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ROE-Act-Supporting Republican James Kelcourse To Run For Mayor of Amesbury

June 17, 2021

State Representative James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury) was the lone Republican in the Massachusetts Legislature who voted for the ROE Act abortion expansion bill, which stripped babies born alive during an attempted abortion of the right to medical care. Now he wants to be mayor of Amesbury.

The liberal Republican made the announcement on Twitter on Wednesday, June 16.

“Just took out my nomination papers to be the next Mayor of Amesbury,” Kelcourse wrote. “I am so excited and I can’t wait to get started! I will be out collecting signatures starting today to get on the November 2, 2021 ballot. Thank you for the privilege of serving you.”

If Kelcourse wins, he will likely resign from the state legislature. That would trigger a special election to fill the seat in the First Essex District, which consists of Amesbury, Newburyport, and Salisbury. (Amesbury and Salisbury border New Hampshire, near the coast.)

Mayor of Amesbury ordinarily comes with a salary of $110,000 a year, though the current mayor, Kassandra Gove, has voluntarily taken a 15 percent pay cut (to $93,500) this current fiscal year and is proposing to do so in the coming fiscal year that begins July 1, 2021, as well.

That reduced amount is still 32.6 percent more than the salary Kelcourse is on track to make during calendar year 2021 as a Massachusetts state representative, which is $70,537. The higher amount of the mayor’s salary ($110,000) would be a 55.9 percent jump from his current salary as a state representative.

The higher base salary also has implications for Kelcourse’s state pension if he vests. Kelcourse was first elected state representative in November 2014, taking office in January 2015. A state pension is based on the average of the highest three years’ base salaries in a state, local, or county government job. To vest requires 10  years of service.

The Amesbury mayoral election in November 2021 is a free shot for Kelcourse, who isn’t up for re-election to the state House of Representatives until November 2022.

As of 2017, Kelcourse had the lowest American Conservative Union lifetime rating among Republicans in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Gove ran as an independent when she was first elected mayor in November 2019, declining to accept an endorsement from the Amesbury City Democratic Committee.

Gove had $2,365.95 cash on hand in her campaign account as of May 31, 2021, according to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Kelcourse had $30,397.53 cash on hand in his state representative campaign account as of May 31, 2021, according to the state campaign finance agency.

If Kelcourse leaves the House, his seat could be hard to keep for Republicans. His immediate predecessor was a Democrat, and the districts tilts Democratic in federal elections. Kelcourse won his first election in 2014 by 10 votes.

The First Essex District in the November 2020 presidential election went for Joe Biden by roughly the same margin as the state did. In the First Essex, Biden beat Trump, 65.1 percent to 31.7 percent. Statewide in Massachusetts, the margin for Biden over Trump was 65.6 percent to 32.1 percent.

In the First Essex, Trump was competitive in the town of Salisbury, losing 50.8 percent to 46.4 percent. But Trump lost handily in the larger cities of Newburyport (71.5 percent to 25.2 percent) and Amesbury (64.9 percent to 31.8 percent).

 

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