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When politics and friendship collide in Lowell

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

“The mayor spoke to Representative Nangle, but he did not ask for an endorsement, he asked for him to sit down with Dan Koh,’’ Laura Oggeri said.

By Globe Staff 

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who has already put his fund-raising muscle behind his former chief of staff Dan Koh’s congressional campaign, weighed in with a former legislative colleague and close friend who was preparing to endorse another Third District candidate.

The call came to state Representative David Nangle, a veteran Lowell Democrat, just before he planned to show up last Friday at one of the city’s iconic stomping grounds — the Owl Diner — in support of candidate Lori Trahan.

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One person with the knowledge of the conversation said Walsh needled Nangle about his getting behind Trahan — whose husband is a close friend going back to the their upbringing in a hard-scrabble South Lowell neighborhood.

Walsh, through a spokeswoman, said he asked Nangle to meet with Koh.

“The mayor spoke to Representative Nangle, but he did not ask for an endorsement, he asked for him to sit down with Dan Koh,’’ Laura Oggeri said.

But when asked about it, Nangle was mum. Walsh and Nangle are also close friends, having shared the same office in the State House for years — political refugees up on the fifth floor after having picked the losing side in a legislative leadership struggle.

“Marty and I had a nice pleasant conversation,’’ Nangle said. “We discussed Thanksgiving, and that was the end of it.”

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The call came as Nangle was preparing to join two colleagues — Representative Thomas Golden and Rady Mom — to throw their support to Trahan, a Lowell native whose success depends on consolidating the Greater Lowell region.

The Owl Diner event was an important political statement for Trahan, who was trying to show that the Lowell political establishment was rallying around her candidacy. UMass president Marty Meehan — for whom Trahan served as chief of staff — attended the gathering.

A break in the ranks would have been a nice coup for Koh, but it was not to be.


Frank Phillips can be reached at frank.phillips@globe.com.