Niagara Gazette

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September 16, 2008

TUESDAY: Kerry faces first Dem. foe since 1984 on Tuesday (10:58 a.m.)

BOSTON (AP) — Four years after losing his party’s bid to unseat President Bush, John Kerry is asking Democratic voters to back him for another term in the Senate.

Kerry, facing his first Democratic challenger since he became a U.S. senator in 1984, said he’s not taking anything for granted ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

“I’m running around,” Kerry said Sunday in a telephone interview between campaign stops. “I do what I’ve always done my entire time in the Senate. I work hard. You go around and you respect the voters and respect the process.”

Newcomer Ed O’Reilly, an attorney who lags in both name recognition and fundraising, says voters tell him that Kerry doesn’t connect with them.

“I think people are finally waking up that there’s a race, that this is their first chance in 24 years to replace John Kerry with another Democrat,” O’Reilly said.

Kerry has much deeper pockets. According to campaign finance reports, Kerry had $7.5 million left in his campaign account at the end of August compared to $177,285 for O’Reilly, who lent his campaign $583,422.

The winner will face Republican Jeff Beatty, a former CIA official and member of the Army’s Delta Force, in the November general election.

In other Massachusetts races, U.S. Rep. John Olver, a Democrat, is battling his own primary challenged by attorney Robert Feuer.

The winner would face Republican Nathan Bech, a West Springfield businessman, in November.

In the state Legislature, two Democrats are competing to replace Sen. James Marzilli, who faces charges that he sexually harassed four women on one day in Lowell. Marzilli is not seeking re-election.

Arlington Selectman John Hurd and retired firefighter Kenneth Donnelly are running for the district that includes Arlington, Billerica, Burlington and parts of Lexington and Woburn.

In Boston, state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson is facing a rematch from fellow Democrat Sonia Chang-Diaz.

Wilkerson has suffered from a series of self-inflicted blunders. Most recently she agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and forgo about $30,000 in debts she said her political committee owed her after acknowledging she failed to keep proper campaign records from 2000 to 2004.

No Republicans are running for either state Senate seat.

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