The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: State Senate Edition

(Thanks MM – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

Last week, the Legislature released its proposed redistricting map for the next decade. You can view the new maps here:

State Senate

State House

In general, the maps are a certifiable incumbent protection program, and in fact, most districts saw very little change at all. However, due to some population changes, and incumbent protection-drive changes, the maps do have some noticeable modifications. The result is, we will continue to live on with gerrymanders created by previous generations of Democratic Representatives with a little modernization and the creation of additional minority-majority districts. I suppose the best thing out of these maps is that only one Republican, State Rep Paul Adams (R-Andover), will face harsh implications.

Thanks to Rob and his contacts at the MassGOP, I applied the results of the Brown Election, and last November’s election to the old and new districts, both Senate and House. Considering the size of both bodies, I am just going to cover for today the State Senate. So, let’s take a look at the Good, the Bad, and some of the ugly messes this redistricting proposal has left with us in the State Senate. Additionally, I ranked the Democrats in the order we should prioritize their defeat.


The Good are the four Republicans in the State Senate, and here we will look at what the legislature has done for them. Senate districts are listed in Senator last name, alphabetical order.

Plymouth and Norfolk District

Held by Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth)

Senator Hedlund’s seat saw no changes whatsoever, and should be fine in his district for the coming future. Brown and Baker won large victories here, and Hedlund’s been around since 1994. It’s his as long as he wants it, and should be Republican even after then.

Results: (Old District/New District)

Brown 62-37%/Brown 62-37%

Baker 50-39%/Baker 50-39%

Polito 52-48%/Polito 52-48%

Connaughton 57-40%/Connaughton 57-40%

Second Hampden and Hampshire

Held by Sen. Michael Knapik (R-Westfield)

Knapik’s seat saw a good amount of change this time around. It should help him out a bit. While he lost Conservative Blanford and Chester, he also lost a good chunk of Chicopee while picking up Conservative Agawam. Knapik has never really been seriously challenged, and should be fine with this seat. It would be a competitive race if he retired however.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 54-44%/Brown 56-42%

Patrick 45-40%/Patrick 44-41%

Grossman 54-46%/Grossman 53-46%

Bump 49-44%/Bump 48-45%

Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex

Held by Sen. Richard Ross (R-Wrentham)

The former seat of Scott Brown was bolstered for Ross a bit, though it is still inexplicably ugly and competitive. This should have been made a solidly Republican seat, but obviously, the Dem’s are not quick to concede anything. This district lost most of Needham, which helps Ross a great deal. He should not have any problems with this seat going forward.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 59-41%/Brown 61-39%

Baker 50-42%/Baker 52-40%

Grossman 50-50%/Polito 52-48%

Connaughton 57-39%/Connaughton 57-38%

First Essex and Middlesex

Held by Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester)

Tarr’s seat only changed in North Andover, and to his benefit. Baddour was given the more swingy precincts near Lawrence, and Tarr was given those near Middleton. As a result, this district got a slight boost to the GOP. Tarr has never had a problem here, and it should be Republican for the near future.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 61-39%/61-38%

Baker 52-40%/53-39%

Polito 54-46%/54-46%

Connaughton 56-39%/56-39%


The thirty-six Democratic held seats are listed below in the order I believe the seats should be contested (most to least important). In general, most Democratic seats either didn’t change or saw improvements. There are two places were Republican chances were improved noticeably.

