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Ex-Obama aide Eric Lesser to run for state Senate

A Massachusetts native who worked in the Obama White House said Tuesday that he will enter an already crowded Democratic primary for an open state Senate seat in Western Massachusetts.

Eric Lesser, a Longmeadow native who worked as special assistant to top Obama adviser David Axelrod, said in a press release that he wants to build high-speed rail links to Boston and help the region’s manufacturing industry recover.

He included a note that sounded a little bit like his old boss, vowing, “We can fight back against cynicism and change our politics, too.”

Lesser, a Harvard graduate who worked for US Representative Richard Neal and Senator Edward M. Kennedy while in high school, started working for Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign by toting baggage.


When Obama won, Lesser went to work as Axelrod’s assistant, then worked as director of strategic planning for the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

The seat is currently held by Gale Candaras, who is stepping down to run for Hampden County register of probate.

The Republican newspaper reported that the primary already includes Ludlow School Committee member James “Chip” Harrington; Aaron Saunders, Candaras’s former chief of staff; Springfield City Council member Timothy Allen; and Tom Lachiusa, a counselor at Hampden County Correctional Center.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at