The winner of a contested Republican primary race in the 1st Middlesex District between Andrew Shepherd of Townsend and Lynne Archambault of Pepperell is yet to be determined.
While Shepherd and Archambault braved the rain Tuesday in a bid to secure the Republican nomination, too few votes had been tabulated to name a victor prior to the paper’s print deadline. The winner will face Democrat Margaret Scarsdale in the general election on Nov. 8.
Both Shepherd — a business owner, farmer and former firefighter — and Archambault — also a business owner as well as a parent, teacher and homeowner — remained optimistic about their respective campaigns.
“Our campaign has been about being accessible, getting ourselves out there and having lived some of those life experiences that people struggle with,” Shepherd said outside of the Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School. “Coming from a firefighting and business background, but also having some experience on Beacon Hill, I empathize with those that have had to make some of those difficult decisions.”
“I believe I’m the best candidate (to represent the 1st Middlesex District) because I have the requisite life experience,” Archambault said outside of the Nissitissit Middle School in Pepperell. “I haven’t over-exaggerated who I am or what I’ve done, I don’t make up lies about my opponent — I’m honest and I have integrity and I think voters have responded to that.”
“People are sick of typical ‘politicians.’ I think voters want someone who’s honest, and that’s me,” Archambault said.
Groton voter Agnes McKinney said she cast her ballot for Shepherd because of his “moderate” temperament and his ability to listen to and work with others, regardless of their political affiliation.
“(Shepherd) has a much more of a moderate mentality, but the fact that he’s taken the time to try and understand others’ point of view, I think that’s what we need,” McKinney said outside of the GDRMS. “We need someone that’s going to think about the entire community, Democrat or Republican — someone that’s going to make thoughtful decisions and knows how to listen, how to get along with and work with other people.”
“If you get someone that’s volatile, someone that’s destructive or just accusatory, that’s going to be detrimental to all parties. The whole country has seen that nastiness and we want something different,” she said.
Melissa Johnson of Dunstable called Shepherd “brilliant” and “honest,” while Eddie Hastings, also of Dunstable, said he was more “localized” and “focused on the local issues” when compared to Archambault.
Outside the Dunstable Free Public Library, resident Bill Burg said Shepherd was “just a good man for the job.”
“He and his family have always done a lot of work for the community, charity-wise and just helping out,” Burg said. “I know Andrew is just an honest man who’s going to do his best to represent us, our district and our interests.”
Johnson, Hastings and Burg each said Shepherd’s “down to Earth” personality played a part in their vote.
“Not to ding Lynne (Archambault), but she’s very polished — Andrew, he’s is a just a regular guy, a firefighter, a farmer, just very grounded and down to Earth,” Burg said.
Jenn Archambault, Lynne Archambault’s sister-in-law, said Lynne Archambault was a “wonderful candidate” and that her “passion” and “commitment to the race” earned her vote.
“(Lynne Archambault) feels that change is needed, not just for us but for our kids,” Jenn Archambault said outside of the GDRMS. “She feels she can make a difference at the next level and, I think, the perspective she can bring is refreshing — to have someone with that life experience, someone that’s more in touch with people, that can go a long way.”
Pepperell’s Jean Connolly said Archambault’s “life experience,” verses that of the younger Shepherd, was a major factor in her vote.
“(Archambault) is a successful business owner, she’s a parent, a school teacher, she’s owned a house,” Connolly said outside the NMS. “That experience means something.”
Connolly also said Archambault’s policy in regard to “(Critical Race Theory)” swayed her vote. Another voter, who did not wish to be named, agreed with the sentiment.