1.   Worcester and Norfolk

Held by Sen. Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge)

While Sen.  Moore is among the most Conservative Democrats in the State Senate, he nonetheless stands in the way of one of the Senate’s best opportunities for Republicans. Republicans picked up two State Rep seats in the Blackstone Valley last year, and a last minute candidacy by Kimberly Roy (R) nearly toppled the longtime incumbent. This seat only lost two precincts from Northbridge to the other Moore’s seat, and remains almost entirely the same.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 66-33%/Brown 65-33%

Baker 54-35%/Baker 53-35%

Polito 61-38%/Polito 61-39%

Connaughton 57-39%/Connaughton 56-39%

2. Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex Formerly the Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin

Held by Sen. Steve Brewer (D-Barre)

Again, we find a conservative Democrat in the way of the Republicans. Brewer has never really faced a tough race since election in the mid-1990’s, but I don’t see any reason why this district shouldn’t be easy pickings. Brewer’s seat got uglier in the redistricting process as it now contains an arm to conservative Ashby in Middlesex County, but it should fall the GOP’s way soon, with or without Brewer in the picture.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 64-34%/Brown 65-34%

Baker 51-36%/Baker 51-36%

Polito 59-41%/Polito 60-40%

Connaughton 54-40%/Connaughton 55-39%

3. Bristol and Norfolk

Held by Sen. James Timilty (D-Walpole)

Timilty is also on the conservative half of the Democratic Senate caucus, but it’s probably out of convenience considering the liberal nature of his relatives. Timilty was inexplicably unopposed in 2010, and shouldn’t go this way again in 2012. His district is perhaps the most Republican historically of any district in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, this district shed Dover to Michael Rush, but that shouldn’t be of any worry, only its three precincts in Sharon bothered to vote for Coakley last year.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 63-36%/Brown 63-36%

Baker 53-38%/Baker 53-38%

Polito 54-46%/Polito 54-46%

Connaughton 57-39%/Connaughton 57-39%

4. Worcester and Middlesex

Held by Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster)

Surprised? This North County seat has swung to the right hard, and with an inexperienced lefty holding it down, it should be easy pickings for the Republicans. The hardest part will be finding a candidate, but with the amount of new Republicans here, it cannot be simply overlooked. This seat once sent conservative Republicans like Robert Hall and Mary Padula to Beacon Hill. Let’s do it again. The seat lost Ashby, and picked up Berlin. No real change.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 62-36%/Brown 63-37%

Baker 51-39%/Baker 51-39%

Polito 57-43%/Polito 57-43%

Connaughton 54-41%/Connaughton 54-40%

5. Plymouth and Barnstable

Held by Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth)

I would have ranked this one higher, but she can raise boatloads of cash as the President of the Senate. However, Thomas Keyes showed that this district shouldn’t be written off considering his 52-48% lost last year. Hopefully, he’ll finish off what he started next year. This district lost its portion of Barnstable and Plympton as it’s one of the fastest growing in the state. Helps Murray a little, but shouldn’t scare us away at all.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 62-37%/Brown 62-37%

Baker 50-40%/Baker 50-40%

Polito 53-47%/Polito 53-47%

Connaughton 55-41%/Connaughton 55-41%

6. First Plymouth and Bristol

Held by Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton)

Republicans lost a disappointing 58-40% in 2010 behind Taunton City Council President David Pottier. Taunton’s been a tough nut to crack at the Senate level since longtime Sen. John Parker (R-Taunton) retired in 1989. Even after Erving Wall did pull it off again in 1990, Pacheco won it back in 1992, and has ever since. No changes in the new plan.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 63-36%/Brown 63-36%

Baker 50-38%/Baker 50-38%

Polito 52-47%/Polito 52-47%

Connaughton 52-43%/Connaughton 52-43%

7. First Essex

Held by Sen. Steve Baddour (D-Methuen)

Another conservative Democrat, Baddour, holds down a pretty Republican district. Unlike many of the other Republican-leaning seats held by Democrats in the State Senate, this one is not historically Republican. Republicans haven’t won here since the mid-1950’s.  However, Haverhill and the Valley have moved to the right slowly, and gave Baddour a 59-41% win only after his opponent stopped campaigning in September. We should try this one again. Swapped out few deep-red North Andover precincts for a few slightly less Red North Andover precincts, but it’s basically the same.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 60-39%/Brown 60-39%

