By John McKenna
The fourth installment of our journey around the state takes us to the North Shore, encompassing Essex, Northern Middlesex, and Northern Suffolk counties. This is a rather blue area thanks to the cities of Gloucester and Lynn, but also has the red areas of Ipswitch, Rowley, Boxford, and Andover. It is also home to one of the most competitive Congressional districts in the country, so this will be a vibrant area for state politicos, and even national ones.
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This is the race everyone in Massachusetts is watching: Richard Tisei vs. John Tierney for the 6th Congressional District. Tierney is currently dogged by questions over his wife’s family’s illegal gambling ring, and how much involvement the congressman personally had with this ring. Tierney claims that he was unaware of the operation, but two of his wife’s family members have claimed that the Congressman went to baseball games with the bookees, and visited his brother-in-law at his Aruba home, where the operation was headquartered. Tisei, the former Senate Minority Leader and Lt. Governor candidate in 2010, has high name recognition in this district, as well as high popularity. This could be the best chance Republicans have had to flip a Massachusetts congressional seat in over a decade, and you can bet national Republicans and Democrats will be investing in this district.
State Senate Races
Third Middlesex: Is third time the charm for Sandi Martinez? She ran against incumbent Democrat Susan Fargo in 2008 and 2010, but came up short each time. However, she improved on her 2008 total, going from 34.5% of the vote to 40.9%, and has a good war chest to highlight her competitiveness. This time though, Fargo is deciding to retire, leading to a five-way primary for the Democrats. Currently, Michael Barrett leads the way in finances, but must first fend off Alex Buck, Mara Dolan, Joe Goodwin, and Joseph Mullin. The major hurdle might not be name recognition for Martinez this time, but rather the fact that this district is three points more Democrat during presidential years than during midterm elections, so Martinez will need to step it up if she wants to be a State Senator.
Finances: Martinez: $8,864.81, Bennett: $38,515.73, Buck: N/A, Dolan: N/A, Goodwin: N/A, Mullin: N/A
State House Races
Tenth Essex: Democrat Robert Fennell has been uncontested in this Lynn district in 2008 and 2010, but this time will not only have a Republican on the ballot, but a primary battle as well. Dwight Caufield will run for the Republican side, and Gardy-Jean Francois will challenge Fennell in the primary, assuming he is cleared by the State Election Commission to run, which at this point is in question. It will be challenging for Caufield to win this district, but with a strong GOP congressional candidate in Richard Tisei on the ballot as well, it could be a boost.
2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 53.9%, Baker (R): 35.8%
Finances: Caufield: $1,428.89, Fennell: $65.398.98
Second Suffolk: Chelsea has been a consistently Democratic city for decades, and with Eugene O’Flaherty winning unopposed the last two election cycles, it will be tough for Republican Charles Klauder to pull this one out, especially during a Presidential election year.
2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 68.9%, Baker (R): 24.1%
Finances: Klauder: N/A, Flaherty: $25,048.64
Nineteenth Suffolk: Who feels lucky in this district? Apparently Paul Caruccio, who ran for Governor’s Council in 2010, does in his quest to unseat Speaker Robert DeLeo. Expect the casino debate to feature prominently in this race, since one is planned for the Suffolk Downs racetrack, which is in the district, as well as the fate of the Wonderland dog track. The gubernatorial race in 2010 was a virtual tie in this district, so if Caruccio runs an flawless campaign, it might force DeLeo to campaign here to shore up his base.
2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 44.3%, Baker (R): 44.6%
Finances: Caruccio: $1,000.62, DeLeo: $440,752.48