comes without conditions. 

I am unhappy with Senator Brown’s support for liberal initiatives, especially Dodd-Frank. But, at least I know that when Scott Brown is taking a vote on behalf of me and my fellow Massachusetts taxpayers, he is voting for what HE thinks is right, not what his party tells him to do. And that is an invaluable trait in a leader.

Whether you are a Tea Party conservative or you are a moderate independent, Scott Brown has to be your choice. 

I could write volumes on this race, and in fact I have. So, see the link below for more on the Brown Warren race. 

Index of Brown Warren Race

An Exclusive Interview with Elizabeth Warren (April, 2012) 

Photo Gallery of Warren Brown Debate

Sen. Brown To Seniors: “Your Medicare is Safe” (August, 2012)

Brown: Warren Wrong on Iran, Israel – Challenges her to “Stop Scaring Women (October 23, 2012)

Warren on Abortion Litmus Test – Methuen Officials Endorse Elizabeth Warren (October 24, 2012)



The First Essex Senate Race:


Paul Magliocchetti on WCAP's Paying Attention Radio Program
Paul Magliocchetti on WCAP’s Paying Attention Radio Program in Lowell

There are four candidates in this race. Newburyport City Councilor Kathleen O’Connor Ives, (a Democrat), Shaun Toohey, a Republican and two Independent candidates: Amesbury City Councilor Jim Kelcourse and Haverhill School Committeeman Paul Magliocchetti.

The 1st Essex Senate District includes Newburyport, Amesbury, Haverhil, Methuen, North Andover, Salisbury, and Merrimac. 

Three of these candidates are exceptional candidates and would do a great job if elected. Jim Kelcourse, (an Amesbury City Councilor) is a straight talker and an independent who has very conservative ideas on the economy and taxes but is much more progressive on environmental issues.

Paul Magliocchetti (Haverhill School Committee) is also an independent and is the only candidate to put forward an economic plan to bring jobs back to the Valley. Democrat, Kathleen O’Connor Ives (a Newburyport City Councilor) is a left-wing progressive but has certainly not sold her soul, or her vote to the state democrat party.

Shaun Toohey and Katie Ives Candidates for Senate

Then there’s Shaun Toohey the Republican. Shaun is perhaps the one candidate in any race that I agree with most on the issues of taxes, illegal aliens, education, and social issues.

Despite the fact that I agree with Toohey on issues, however, I just can’t vote for him. I live in the 1st Essex District and Shaun Toohey will not only represent my party if he is elected to the senate, but he will also represent me! I have written extensively about why I cannot support Toohey and I have provided the links to those stories below.

 Toohey Caught CheatingToohey Didn’t Pay TaxesDebateFinal Debate on WCAP –

So who to vote for in the State Senate Race?

I have given this race almost as much thought as I have given the DiZoglio-Rhoton State Rep race.

I like Independent Jim Kelcourse and would proud to have him as my Senator. I think Jim will be a great legislator some day but he doesn’t have the money or the organization to pull off a win in such a large district. I also like Paul Magliocchetti and think he would be a pain in the ass to the Democrat leadership in the House (which is a good thing). Paul has spent a lot of money and has really done great work increasing his name recognition. I wouldn’t be surprised if Paul pulls off an upset like Diana DiZoglio did with a great ground game in the primary. 

Both Magliochetti and Jim Kelcourse are smart and independent thinkers. They both bring a breath of fresh air to local politics as they have both run a respectably clean campaign and refrained from the dirty tricks and negative campaigning other candidates employ. What’s more, Magliocchetti’s jobs plan shows tremendous foresight and creativity. And though he is very naïve about how real politics works at the state house, he most likely would be able to get some key pieces of legislation passed at the state house (though not in his first term).

Quite frankly I wish I could vote for Ives, Kelcourse and Magliocchetti on election day. They should all be commended for raising the bar on clean campaigning and keeping the race about issues, competence and experience. 

But I only have one vote for State Senate.

So, this year I am taking the advice of the former State Senator Steven Baddour and I am going to vote for Democrat Kathleen O’Connor Ives.