Baker 50-40%/Brown 50-41%

Polito 53-47%/Polito 52-48%

Connaughton 53-42%/Connaughton 52-43%

8. Second Worcester

Held by Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury)

The more conservative of the two Worcester Senate Districts, this seat elected “Fat” Matt Amorello (R) to the Senate in the early 1990’s. It’s also the home of Republican State Reps. Paul Frost, George Peterson, Matthew Beaton, former State Rep. Karyn Polito, and former Congressman Peter Blute. Need any more reasons why we should have a top tier GOP candidate in 2012? More importantly, it lost its three most liberal precincts in South Worcester to Sen. Chandler’s district. Let’s do this.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 59-40%/Brown 60-39%

Baker 46-45%/Baker 47-44%

Polito 63-37%/Polito 64-36%

Connaughton 52-44%/Connaughton 53-43%

9. Second Essex and Middlesex

Held by Sen. Barry Finegold (D-Andover)

Son of an Andover public school teacher, and now a career politician, lackluster Barry got another promotion in 2010. First a Selectman, then a State Rep, he’s now State Senator. A fellow RMGer almost ended his career, but his victory shouldn’t be any reason to let him slide in this seat for another ten seats. This district didn’t see any changes, and will present with the same challenges and opportunities it has always confounded us. Dracut and Tewksbury continue to move to the right, while Lawrence continues to move to the Left. Andover remains the key. My home district needs liberation. Maybe Paul Adams or Jamison Tomasek could give it another try in 2012.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 58-41%/Brown 58-41%

Baker 47-44%/Baker 47-44%

Grossman 51-49%/Grossman 51-49%

Connaughton 49-47%/Connaughton 49-47%

10. First Hampden and Hampshire

Held by. Sen. Gale Candaras (D-Wilbraham)

This is the former district of Brian Lees (R-Springfield), a moderate Republican from Springfield who retired back in ’06. Candaras picked up the seat without any trouble. The district got a facelift however in redistricting as to allow the creation of the Springfield minority-majority Senate district (aka Welch’s). It shed its most liberal precincts in Springfield, and added a few in Belchertown and Chicopee. Candaras won in 2010 against a very underfunded Thomas McCarthy 58-42%. With these changes, Republicans should win this one up for the 10th pick up, and ensure the veto for future Republican Governors.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 55-43%/Brown 57-42%

Patrick 46-42%/Baker 43-43%

Grossman 53-47%/Grossman 51-49%

Bump 48-47%/Connaughton 48-46%

11. First Middlesex

Held by Sen. Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell)

It starts getting tougher from here on in. Donoghue is a good fit for this district, and the Democrats have a good lock on Lowell on the local level. However, this district is hard to ignore considering the troop of conservative towns attached to Lowell. The right candidate could pull the upset off here, but good Democratic incumbents like Panagiotakos and Donoghue have been tough to beat. I’d rate this district lower if it wasn’t for the shear rightward turn the district has taken at the statewide level. No changes at all.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 57-41%/Brown 57-41%

Baker 48-43%/Baker 48-43%

Polito 51-49%/Polito 51-49%

Connaughton 50-45%/Connaughton 50-45%

12. Second Essex

Held by Sen. Frederick Berry (D-Peabody)

If the GOP is ever going to take back the State Senate, it will have to go through districts like this one. This district gave comfortable wins to Brown and Baker, but hasn’t sent a Republican to the Legislature since then State Rep. Peter Torkildsen ran for Congress in 1992. Berry is an entrenched Incumbent, and probably has a few more terms in him. If the environment continues to shift our way, he could find himself in trouble. Otherwise, just remember this one when it comes open, it will sure to be competitive. No changes here either.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 56-43%/Brown 56-43%

Baker 46-44%/Baker 46-44%

Grossman 53-47%/Grossman 53-47%

Connaughton 49-46%/Connaughton 49-46%

13. Middlesex and Worcester

Held by Sen. James Eldridge (D-Acton)

Jamie, as he likes to be called, is a moonbat’s moonbat. While he hails from liberal Acton, the rest of his district doesn’t share Acton’s Democratic tendencies. For this reason, the M&W is a district of contradictions, even before you consider the ideological mismatch between this Brown district and that of its State Senator. The Middlesex and Worcester only lost a precinct in moderate Sudbury in redistricting, and as a poorly funded George Thompson showed with his 57-43% lost here in 2010, this is not a district to write-off. It’s also the home of former Senator, Lt. Governor and Governor Paul Cellucci (R-Hudson).

