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Briefings: Lesser Running Does Not Mean Fewer Candidates…

UPDATED 10:49AM: For clarity, to reflect details from Lesser’s statement and addition of a photo and for a CORRECTION: Thomas Lachiusa was present in Chicopee, but did not address the caucus.

Eric Lesser, center (via Twitter/@EricLesser)

After making the rounds of caucuses and the Valley politi-sphere, Eric Lesser, a former White House aide, declared his candidacy for the 1st Hampden & Hampshire Senate seat.  With his entrance, Lesser is the fifth candidate to formally enter the Democratic nominating contest to succeed retiring State Senator Gale Candaras.

Within Springfield’s historic art-deco ex-Post Office turned “Little State House,” Lesser pulled papers this morning at the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office setting Twitter aflame (by Western Mass standards) with RT’s and words of support.

Lesser had been effectively, but informally, campaigning while he had began considering the race since Rep. Angelo Puppolo stepped back from a run most had broadly assumed he would make.  Lesser, who is only a semester away from graduation at Harvard Law School, was making the political rounds in and around his native Longmeadow for a few weeks before as well.

In his statement announcing his run, Lesser had the support Rep Brian Ashe, whose district overlaps with the senate district in 3/4 of East Longmeadow as well as Hampden and Longmeadow.  “I’m honored to support my friend Eric Lesser,” Ashe said, adding, “Our region would be lucky to have him as a state senator.”

In the past two weeks three Democrats have joined the race including Springfield Ward 7 City Councilor Tim Allen, Longmeadow therapist Thomas Lachiusa and Ludlow Selectman Aaron Saunders.  Ludlow School Committee member James “Chip” Harrington, a fourth candidate, had entered the Democratic primary in January when Puppolo was still in contention.  All, but Lachiusa appeared together and made their pitch most recently at the Chicopee Democratic caucus this past Saturday. Lachiusa was present, but did not speak to the caucus.

Debra Ann Boronski is the only declared candidate on the Republican side so far.

Eric Lesser, wife Alison Silber & daughter Rose, outside Secretary Bill Galvin’s Western Mass office (WMassP&I)

Lesser joined President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign shortly after graduation from Harvard as an undergrad.  He worked his way up to a logistics position on the campaign often short-handed as “handling the baggage,” but it caught the attention of top campaign strategist David Axelrod.  Axelrod hired Lesser as his aide, a position he held until Axelrod left the White House in 2011.  Lesser served as Director of Strategic Planning for the Council of Economic Advisers until about the time he started law school in Cambridge.

Anecdotally, Lesser has long been active in politics both at Harvard and before that in Longmeadow.  Last year, in an article about Michael Clark, the town’s Democratic committee chair Candy Glazer, favorably compared Clark and Lesser in light of their similar youthful activism.

Lesser, 28, and his wife Alison Silber, have a daughter Rose, aged 7 months.

The senate district includes about a third of Chicopee and Springfield each, Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Granby, Hampden, Longmeadow, Ludlow and Wilbraham.