During the Democrat primary election this fall I had the privilege of moderating debates in this race and what impressed me most about City Councilor Ives was her willingness to listen to conservative views and NOT say: “I disagree with you 100%”.

At a Valley Patriot sponsored debate at the Nevins Memorial Library in Methuen, I asked Ives about 209A Reform. Ives, despite her party’s opposition to changing the law, said that she was appalled that men who have had prior restraining orders, still have them on their criminal records and are used against them when applying for jobs years later when no crime has been committed.

Ives also broke with her party on the state’s Public Records law saying she believes in severe penalties for those who obfuscate the law and refuse to turn over public documents when a citizen files a “freedom of information” request.


Ives also is eager to hear what people of other opinions have to say. This shows leadership and great courage. I am so tired of democrats and republicans who vote 100% of the time with their party and follow the leadership of their party… even if it is off a cliff. I have seen Kathleen reach across the aisle and embrace issues that no Democrat member of the legislature would touch with a ten foot pole.

I believe, if Kathleen Ives wins the State Senate race she will not only support those issues in the Senate but she will introduce and champion them to the chagrin of the Democrat leadership on Beacon Hill. Also, she may be a tree-hugging, global warming alarmist, but Ives breaks the mold by being more interested in local environmental issues like pollution in our waterways, and local companies (or municipalities) creating environmental disasters. 

Most important to me in this race is the fact that Kathleen O’Connor Ives, as a Democrat, will champion accountability with our state money being wasted in the city of Lawrence. She said on my radio show that she believes Lawrence needs to be audited and she will not vote to give one more dollar of your state tax money to Lawrence until they can account for the millions they have wasted in the last four years.

Ives said she will not turn a blind eye to the corruption in Lawrence just because her party wants her to. She says she will investigate, and she will be a watchdog for the way our tax money is being spent on poor communities like Lawrence. 

It’s hard to believe I am voting for a left wing Democrat but from where I sit, Kathleen O’Connor Ives is honest, she is truly open minded (as opposed to most liberals) and she really believes what she says she believes. What’s more, Kathleen will continue the tradition of former Senator Baddour and attend local tea party meetings to hear what her constituents’s concerns are and reach across party lines and listen to those who may have different views than her. 

 I am sure we will be battling on the radio for years to come when she supports tax increases and other liberal proposals, but I also know when that happens she won’t be there to justify her position on the issues, she will be there to listen to your opinion and mine.


The 6th Congressional District


 Congressman John Tierney vs. Former Senator Richard Tisei.

This one is a no-brainer for me. United States Congressman John Tierney called into my radio show (on 980WCAP in Lowell) twice this year. Both times he railed in blustering rhetoric about how his opponent, (former State Senator Richard Tisei) is a right wing extremist who will usher in extreme conservative, Tea Party, “Rush Limbaugh-type of legislation on the country. At the debate in North Andover he must have called Tisei a “tea party republican” a half a dozen times. 

I’m sorry, folks but Tierney is simply lying. 

Richard Tisei is an openly gay former state senator who supports abortion, is soft on gun rights and supports gay marriage. How many Tea Party members do you know who are against gun rights, or support gay marriage and abortion? 

I don’t care about Tierney’s family problems as far as I am concerned, until there is proof Tierney was involved I don’t want to hear about it. But I also don’t want to hear Tierney using boiler plate attack talking points (written by the DNC) that don’t hold true against his  opponent and shows how completely out of touch he is with the world outside Washington. You can’t point to a duck and say “ITS A GOAT” over and over a hundred times and expect people to see a goat. Even if in your own mind you do!

No, as a Tea Party member myself I can tell you there is much resistance in the Tea Party to Tisei’s campaign. Anti Tisei literature has been passed out at the last four Merrimack Valley Tea Party meetings I have attended. The opposition is vocal and it is serious (though I think unwarranted). Richard is the best friend Israel could have in the united States Congress, while Congressman Tierney has sided with the terrorist Palestinians every step of the way. 

