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Stanton will run for Selectman

April 10, 2014

Walpole ZBA member Jim Stanton, who maintains significant popularity and name recognition among Walpole voters due to his two runs for state representative in 2010 and 2012, took out nomination papers today to run for the two-year Selectman seat being vacated by Selectman Mike Berry in the June town election.

The deadline to pull papers is next Thursday, Apr. 17 (previous articles on 180 have incorrectly reported that the deadline was Apr. 10).

He has until April 22 to collect signatures.

Stanton enters the race as a strong favorite to win the election over Finance Committee member Alice Susan Lawson, who took out papers for the seat earlier this week. Former Selectman Bill Hamilton also took out papers, but has indicated he will bow out in favor of Stanton.

Stanton will start his campaign against Lawson with significant name recognition and a campaign network already in place. During his campaigns against Democratic State Rep. John Rogers, Stanton ran and won by significant margins in half of Walpole’s eight precincts. The other four precincts are not in the same legislative district.

Stanton also has more than $3,000 in left over funds from those two campaigns, according to his year-end 2013 report filed with the OCPF. Under state law, Stanton could transfer all or part of that war chest for use in a municipal campaign if he wanted to.

As a member of the ZBA, Stanton’s biggest potential liability is the ongoing Moose Hill 40B scandal affecting his board. However, Stanton himself has never been directly criticized for any mistakes, and had no direct role in the scheduling error. ZBA Chairwoman Susanne Murphy and Town Administrator Michael Boynton have both received the most ire from that scandal.

Lawson herself has liabilities, as a member of a Finance Committee that is for the most part a “rubber stamp” for bureaucrats at Town Hall. Lawson was an outspoken advocate of the 2012 override, and supported the school department’s recent request to transfer a $300,000 OPEB contribution to subsidize the school department’s projected FY 2015 shortfall. Also, Lawson was a strident advocate at the 2012 Special Town Meeting in favor of setting a precedent that the town charter could be ignored for the sake of political expediency. She attempted to defend that outrageous opinion in a series of written diatribes in The Walpole Times at the time.

Both Lawson and Stanton hail from Precinct 2 in East Walpole, and both are attorneys.

During Stanton’s 2012 legislative campaign, Lawson publicly endorsed Rogers.

Since Lawson is not widely known in the community, she will be relying mostly on riding the coattails of Selectman Mark Gallivan, who is running for re-election this year to a full three-year term against likely opponent Joseph Monahan. Since Stanton’s support base includes many Gallivan supporters, her task will be significantly harder.

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