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Bonfanti: Not Ready to 'Jump Right Back in' With Senate Race

Michael Bonfanti, who just stepped down as Peabody's mayor for the past decade, has decided to not enter the race for the Second Essex District in the state Senate.

Former Peabody Mayor Michael Bonfanti says he won’t run for Fred Berry’s seat in the state Senate after all.

Berry, a fellow Peabody native, is retiring after this year with three decades in the Senate, representing Peabody, Salem, Beverly, Danvers and Topsfield.

Bonfanti, who just stepped down after 10 years as mayor, had said he was giving the race due consideration and placed himself among this past fall.

Bonfanti, 67, said from his home in West Peabody Friday morning that he has always given his heart, soul and total commitment to being mayor, which he believes are equally essential to being a good senator, but he’s not ready to do that again so soon after leaving office.

“I’m just not ready to give my heart, my soul and total commitment,” he said, noting that part of the reason he chose not to run for mayor again was because he needed a “breather.”

Even so, a number of people did ask him about running in the days following and strongly encouraged him on that front, Bonfanti said. He assembled a team to look at his possible candidacy, he said, and believes he would have garnered strong support at the polls.

Ultimately, however, after talking at length with family, friends and supporters, Bonfanti said, the key issue for him centered on whether he wanted to “jump right back in.”

Most days while in office, Bonfanti would arrive at City Hall around 6 a.m. and leave well after the building closed, and that didn’t account for the many late evenings spent with the City Council and School Committee over the years.

“At this point in time, I think it’s the right choice,” Bonfanti said, adding that he still plans to serve his hometown in other ways.

As for the – Governor’s Councilor Mary-Ellen Manning, John Slattery and Salem Joan Lovely – Bonfanti said they were all “capable” and “decent” people, but didn’t want to speculate on anyone’s chances so early in the race.

He said he has not supported a candidate yet, having just decided himself that he wouldn’t run.

“We’re fortunate that we have decent people who want to run for office,” Bonfanti said.

In addition to Bonfanti, state Reps. , Joyce Spiliotis and John Keenan have all said they won't run and Gary Barrett (Congressman John Tierney's former district director) recently said he won't either.

On the Republican side, Beverly city councilor Paul Guanci and Richard Jolitz (who lost to Berry in 2010) have both indicated they are considering running, but otherwise no candidate has emerged yet.

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