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 53-46%/Brown 53-46%

Patrick 46-46%/Patrick 46-46%

Polito 51-49%/Polito 51-49%

Connaughton 54-42%/Connaughton 54-42%

14. Second Middlesex and Norfolk

Held by Sen. Karen Spilka (D-Ashland)

Next door, we have the Framingham-based seat of a very low profile Senator, Sen. Karen Spilka. This district takes in a chunk of Republican-leaning I-495 belt towns, and Democratic-leaning Framingham. For this reason, it’s been a frustrating one for Republicans. Mary Connaughton did particularly well here, being that it’s also her home as well.  Spilka was held under 60% by an underfunded Ed McGrath, and redistricting didn’t do much to help here, as this seat only lost two precincts in Franklin to the south.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 54-45%/Brown 54-46%

Baker 47-46%/Patrick 46-46%

Grossman 51-49%/Grossman 51-49%

Connaughton 57-39%/Connaughton 57-39%

15. Middlesex and Essex Formerly the Middlesex and Essex

Held by Sen. Katherine Clark (D-Melrose)

This is the newest seat in the Democratic column, as then State Rep. Clark picked up the open seat of Richard Tisei as he ran and lost for Lt. Governor. Clark narrowly won the seat in 2010 over Craig Spadafora (R-Malden), and Democrats wasted no time in shoring this one up for Clark by removing its most conservative town, Lynnfield. It was a tough district for Republicans before, and it’s even tougher now, but we shouldn’t write off quite yet, after all, it might have gotten used to Republican State Senate representation. We’ll still need it for a majority.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 55-44%/Brown 53-46%

Baker 49-43%/Baker 47-45%

Grossman 53-47%/Grossman 55-45%

Connaughton 50-45%/Connaughton 48-47%

16. Second Plymouth and Bristol

Held by Sen. Thomas Kennedy (D-Brockton)

While this district gave Brown a large win on the backs of very low Brockton turnout, it failed to vote for Mary Connaughton in November. Kennedy has coasted through his first two terms, and would be a tough incumbent to beat. However, the Republican arm of the district has expanded to Plympton, and continues to get tougher for Brockton Democrats. Is this district a ticking time bomb for Senate Democrats? If so, it would give us split control of the Senate.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 58-41%/Brown 58-41%

Baker 45-43%/Baker 46-42%

Grossman 53-47%/Grossman 53-47%

Bump 49-47%/Bump 48-48%

17. Cape and Islands

Held by Sen. Dan Wolf (D-Harwich)

This seat was once a Republican stronghold (Held continuously until 2000), however the Lower Cape and Islands have moved it substantially to the left. Redistricting added the remaining portions of Barnstable to the district, which would help 2010 Republican challenger Joe Crocker (R-Barnstable) should he give it a go again after his 57-43% loss last year. I firmly believe the GOP needs this district if it is ever to regain control of the State Senate, and for that reason, I have ranked it as seat #21. (Kind of like Senator 41?)

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 53-46%/Brown 54-45%

Patrick 47-45%/Patrick 47-45%

Grossman 52-48%/Grossman 51-49%

Connaughton 49-47%/Connaughton 49-46%

The next eight districts still remain in the realm of possibilities for Senate pickups. However, it gets tougher and tougher as we keep going.

