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Mass. congressional candidate swims in Merrimack River as recount looms

That’s one way to make a splash.

Rick Green, a Republican running in the Democratic-leaning Third Congressional District, plunges into the Merrimack River and appears to swim across it in his first campaign spot of the general election.

“Our roads and bridges are such a mess,” Green says, sitting in traffic on Lowell’s Rourke Bridge in a car driven by his brother, Mike Green. “I could run across faster than this.”

“Run?” Mike says, “You could swim across faster than this!”

The candidate unbuckles his seatbelt and says, “That’s a great idea.”

The ad shows him diving, fully clothed, into the calm waters of the river, and then crawl stroking in its midst.


On the side of the river, Green, a wealthy auto parts company executive who will face the winner of a Democratic primary recount, makes his pitch to voters.

“Our infrastructure shouldn’t be slowing us down. I’ll fix those roads and bridge,” he says, backed by peppy music.

A Green spokesman, Dante Vitagliano, said the ad is backed by a six-figure digital and cable television buy and could be expanded.

Facebook’s political advertising disclosure website showed the 30-second spot has gotten up to 50,000 impressions since it began running online on Tuesday.

And Vitagliano also confirmed that, yes, it is actually Green in the river.

The ad notably does not mention Green is a Republican and focuses on transportation infrastructure, a firmly bipartisan or nonpartisan issue.

The fact that the Republican candidate, who did not face a primary challenger, is beginning a full-fledged general election campaign is also notable because Democrats are still waiting to see who officially won the party’s primary in the district, which is anchored in Lowell and Lawrence, and runs from Haverhill to Winchendon south to Marlborough and Hudson.

On Monday, Secretary of State William F. Galvin formally ordered a recount and also said he was taking control of the elections departments in Lowell and Lawrence, the Third Congressional District’s two largest cities. He cited staffing issues in Lawrence and said there had been administrative errors in how Lowell dealt with the Sept. 4. election.


The certified tally released Monday showed Lori Trahan, a one-time congressional chief of staff, topping the crowded field with 18,527 votes, with former Boston mayoral chief of staff Dan Koh trailing with 18,405.

In the recount, each ballot cast in the congressional race will be counted by hand. Cities and towns will begin doing so on Thursday. First up is Methuen at 8 a.m. Lawrence, for its part, is set to start counting Saturday at 9 a.m. (See the full schedule here.) The recounts are open to public observation and candidates can have representatives present as each ballot is counted, Galvin’s office said.

In each municipality, the process will unfold like this: Tellers hired by local election officials will count each congressional ballot by hand. Any protested ballot will be judged by the local boards of registrars, who will decide for whom it is counted. Rulings made by the board of registrars are binding and any appeal of their decisions will end up state court.

All cities and towns must complete the process by Sept. 17, this upcoming Monday.

Joshua Miller can be reached at