GOP Sen. Hedlund elected Weymouth mayor, aide to run for vacated seat

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WEYMOUTH — With Republican state Sen. Robert L. Hedlund’s mayoral victory in the books, aide Patrick O’Connor confirmed he will run for his boss’s Plymouth and Norfolk District seat.

“I am running,” O’Connor said by phone, moments after the Massachusetts Republican Party announced via the organization’s Twitter account that Hedlund had won.

O’Connor, the president of the Weymouth town council, is Hedlund’s legislative director.  O’Connor said he will be making a formal announcement later tonight after he introduces Hedlund as Weymouth’s next mayor at his boss’s campaign victory party.

One of six Republicans in the 40-member Senate, Hedlund will leave Beacon Hill as the longest-serving member of his party in the chamber, having first won election from the South Shore district in 1990, then losing his seat in 1992 and winning it back in 1994.

Hedlund’s victory over incumbent Mayor Susan Kay fulfills a dream the 54-year-old Republican has held since 1999, when residents voted to adopt a city form of government while simultaneously remaining a town, at least in name. Hedlund lost his initial bid to become mayor that year and this was his first repeat attempt at winning the job.

Kay was first elected to the office in 2007. She was reelected in 2011 after securing nearly 75 percent of the vote. In the leadup to Tuesday’s vote, she was outmatched by Hedlund, who buried her in September’s preliminary election. The poll eliminated four other candidates.

Hedlund more than doubled Kay’s performance in the preliminary, netting 5,209 votes compared with her 2,201.

O’Connor, a Republican, has worked for Hedlund since June 2007, according to his profile on the LinkedIn website. He has served on the council since January 2006.

Hingham Selectman Paul Gannon, a Democrat, announced in August that he will run for Hedlund’s seat.

Contact Evan Lips at [email protected] or on Twitter at @evanmlips.