 Tisei is no conservative extremist. But not a left wing secret plant to have gay activists take over the world either. He is not “anti woman” and he is not anti abortion. He sits EXACTLY in the middle. And I like that a lot. 

So, right out of the gate Tierney may have  failed the honesty test, but there is one other issue I think is important to point out about Congressman John Tierney.

When he called into my radio show last month he railed against George Bush and made particular mention of Bush’s spending and the debt he left the country.

But when I asked Tierney if President Obama’s spending (which is higher than Bush’s) and Obama’s debt (which is triple Bush’s) was also bad, he made lame excuses and outright refused to admit that the president’s HIGHER spending was bad all the while he was railing against Bush’s deficit.  

Honesty test failure number two for John Tierney. 


But, I am not only voting for Richard Tisei because his opponent is dishonest.

Richard gets the economic crisis, he understands that you don’t raise taxes when you are in a recession, you put money back into the economy by lowering taxes. He also understands the local issues like the corruption in Lawrence, the growth problems in North Andover and the problems in the fishing industry in Newburyport. I have followed Richard’s career since the day he called for a state takeover of the city of Lawrence on the floor of the state senate. I have watched him evolve and become keenly aware of the bigger picture issues without losing sight of the smaller issues most of us care about. He is a strong victim’s right’s advocate and a champion of 1st amendment issues.

I think Richard Tisei will be a very responsive Congressman and I am proud to say he has my vote.

State Representative 18th Essex District


State Representative Jim Lyons, (R) Andover
“We have to stop funding this criminal enterprise, we have to stop doing it. Why should the state continue to fund a corrupt administration? We all see what is going on here. The state needs to take it over and run it themselves, put them into full receivership. Why should we allow this kind of activity go on unabated? It’s our money. We need to take over that city at all costs. Whatever it takes to do that, we ought to do it.”

The 18th Essex District includes Andover, Tewksbury, Boxford and North Andover. 

This is a grudge match between incumbent State Representative Jim Lyons and the women he beat two years ago Barbara L’Italien. There couldn’t be two candidates more different than Lyons and L’Italien.

Lyons is a conservative republican who held a sit in (occupy the State House style) shutting down the state budget vote because Governor Deval Patrick refused to release how much money was being spent on illegal aliens with our state tax money. 

Barbara L’Italien on the other hand, did everything humanly possible as a state representative to increase funding for illegals.

While Lyons opposes drivers licenses for illegals, in state tuition discounts for illegals and sate funding of any kind for illeals, Barbara L’Italien supports all of those things and more. Lyons sees himself as a watchdog of the taxpayer’s money.

L’Italien sees herself as an advocate for every state spending program that comes her way. While Lyons calls for a state takeover of Lawrence and the removal of Mayor Willie Lantigua, L’Italien supported every spending measure for Lawrence that she could and not only didn’t call for Lantigua’s resignation, but accepted Lantigua’s endorsement.

Enough said.

State Representative 16th Essex District

Lawrence City Council President Frank Moran vs. Kevin Cuff.


This is the newly created “Latino” district created by legislature specifically for Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua’s friend and City Council President Frank Moran. Moran, (a Democrat) is a very popular city councilor in Lawrence. He is being challenged by Andover resident and Lawrence native Kevin Cuff who is running as an Independent. 

 Kevin CuffAt the beginning of this campaign I told Cuff on my radio program that he had no chance of beating Frank Moran with Lawrence making up so much of the new district. With Willie Lantigua’s support, Moran’s topping the ticket in a six-way race for city council and being a “Latino” it was almost impossible to believe anyone even had a shot against Moran much less a white guy from Andover who has never run for office before. 

But Cuff has out hustled Moran and has engaged in a ground game that would level the playing field in any other community. He has exposed the election fraud in Lawrence where it was revealed that forgeries by a member of Mayor Lantigua’s Election Coordinator in city hall (who is also under federal investigation for ballot tampering) were found on Frank Moran’s nomination papers submitted before the primary. 

