The Lowell Sun newspaper may have finally found something that state Rep. Jim Micelli and Tewksbury Selectman Doug Sears agree on.
The rivals in the race for the seat from the 19th Middlesex District both feel that the Sun's decision not to endorse a candidate in the race was unwarranted.
In announcing their endorsements in the State Legislative races earlier this week, the Sun took the unusual step of refusing to endorse either Miceli, the 18-term incumbent from Wilmington, or his Republican challenger Sears. The paper's editorial board explained their decision like this:
"It's rare that we take this stance but The Sun chooses not to endorse either candidate. This race has been replete with gutter personal politics and bereft of any ideas to help the residents in Tewksbury and Wilmington. We expected more from both Miceli, who's been on Beacon Hill since 1977, and Sears, the chairman of the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen."
Not surprisingly, each candidate blames the other for the negative tone of the campaign.
"I thought he (Sears) deserved it. I didn't and I got lumped in with him," said Miceli. "I'll challenge you to look at any ad, any mailing I put out there or anything I said that wasn't public that I put out there that falls in that category and I'll say right now you'll never find anything. I've never done anything like that."
Miceli said it has been Sears who has been running attack ads in print media and op-ed pieces in print and online.
Sears feels there has been nothing wrong with his media campaign and says he has been simply trying to set the record straight due to what he claims is misinformation spread by Miceli on a variety of topics, including Tewksbury's $100 million sewer project.
"I think he (Miceli) thinks he can just say whatever he wants and people will just believe it," said Sears, who added he felt he had to stand up for himself when Miceli spoke over him at a recent debate at Tewksbury High.
"The moderator wouldn't stop (Miceli) from talking over me so that's why I told (Miceli) to shut up," he said. "That was a mistake on the moderator's part."