Whipps Lee leading big in race for 2nd Franklin seat.

Author:Barnes, George

Byline: George Barnes

In a rematch from two years ago, Republican Susannah Whipps Lee of Athol appeared to be heading for a solid victory over incumbent state Rep. Denise Andrews, D-Orange

Ms. Andrews defeated Mrs. Lee in 2012 by a slim margin of 180 votes, 8,264 to 8,084 in a race where third-party candidate Richard Schoeber received 1,906 votes.

There were also three candidates in 2010 when Ms. Andrews defeated Republican Steven E. Adam of Orange and independent Genevieve C. Fraser, also of Orange.

This time the race was between only the two candidates and Ms. Lee won strongly in Athol, Orange and Templeton, while Ms. Andrews ran strongly in the small towns. In Athol Mrs. Lee received 2,210 votes to 1,076 for Ms. Andrews. In Orange, Ms. Andrews' hometown, Ms. Lee received 1,388 votes to 881 for Ms. Andrews, and in Templeton, Ms. Lee outpolled Ms. Andrews 1,429 to 1,165. There are 12 communities in the district, but Athol, Orange and Templeton are the largest.

At press time, Ms. Lee was ahead 5,931 to 4,487.

Mrs. Lee got help and mutual support from Mike Valanzola running for state Senate. He and Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis joined her in Athol Tuesday morning.

Throughout the campaign Mrs. Lee praised her campaign team and said Tuesday morning she was confident she would be elected.

"We left it all out on the field,'' she said. "There was nothing else we could have done.''

Mrs. Lee stressed economic development and the need for stronger representation for the district in the Statehouse. She said she does not think the...

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