While I like Frank Moran and admire him for always shooting straight with the Valley Patriot and with me personally, and I have always respected him for his willingness to come on the radio and answer the tough questions, my support for Kevin Cuff is solid. If Kevin Cuff wins he will make it his life’s mission to investigate the fraud in Lawrence now that he has been the victim of it personally. Cuff is also a guy who understands small business and though I don’t agree with many of his political positions, he isn’t guided by an extreme political ideology. On some issues he is liberal, on others very conservative. If Kevin Cuff is elected he will represent Lawrence, Methuen and Andover. If Frank Moran is elected he will represent Latinos in Lawrence, Willie Lantigua and forget the rest of the district. 


State Rep. 14th Esex District


Republican Karin Rhoton vs. Democrat Diana DiZoglio


You know who wins in a race between  moderate Democrat Diana DiZoglio and Republican Karin Rhoton? The voters and the tax-payers, that’s who. The fact is since DiZoglio defeated State Representative David Torrisi it almost doesn’t matter who wins this race. DiZoglio supports voter ID and opposes things like drivers licenses for illegal aliens, Rhoton does too. There really isn’t much difference between where these two stand on issues. DiZoglio is from Methuen and is the former legislative aid to a republican state rep. Rhoton is a former North Andover School Committeeman who will fight for conservative republican principles in the legislature. 

To be honest, I still dont know who I am voting for in this race. I suspect I won’t know until i am standing in the voting booth with a pen in my hand. Both are great candidates and both would serve the taxpayers well. I am just happy that in at least one race we have two candidates who care about the taxpayers and will aggressively buck the Democrat leadership on issues like public records law enforcement, standing with victims of crime and 209A reform. The people of Methuen, North Andover and Lawrence should be very happy they have two good candidates to choose from.



STATE SENATE 2nd Essex Middlesex District

From two good candidate to two bad ones.

State Representative Paul AdamsThis is a race to watch. Incumbent State Senator Barry Finegold (Democrat)  vs. State Rep. Paul Adam (Republican).

At the beginning of this race I was worried that if Republicans nominated Paul Adams he wouldn’t be able to put up a formidable challenge against Barry Finegold. But Adams has taken this race right to the senator and spent a boat load of money to tighten this race in the final weeks. At the end of the day Barry will probably win again as he has been like teflon despite his connections to Willie Lantigua, Wilfredo Laboy and Israel Reyes.

I have had my problems with Representative Adams in the past and I have certainly had my problems with State Senator Barry Finegold.

First off Paul Adams ran as a Tea Party conservative when he first sought the state rep’s. position he holds now. But in his first year as a rep. he voted for a budget that increased state spending and increased state taxes.

Adams has also been somewhat arrogant as a freshman legislator, preferring early on not to listen to those who put him in office and thought he knew far more than he did. He has had financial issues with the State’s Office of Campaign and Political Finances, being fined for accepting disallowed campaign contributions. Contributions he still says the state has no reason to disallow.

He also acted despicably when he identified his aid by name to an Eagle Tribune reporter, as someone connected to a media generated scandal… which by the way, never happened. When the heat was turned up on Adams he took the cowards way out and fired his aid to deflect the bad press away from his own office. But in a move most unforgivable, at least to me, Paul Adams fired that aid via text message. 

ADAMS (2)In the last election I spoke to Paul Adams shortly before the 2010 ballots were cast. He told me he would not accept an endorsement from Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua. Less than 24 hours later a Paul Adams campaign mailer came to my home where Adams touted the endorsement of William Lantigua. In the first year of his term (2011) Adams was all over Lantigua like a cheap suit. He supported Lantigua’s proposal to the legislature to take the fire chief’s job out of civil service (So Lantigua could fire Chief Murphy).

He never questioned any of the misspending going on under Lantigua even long after news reports confirmed what was going on in the Lantigua administration. And his silence on the millions of unaccounted for state dollars in the Department of Educations takeover of Lawrence is STAGGERING ….even till today!

At NO point in the last two years has Paul Adams taken charge as a State Representative, been a leader, been proactive, called out corrupt officials, demanded answers from local leaders spending state tax money, or even called for an audit of the money we already know was mismanaged in Lawrence. 

