The irony of the situation is likely not lost on John Slattery, in fact, it's a bit like a role reversal.
Yesterday, he announced that his successor as Peabody's state representative formally endorsed him in his run for the state Senate.
Peabody native Joyce Spiliotis, who has held the 12th Essex District seat in the House since 2003, said Slattery is the only candidate in the race that has the "experience needed to fill the loss created by the retirement of Sen. Fred Berry." She said that's precisesly because of Slattery's prior four terms on Beacon Hill.
Spiliotis ascended to the House via the Peabody City Council when Slattery left his seat to run for Lieutenant Governor on the Democratic ticket in 2002. Slattery also served on the council for a term before heading to Beacon Hill.
Spiliotis said Slattery's grasp of the issues facing Peabody, Salem, Beverly, Danvers and Topsfield is "far ahead" of his fellow Democratic opponents -- Mary-Ellen Manning, Joan Lovely and Edward Carroll -- in this Senate race as evidenced by their respective performances in recent debates.
"This endorsement...is an easy one for me because he has a very strong record of support for working families, for senior citizens, for education, for the disadvantaged and for the protection of the environment. His concern for women's issues, especially equality in the workforce and the issue of equal pay for equal work, is impressive," she said.
The statement is in marked contrast to , Salem president.
“I have been reflecting on this election for many weeks. I am concerned that Joan Lovely’s two opponents would have difficulty being effective for all people in this district," Berry said.
"One candidate appears to have sold his soul to the unions," Berry said, referring to . "In these tough times, with the tough problems we face, it is important for a Senator to consider many opinions. It is important to have unions’ opinions at the table, but it should not be just union opinions being heard."
In response to Spiliotis' official endorsement -- she has publicly supported him since the beginning of his campaign -- Slattery said he was "honored."
He called Spiliotis a "compassionate and effective advocate" on Beacon Hill for Peabody and its residents. "She is a tireless worker for the people of the 12th Essex District and her advocacy on my behalf is greatly appreciated," he said.
As far as individual endorsements go, former state Rep. Michael Cahill of Beverly is also backing Slattery, while in Lovely's corner are Berry, former state Sen. John King of Danvers, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and state Rep. John Keenan. Manning was recently endorsed by conservative talk show host and columnist Howie Carr.
The rest of the district's state delegation -- Reps. Jerry Parisella of Beverly and Ted Speliotis of Danvers -- along with Beverly Mayor Bill Scanlon and Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt have not openly pledged support to any of the candidates.
The state primary is Sept. 6. The winner in the Senate race will go on to face Richard Jolitz of Beverly in November.