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State Senate candidates to debate on Thursday
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LOWELL — Candidates for state Senate in the 1st Middlesex District, which includes three Nashoba Valley towns, will debate on Thursday night.

The debate, sponsored by the Nashoba Valley Voice, The Sun and UMass Lowell, begins at 6 p.m. at Moloney Hall on the UMass campus.

The race includes three former Lowell mayors — Rodney Elliott, Edward Kennedy and Bill Martin — John Drinkwater, legislative director for the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and a Lowell resident, and Terry Ryan, a former Westford School Committee member and Lowell native.

The district represents Dunstable, Groton, Lowell, Pepperell, Tyngsboro and Westford.

The candidates for Senate are battling to replace Eileen Donoghue, who resigned to become Lowell city manager earlier this summer.

The debate will be moderated by Sun Enterprise Editor Christopher Scott.

Group Editor James Campanini will serve as timekeeper, swinging his trusted Salvation Army bell to let candidates know when they’re bloviating.

“I urge people to come out and see the Democratic process for themselves,” said Campanini. “The Sun is pleased to partnership with UMass Lowell for this event.”

The university will be represented by Frank Talty, co-director of UML’s Center for Public Opinion.

“A core mission of the center is to educate the public about polling and debates,” Talty said. “We’re fulfilling that mission by partnering on these debates.”

The panelists for the evening will be Sun reporter Rick Sobey, who covers City Hall, and UML student Ryan Callahan. Callahan is an incoming sophomore from Chelmsford studying political science.

The debate will last 60 minutes. It will be followed at 7:15 p.m. by a debate among candidates for the Lowell-based 18th Middlesex District.