NORTH ATTLEBORO — The Republican candidate for state representative in the 14th Bristol District is touting something rare: an endorsement from Gov. Charlie Baker.

John Simmons, 45, is running against fellow town council member Adam Scanlon, 24, to replace state Rep. Elizabeth Poirier, R-North Attleboro, who announced in March she would not seek an 11th term on Beacon Hill.

“John Simmons is a powerful advocate for Attleboro, Mansfield, and North Attleboro,” Baker said in a statement that the Simmons campaign released on Friday.

The 14th District covers all of North Attleboro and parts of the other two communities Baker referenced.

“John’s lengthy record of community service, including his work on Representative Town Meeting, the election commission, and town council, speaks volumes to his dedication and experience. Residents have consistently trusted John to provide a rational, balanced approach to local government,” Baker said.

“I’m proud to endorse John Simmons and look forward to working with him at the Statehouse as we all come together to defeat and recover from this pandemic,” he said.

Baker has declined to make an endorsement in the 4th Congressional District race between Democrat Jake Auchincloss and former Attleboro city councilor Julie Hall, the Republican nominee. The governor has also said he can’t support the party’s nominee for president, Donald Trump.

Simmons, an attorney, stepped into the state rep race after the former GOP nominee, Mike Lennox, also a member of the town council, announced on primary night, Sept. 1, that he was dropping out of the race due to health concerns.

Simmons had to beat a tight deadline to win approval from state party officials to ensure that his name would be on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The North Attleboro seat has been in Republican hands for nearly 40 years. Before Elizabeth Poirier, it was held by her husband Kevin for 17 years until he stepped down to take a post at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro. Currently, he serves as North Attleboro’s town clerk.

Tom Reilly can be reached at 508-236-0332 or treilly@thesunchronicle.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tomreillynews

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