SALEM — The political plates are shifting on the North Shore with an announcement Wednesday by Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett that he will not seek another term as district attorney.
Shortly after that development, state Rep. Paul Tucker, D-Salem, announced that he will not be seeking re-election to the seat he’s held since 2015 — and will instead seek to replace Blodgett as district attorney.
Blodgett, 67, in a statement released by his office Wednesday morning, said the decision comes “after considerable thought and discussion” with his family.
Blodgett, of Peabody, was first elected in 2002, replacing Kevin Burke, who served six terms in the office.
“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as the Essex District Attorney for the past 20 years,” Blodgett said in his statement. “I will always be indebted to the people of Essex County for their confidence in me. “
Blodgett went on to praise the staff of attorneys and other personnel “who work hard every day to seek justice for victims of crime. Their diligence, determination, ethics, and compassion have served the people of this county well and have made my job deeply rewarding.”
Blodgett said he will complete his term, which is his fifth.
Tucker was first to publicly announce his intent to seek Blodgett’s job.
Tucker, 63, of Salem, who represents the 7th Essex district, is Salem’s former police chief.
He is also a licensed attorney, having earned a law degree from the Massachusetts School of Law and passing the bar in 2001, while still running the Salem police department’s detectives unit — where he worked closely with both Blodgett and his predecessor, Burke.
“I’ve had a very close working relationship and a very long personal relationship with Jon and his office,” Tucker said Wednesday. “He’s a man of outstanding integrity and he’s done a phenomenal job, particularly in juvenile issues and in the area of prevention,” Tucker said.
Tucker said his combination of law enforcement experience, his work as an attorney and instructor at several area colleges, including Salem State University, and his legislative experience qualify him for the job. “It’s really steering the ship,” he said.
He acknowledged there is likely to be other interest in the DA’s job.
Meanwhile, the announcement by Tucker will also mean an opening for someone to run for his House seat. Later Wednesday, Tucker’s former aide and current Salem School Committee vice chair Manny Cruz announced plans to run for Tucker’s seat.
Cruz, 29, a Salem native just sworn in as the first Afro-Latino School Committee vice chair in the city’s history, said he believes his combination of experience as a legislative aide, his current work as advocacy director for Latinos for Education and on issues of equity and diversity, and his knowledge of the city make him an ideal person to replace Tucker.
“I know that building,” Cruz said Wednesday afternoon.
“I believe I would be able to come in immediately prepared to go to work for Salem and to be an advocate for more equitable policies.”
He said he would also remain on the School Committee if elected.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.