State Senator Stephen Brewer, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, has now drawn two Republican opponents for his seat (the Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire, and Middlesex district).
The first opponent declared in October, James Ehrhard of Sturbridge. Ehrhard has been claiming that Sen. Brewer’s record is much more liberal [edited -cb] than his constituents might believe, and that the support of the gas tax was the final straw.
The newer opponent is Michael Valanzola of Wales. He and Ehrhard are both on the Tantasqua School Committee. The existence of a second candidate is somewhat interesting; Brewer has only had Republican opponents twice during his Senate career (as well as a Libertarian candidate on a separate occasion) and never before has there had to be a primary between Republicans to determine who would take him on. Additionally, perusing the Telegram comments section, there is a claim that Valanzola is running because the Republican establishment wants a candidate in the race “that they can control.” Obviously comments on the Telegram website are to be taken with a large amount of salt, but it does raise the interesting prospect of a sort of Establishment vs. Tea Party divide in the primary. It was also correctly pointed out that Mr. Valanzola was resoundingly defeated when he ran for the Republican state committee in 2012; and also that he contributed to Sen. Brewer’s campaign in 2012. Both candidates have been appearing with local Republican luminaries.
In any case, Sen. Brewer is a formidable opponent, and I have no doubt that he’d defeat either opponent. It’s not the most high-profile campaign, but I thought my fellow central Mass. posters might find it interesting.