Donoghue seeking re-election, Lowell senator wont run for congress

Sen. Eileen Donoghue of Lowell has decided not to run for Congress in 2018. [Photo: Sam Doran/File/SHNS]

BOSTON (SHNS) – Sen. Eileen Donoghue intends to seek re-election in 2018, passing on an opportunity to run for the Congressional seat that narrowly eluded her a decade ago, she told the News Service Tuesday afternoon.

Donoghue, serving in her seventh year as a state senator from Lowell, said she gave “a lot of thought” to the prospect of another campaign for the Third District seat, but opted against entering the already crowded field.

“While I continue to think the issues are critically important, and in some respects more important than they were ten years ago, I do honestly believe that I can be of best service staying where I am in the Senate for my district,” Donoghue said.

Donoghue finished a close second to U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas in the 2007 special election Democratic primary to succeed Marty Meehan, who resigned from the House of Representatives to become chancellor of UMass Lowell.

Tsongas announced this summer that she would not seek another term in 2018, creating a rare vacancy in the delegation to Congress.

In the Senate, Donoghue hopes to continue working to attract businesses and jobs to her district north of Boston and to find solutions to growing health care costs for families, she said.

While some Democrats are running to fight the agendas being pushed by President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans, Donoghue said, “I think you’re going to start seeing state governments taking positions that maybe in the past were seen as the territory of the federal government.”

The race for the Democratic nomination in the Third District has already attracted four candidates, with at least three others, including another state senator, Barbara L’Italien, formally exploring bids and expected to eventually get into the race.

Donoghue said she doesn’t expect to endorse in the primary: “I will have my own race to run and I’ll focus on that. But obviously I’ll support whoever is the Democrat nominee.”

The senator also said she was “a little bit surprised” that not a single candidate so far hails from Lowell, the largest city in the district.

“Lowell is obviously the biggest city in the Third District and embodies a lot of the issues facing the nation, so I am, but who knows if we’ve seen the whole field yet,” she said.