BOSTON — State Sen. Karen Spilka, hoping to succeed U.S. Rep. Edward Markey in Congress, has hired a campaign manager fresh off tough re-election fights in New Jersey and Rhode Island.
Eric Hyers, who will take the helm Monday, most recently managed New Jersey state Sen. Nia Gill’s campaign.
Gill faced a stiff challenge from a Seton Hall law professor, but emerged victorious on Tuesday.
Last year, Hyers managed U.S. Rep. David Cicilline’s (D-RI) re-election campaign.
Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence, said the city was in “excellent” fiscal condition during his first bid for Congress in 2010.
Cicilline won that race. But when new Providence mayor Angel Taveras declared a “Category 5 hurricane” on the city’s books after the election, Cicilline’s approval ratings cratered. And he was considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country headed into the 2012 campaign season.
Cicilline went on to win solid victories in the Democratic primary and general election, though, placing a heavy emphasis on some of the key constituencies targeted by President Obama: women, Latinos and students.
Hyers, who grew up in North Adams, Mass., said he looks forward to running Spilka’s campaign. “She would make a great member of Congress,” he said. “She’s a strong, progressive Democrat who gets results.”
Hyers cited Spilka’s launch of the Tech Hub Caucus, a group of legislators focused on the local technology industry. He also spoke of her work to reform a state system intended to divert children from the juvenile justice system — over what he called the objections of the “old boy network” at the state’s scandal-plagued probation department.
Spilka, of Ashland, is one of several possible candidates to succeed Markey, a Democrat, should he defeat Republican Gabriel Gomez in the U.S. Senate special election June 25.
Others include Middlesex County Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, state Senators William Brownsberger of Belmont and Katherine Clark of Melrose, and state Representatives Carl Sciortino of Melrose and Sean Garballey of Arlington.