Barry Finegold Endorsing Israel Reyes For Mayor of Lawrence at Reyes Kickoff party, which included appearances by Lenny Degnan, Isabel Melendez, and at least one school department employee who has plead guilty to felonies.

To his credit, (at least partially) Paul Adams did vote against his second budget saying that it raised taxes and it increased spending and he had learned his lesson from his budget vote the year before. He also quietly distanced himself from Lantigua a lot sooner than many others have. Which brings me to his opponent Barry Finegold. 

If you think Paul Adams is a bad candidate in my book of “public accountability standards” my problems with Paul are child’s play when it’s compared to incumbent Senator Barry Finegold.

Though I like Barry far more in person than I do Paul Adams, (and he is ALWAYS welcome to come over for corned beef and cabbage on Saint Patrick’s Day), Barry Fiegold’s blatant and unapologetic (almost cheer-leader like) support for Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua (even now) just beats anything I have ever seen.

Paul Adams should thank his lucky stars that he is running against Barry Finegold because Barry is the only person in any race this year who could possibly make Paul Adams look GOOD. 

It would take me eight pages of material to detail why Barry Finegold needs to go but I don’t have the time and neither do you. Here are some highlights:

* Completely absent, no leadership at all on the $26 Million Northern Essex Community College Project when he was a state rep.

* Not only voted for the $35 Mililon Bailout Loan for Willie Lantigua but he testified for it and still defends that decision to this day. 

* Been Willie Lantigua’s biggest supporter next to David Torrisi in the legislature. 

* Votes for every single tax hike that comes up (with one or two exceptions just to make it look good)

* Supported every single home rule petition sponsored by Willie Lantigua through his hand picked city council 

*Politically benefited from a state purchased printing machine at the Lawrence School Departmental, a scandal that lead to the conviction of a superintendent and a guilty plea from Israel Reyes (the best man at his wedding) who printed campaign material for Finegold at the Lawrence School Department. 

I could go on and on but a quick google search or a perusal though our links should fill in the gaps on this one. 

At least Paul Adams has shown he can learn from his mistakes and make amends by doing the right thing from that point forward.

Barry Finegold is still in total denial that his friends are crooks, his allies are crooks, and his giving them cover at the state house makes him just as guilty as they are, if not legally, certainly morally. 

Paul Adams for State Rep. 

 Governor of NH


Although I live in Massachusetts, I have spent a lot of time in New Hampshire covering the presidential race and the race for Governor where Republican Ovide Lamontagne faces tax and spend liberal Democrat Maggie Hassan.

Just thinking about this race makes me chuckle.

Clearly no moderate or conservative could take it seriously when an avowed liberal says that any tax they create will be temporary or will never go up.

Yet Maggie Hassan has raised taxes before (with glee) and increased spending before (and bragged about it) and she really expects people in New Hampshire to believe her? Surely my friends to the north are smarter than that? Even with all the former Massachusetts residents who screwed up our state and are now trying to do it to yours, you have to see through this one. 

Ovide Lamontagne must go to bed every night laughing himself to sleep thinking about Maggie Hassan’s speeches. If you live in New Hampshire you really have one choice and that is Ovide Lamontagne. Take it from a guy who lives in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. Take a good hard look at Massachusetts. THIS COULD BE YOU! Electing someone like Maggie Hassan brings you that much closer to what Massachusetts looks like and a lot less like a “live free or die” state.

Maggie Hassan is wrong on taxes, she is wrong on education, she is bad for business, she encourages a welfare-state solution to social problems and I bet that if you gave her sodium-pentathol, she would have to admit her goal is to make New Hampshire more like Massachusetts in every way. 

Ovide Lamontagne DOES get it. He looks at Massachusetts and he sees more people in the wagon than there are pulling the wagon. He sees those pulling the wagon running out of steam. He gets that New Hampshire is teetering on the brink of becoming a liberal, permanently blue state like Massachusetts and he is tryig to stop it. If he fails, New Hampshire fails and you might as well change your motto from “live free or die” to “live for the state and die”.