Coller expresses interest in state Rep. Donald Wong’s Ninth Essex House District seat
By Mark E. Vogler
“Will there be a new “New Sheriff” in town! Coller turns it up one more notch!”
That’s how former Saugus Selectman candidate Michael A. Coller began a brief press release he circulated this week, putting his name out as a possible Republican challenger to four-term incumbent state Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus) in this fall’s race for the Massachusetts House’s Ninth Essex District seat. Attached to the press release was a photo of Coller at the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office after apparently making a recent trip to the secretary’s Elections Division in Boston.
Coller, an unsuccessful candidate for Selectman last fall, suggested he is giving serious consideration to a run for the state House seat: “He will be meeting shortly with advisors to discuss the potential commitment, resources and possible strategies for a valiant campaign! Not a formal announcement but his intent is clear!”
Coller is a 1985 Saugus High School graduate and received a Bachelor of Science in Management degree from Bridgewater State College in 1990. Coller promoted himself as being “born, raised, educated in Saugus, Security Professional, Best Selling Author and Freelance Journalist” when he announced his candidacy for selectman last June. He finished a distant eighth among the nine candidates running for the five selectmen seats, which were won by the incumbents.
“Coller brings 23 years in Corporate Security and now as a Massachusetts State Police Licensed private investigator to the table, as well as experience as a published author of two novels and public service on the Saugus Library Board of Trustees and the Saugus Conservation Commission,” the press release continued.
“In addition to working as a Corporate Security Manager for several firms protecting profitability, he founded MAC Investigations and Constable Services in 2009. It is in this capacity that Coller has worked as an appointed constable in Essex County and Criminal Investigator,” he said.
Coller is a former member of the Conservation Commission and Library Board of Trustees, having resigned last year following a controversial exchange in person and through social media with family members of Selectman Jeffrey V. Cicolini.
It is still very early in the race. No one has made an official announcement kicking off their campaign yet.
Wong said he plans to mount another reelection campaign for his Ninth Essex House District seat. The Saugus Republican said he intends to make a formal announcement this month or in March. Corinne Riley, who was his campaign manager two years ago, will oversee his campaign again, according to Wong.
Precincts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in Saugus make up the core of the district, which also includes parts of Lynn and Wakefield.
Two years ago, district voters reelected Wong over Democratic challenger Jen Migliore by a lopsided 6,451 to 4,790-margin. Wong won all eight Saugus precincts and each of the four precincts in Wakefield. Migliore avoided a total shutout by beating Wong in Precincts 1 and 2 in Lynn’s Ward 1. Overall, Wong won reelection handily – by 2,315 votes or a 55 percent margin (12,766 to 10,451).
Board of Selectmen Chairman Debra C. Panetta’s name has been rumored to be a possible Democratic challenger. But she has not expressed an interest in the seat, at least not publicly. Panetta was a candidate for the state House seat in 2004, losing in the Democratic Primary to then-state Rep. Mark V. Falzone, 2,437 to 1,677.