As a number of Democrats mull whether to enter the race for the state's first vacant seat in the US Senate in 25 years, the Republican party's first candidate has stepped forward.
Canton Selectman Bob Burr announced today he will enter the race to succeed Edward M. Kennedy. Burr, a 43-year-old serving in his sixth year on the Board of Selectmen, said his local experience will help him "represent the interests of the average American citizen." In a news statement announcing his candidacy, he said his campaign will focus on his record of public service, his support for small businesses, and his "belief that American individuality and ingenuity are essential for future creativity, productivity and human compassion."
Burr joined state Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, as the only candidates to officially enter the race. Another potential Republican candidate is include State representative Scott Brown of Wrentham. Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who is an independent but has campaigned for Republican President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain, has also expressed interest. Republican Kerry Healey, the former lieutenant governor, said on Sunday night that she would not run.
The field of Democrats vying for the seat could grow exponentially with today's announcement by Joseph P. Kennedy II that he would not run for the seat held by his uncle. A primary is slated for Dec. 8 with the final election Jan. 19.
Burr, a 1989 graduate of Boston College, said the country needed a Republican senator to combat Democratic dominance and create a more vigorous national debate over pressing issues.
"By electing a Republican to the United States Senate, the people of Massachusetts can ensure that there will be debate on the issues affecting healthcare, taxes, and deficit spending," Burr said. "If the Senate were to remain at a 60 member, filibuster proof, Democratic majority, I fear that opportunity will be lost in the coming months. And that loss could put America on a trajectory that is not necessarily in concert with desires of the American people."
Massachusetts has not elected a Republican to the US Senate since Edward Brooke in 1972.
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