By Katie Lannan, firstname.lastname@example.org Lowell Sun September 9, 2012
Before one ballot was cast in the primary for the 19th Middlesex state representative seat, the general election race
was on between an 18-term incumbent and the vice chairman of the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen.
Rep. Jim Miceli, a Wilmington Democrat who has served in the House of Representatives since 1977, faced no
opponents from within his own party in Thursday’s primary election. Also unopposed was his Republican
challenger, Selectman Doug Sears.
Last week, Sears released a statement blasting Miceli’s voting record on employers’ issues as reflected in the
business trade group Associated Industries of Massachusetts’ annual legislative scorecard.
“I’m going to point out anything at this point,” Sears said on Wednesday. “If you’re running against a 36-year
incumbent, you don’t wait to change people’s minds until the week before the general election.”
The AIM scorecard ranks legislators based on nine votes on issues the group says are crucial to employers,
including health-care cost containment and municipal health reform. These are measures Miceli opposed that Sears
said he would have backed.
With a 50 percent rating, Miceli scored the lowest among legislators, thanks to his health-care votes and a vote for
the unionization of in-home child-care providers.
Miceli said Wednesday that he stands by these votes, and that it seemed early in the election cycle for Sears to call
him out directly.
“Folks aren’t even thinking of these issues right now,” Miceli said.
Miceli, elected from a district composed of sections of Wilmington and Tewksbury, said he runs an aggressive
campaign whenever he is challenged, despite being one of the state’s longest-serving representatives.
“I campaign every day,” he said. “I talk to people every single day. I’m the most visible candidate you’re ever
going to meet.”
Miceli said the focus of his campaign is talking to constituents and helping them with their problems.
Sears, meanwhile, said many of the services Miceli provides, including assistance with permits, are concerns
residents should bring instead to municipal officials, such as selectmen.
“They really shouldn’t be calling Beacon Hill,” he said “Beacon Hill has more important things to worry about.”
This campaign is the first time Sears, a former Tewksbury School Committee member who has also served on the
board of the Tewksbury State Hospital, has run for state office. He has worked in Massachusetts government
before, as deputy director of the Division of Dispute Resolution at the Department of Industrial Accidents, until he
was laid off in December.
Sears has used his campaign website to call for an end to one-party rule in the Legislature, with posts specifically
critiquing Miceli since late July.
The candidates have been visible throughout the district for weeks. Last month, Miceli and Sears both voiced
support for the construction of a new Wilmington High School. Sears attended a Department of Environmental
Protection appeals conference on the project. Miceli sent a representative from his office to the same meeting and
spoke with DEP officials.
“Tewksbury is very politically oriented,” Sears said. “It’s a sport out here in some ways.”
Sears said his campaign has also been actively fundraising, and pointed out that he has received more donations
Reports filed with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance show that, as of Aug. 19, Sears’ campaign
has raised $4,275 to Miceli’s $3,850.
Campaign-finance data also shows that Sears has loaned $2,500 of his own money to his campaign. Miceli is
liable for $53,188 in personal campaign loans, dating back as far as 2004.
“I never worry about the cost of an election because I think I’ve made a big investment as far as working with the
public is concerned,” Miceli said.
Follow Katie Lannan at twitter.com/katielannan.