18. Norfolk and Plymouth

Held by Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy)

New senator, same precincts. Quincy and gerrymandered Plymouth County.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 58-41%/Brown 58-41%

Baker 40-38%/Baker 40-38%

Grossman 56-44%/Grossman 56-44%

Bump 49-47%/Bump 49-47%

19. Third Essex

Held by Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn)

Lost Melrose and added Lynnfield (Big Help).  Still a tough seat to crack.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 51-48%/Brown 54-45%

Patrick 47-45%/Baker 47-44%

Grossman 58-42%/Grossman 56-44%

Bump 51-44%/Bump 49-46%

20. Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth

Held by Sen. Brian Joyce (D-Milton)

Joyce keeps his Milton and gerrymandered “around Brockton” district unchanged.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 54-45%/Brown 54-45%

Patrick 46-43%/Patrick 46-43%

Grossman 57-43%/Grossman 57-43%

Bump 48-48%/Bump 48-48%

21. Third Middlesex

Held by Sen. Susan Fargo (D-Lincoln)

Gains a precinct in Sudbury, still a tough seat in Central Middlesex County.  Fargo is a huge moonbat.

Results: (Old/New)

Coakley 50-49%/Coakley 50-49%

Patrick 50-43%/Patrick 50-44%

Grossman 56-44%/Grossman 56-44%

Connaughton 50-45%/Connaughton 50-45%

22. First Worcester

Held by Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester)

Chandler’s seat got safer in redistricting. Is now more than ever, the more Democratic of the Worcester districts.

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 55-44%/Brown 54-45%

Patrick 51-42%/Patrick 52-41%

Polito 56-44%/Polito 54-45%

Connaughton 48-46%/Bump 48-48%

23. Fourth Middlesex

Held by Sen. Kenneth Donnelly (D-Arlington)

Gained the rest of Woburn. Arlington and Lexington weigh this district down big time.

Results: (Old/New)

Coakley 50-49%/Coakley 50-49%

Patrick 49-42%/Patrick 49-42%

Grossman 58-42%/Grossman 58-42%

Bump 49-46%/Bump 49-46%

24. Norfolk and Suffolk Formerly the Suffolk and Norfolk

Held by Sen. Michael Rush (D-Boston)

Lost its most Democratic precincts in Ward 18 for about 2/3 of Needham and Dover. Brown now wins here. Rush is a conservative Democrat, and is probably the best we can do here.

Results:  (Old/New)

Coakley 51-47%/Brown 50-49%

Patrick 53-38%/Patrick 50-41%

Grossman 62-38%/Grossman 59-41%

Bump 52-43%/Bump 48-48%

25. First Bristol and Plymouth

Held by Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport)

No changes for the freshman Senator Rodrigues. Could a Fall River Republican beat him?

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 52-47%/Brown 52-47%

Patrick 51-39%/Patrick 51-39%

Grossman 56-44%/Grossman 56-44%

Bump 54-41%/Bump 54-41%

The remaining eleven districts are insanely Democratic, and despite all modifications remain out of contention for Republicans under the current politics of the state. Perhaps someday in the future.

Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden Formerly the Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin

Held by Sen. Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield)

Results: (Old/New)

Coakley 67-32%/Coakley 67-32%

Patrick 69-23%/Patrick 68-23%

Grossman 70-30%/Grossman 69-31%

Bump 63-30%/Bump 62-30%

Second Bristol and Plymouth

Held by Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford)

Results: (Old/New)

Coakley 52-46%/Coakley 52-46%

Patrick 59-32%/Patrick 59-32%

Grossman 63-37%/Grossman 63-37%

Bump 57-35%/Bump 57-35%


Held by Sen. James Welch (D-West Springfield)

Results: (Old/New)

Brown 50-49%/Coakley 57-41%

Patrick 52-35%/Patrick 59-28%

Grossman 59-41%/Grossman 66-34%

Bump 55-40%/Bump 62-33%

Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester Formerly the Hampshire and Franklin

Held by Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst)

Results: (Old/New)

