Field growing for 6th District race

Ethan Forman | The Salem News | April 11, 2018

SALEM โ€” Turns out, Congressman Seth Moulton is not the only one planning to run to represent the North Shore in Congress in 2018.

Five candidates have signaled their intention to challenge the two-term congressman in the 6th District: two Republicans, a Libertarian and two non-party independents, according to information provided by the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office.

At least three of the potential challengers are veterans, like Moulton.

Moulton, who grew up in Marblehead, served four tours in Iraq as a Marine Corps infantry officer and has been crossing the country recruiting Democrats who are service-oriented veterans to run in swing states.

Party candidates who have pulled papers have until May 8 to file their papers with cities and towns to have them certified, and until June 5 to file them with the Secretary of the Commonwealth to get their names on the Sept. 4 state primary ballot.

Moulton declined comment through a campaign spokesman Wednesday.

At a BNI Enterprise business networking event at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem Tuesday morning, Moulton mentioned three people were running against him in the fall.

“My job is to represent all of you,” he said, “and it is to represent all of you whether you voted for me or not, whether you voted for one of my opponents, whether you volunteered for one of my opponents or whether you felt so checked out in the political system you didn’t want to vote at all. I take that responsibility seriously.”

A potential Republican primary race is shaping up between Saugus resident Carlos Hernandez, a former Salem resident, Navy veteran and state coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots; and businessman and former Green Beret Joseph Schneider of Beverly.

Newburyport native Samson Racioppi of Salisbury has pulled papers as a Libertarian in the district, which stretches from Amesbury to Lynn and as far west as Billerica.

Racioppi’s website says he is an Army veteran who served as a cavalry scout from 2005 to 2008. His site talks about his being disillusioned by the Republican and Democratic parties.

Two non-party candidates have also pulled papers.

One is John P. Devine of Woburn, who ran and lost in the 2016 Democratic primary for state representative for the 13th Middlesex District, which encompasses parts of Framingham, Marlborough, Sudbury and Wayland.

Devine came in fourth in a field of five in the 6th District Democratic primary in 2014, the year Moulton upset long-time Salem Congressman John Tierney. Contact information for Devine was not available on Wednesday.

Also pulling papers was Mary Jean Charbonneau of Rockport. Contact information for Charbonneau was not readily available.

No holding back

“I don’t hold back, Seth’s mine,” said Hernandez, 57, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who came to America as a child in 1969. He became a naturalized citizen in 1990, according to his campaign website.

The 1979 graduate of Salem High served in the Navy from 1979 to 1983.

While he had re-enlisted for four more years, an injury connected to his service led to an honorable discharge. The married father of two daughters is a self-employed IT consultant.

“I’m going in there to do what elected officials are supposed to do, which is fight for the district,” Hernandez said in a phone interview.

Hernandez’s campaign has filed with the Federal Election Commission, which shows between May and December 2017, he raised $2,877, and had $121 on hand at the end of the year.

Last year, Moulton’s campaign received $1.5 million in total receipts, and ended the year with $1.36 million on hand, according to the FEC records.

Hernandez has already raised an issue about Schneider, calling him a “carpetbagger,” in an interview and on his campaign website.

Hernandez posted on his campaign website what appears to be a voter registration form showing Schneider registered as a Democrat in Cambridge in 2009. Hernandez website calls Schneider a “fake Republican.”

Schneider said he recently moved to Beverly. When he registered for his driver’s license in Cambridge several years ago, he meant to register as an independent but wound up being registered as a Democrat. He called his former registration an administrative error.

For most of his life, he said, he was either registered as a Republican or an independent. His values, he said were shaped by conservative Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee for president in 1964.

“This country has been really good to me, and I feel I should give back,” said Schneider, 67, who immigrated from communist Romania at 12. After becoming a citizen, he was accepted into the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, and served as a Ranger in the U.S. Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets, his website says.

The GI Bill allowed him to earn a master’s degree from the University of Southern California, and then go to Harvard Business School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, according to his campaign website.

Schneider says he built a management consulting company in aerospace, security and defense that was later acquired by the EDS division of General Motors. His oldest son graduated from West Point and served in Iraq, and another son is an Air Force veteran.

Second Essex State Committeewoman Ann Richard of Beverly said she plans to work for Schneider because of his military background, assertive nature, and desire not to further divide the country.

Third Essex Republican Committeewoman Amy Carnevale of Marblehead said Schneider has an impressive background and the ability get his message out and make the race competitive.