Coakley 68-31%/Coakley 67-32%

Patrick 66-22%/Patrick 65-23%

Grossman 72-28%/Grossman 71-29%

Bump 62-25%/Bump 61-26%

Second Middlesex

Held by Sen. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville)

Results: (Old/New)

Coakley 62-37%/Coakley 68-31%

Patrick 60-32%/Patrick 66-26%

Grossman 67-33%/Grossman 72-28%

Bump 58-35%/Bump 62-30%

First Middlesex and Norfolk

Held by Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton)

Results: (Old/New)

Coakley 67-32%/Coakley 67-32%

Patrick 66-30%/Patrick 66-30%

Grossman 75-25%/Grossman 75-25%

Bump 58-37%/Bump 58-37%

Middlesex and Suffolk Formerly the Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex

Held by Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett)

Results: (Old/New)

Coakley 64-35%/Coakley 67-31%

Patrick 63-28%/Patrick 67-25%

Grossman 70-29%/Grossman 73-27%

Bump 63-31%/Bump 69-25%

First Suffolk

Held by Sen. Jack Hart (D-Boston)

Results: (Old/New)

Coakley 68-30%/Coakley 68-31%

Patrick 71-21%/Patrick 71-21%

Grossman 77-23%/Grossman 76-23%

Bump 73-23%/Bump 73-24%

Second Suffolk

Held by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston)

Results: (Old/New)

Coakley 81-18%/Coakley 85-14%

Patrick 82-15%/Patrick 85-11%

Grossman 84-16%/Grossman 87-13%

Bump 75-19%/Bump 80-16%

First Suffolk and Middlesex

Held by Sen. Anthony Petruccelli (D-Boston)

Results: (Old/New)

Coakley 60-39%/Coakley 56-43%

Patrick 57-32%/Patrick 54-35%

Grossman 65-34%/Grossman 62-37%

Bump 59-34%/Bump 57-37%

Second Suffolk and Middlesex

Current Vacant (Former Sen. Steve Tolman (D-Boston) Resigned to Head Mass AFL-CIO)

Results: (Old/New)

Coakley 66-33%/Coakley 63-37%

Patrick 66-28%/Patrick 62-32%

Grossman 73-27%/Grossman 70-30%

Bump 61-33%/Bump 58-36%


Here I’m listing the top five most ugly senate districts. These things need to change bad.

5. Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth: Brian Joyce (D-Milton)

This district and that of John Keenan should be combined together, and allow the creation of a new Plymouth County Senate district. There is no reason why Milton and Quincy should “have their own” senate districts.  The result is that this district reaches around Brockton, and Keenan’s reaches around Hedlund’s home in Weymouth.

4. Second Suffolk and Middlesex: Currently Vacant

This district got uglier in redistricting, now stretching awkwardly from Belmont to Beacon Hill. It doesn’t even take in all of Allston along the way, and passes through a thin stretch around BU.

3. First Suffolk and Middlesex: Anthony Petruccelli (D-Boston)

This district got much better in redistricting, now composing all of the North End, Revere, Winthrop and East Boston. However, it still snakes over the Longfellow Bridge to MIT and the Cambridge side of the BU Bridge. Why? I have no clue. They should have put Chelsea in with the other non-Boston parts of Suffolk County.

2. Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex: Richard Ross (R-Wrentham)

This district was built for Needham Democrat Cheryl Jacques, containing parts of Wellesley, Wayland and Natick, while allowing for the cracking of the Republican areas around Wrentham. Of course, Scott Brown proved that it wasn’t good enough for the Democrats, and unfortunately, their redistricting made it even uglier.

1. Middlesex and Suffolk: Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett)

This is the former district of such greats as Tom Birmingham, Anthony Galluccio and Jarrett “I don’t like fluffernutter” Barrios. It really doesn’t represent a coherent area at all, and at least lost its tail into Saugus through redistricting, but it’s still a monstrosity of computer redistricting, and prevents a single seat for Cambridge in the State Senate.

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