We’ve criss-crossed the state looking at competitive races this election season, and we’ve uncovered some real pickup oppurtunities for Republicans, and some races that might even impact the closely watched US Senate race. Today, we conclude our election report by looking at the South Shore, the Cape, and the Islands. This area has been good to Republicans in the past, and there are still seats that can go from Blue to Red, including the Senate President’s seat.
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Eighth District: Stephen Lynch will be facing one of two Republicans here, Plaster Fun Time owner Joe Selvaggi, or Matias Temperley. While parts of this district definitely lean Republican, it is anchored in heavily Democratic South Boston and Dorchester, which offsets GOP leanings. Even still, this can be a competitive race because Sen. Brown won over 56% of South Boston in his 2010 special election victory, so if either Temperley or Selvaggi can tap into that, it could be a real competitive race.
Ninth District: The newest member of the Massachusetts’ congressional delegation, Bill Keating would appear to be vulnerable in his first re-election bid. He will be facing Sam Sutter in the primary, which shouldn’t be too difficult for him. However, he was forced to move his permanent address to his Bourne summer house so he could remain here, and avoid having to face Lynch in the 8th district. He will be facing either Adam Chaprales or Christopher Sheldon on the Republican side. This district represents large swaths of the South Shore and the Cape, very good areas for Republicans in local and state races, so it could be fairly competitive.
State Senate Races
Plymouth & Barnstable: In 2010, Senate President Therese Murray got quite a scare, winning only 50.8% of the vote against an opponent she vastly outspent. Now, Tom Keyes is going at her again, in a race that has caught the interest of conservative blog RedState. Keyes’ war chest has definitely grown, but he still has only 1/10th of Murray’s resources. If Republicans can knock her off here, which is realistic, it would be a huge psychological victory for the party. Murray is also facing a primary challenge from Stephen Palmer, who has not reported yet.
Finances: Keyes: $14,726.77, Murray: $139,955.29, Palmer: N/A
State House Races
Fourth Plymouth: Democrat James Cantwell ran unopposed in 2010, in a district that Charlie Baker won by nearly 15 points. That may have been the spur for Stephen Coulter to jump in to challenge Cantwell, and it should be an interesting race, especially if either Mitt Romney or Scott Brown performs especially well here.
2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 37.6%, Baker (R): 52.4%
Finances: Coulter: N/A, Cantwell: $65,311.05
Fifth Plymouth: Rhonda Nyman won this district to succeed her late husband Rob Nyman, who died in a tragic accident that summer. She won by roughly 1,000 votes against Republican Korey Welch, who is challenging her again in 2012. It may have been because she was Nyman’s wife that put her over the top in 2010, especially with Governor Patrick’s weak showing here. Welch is outraising her by a 2-to-1 margain, so he should be favored to win. Rob Nyman was very popular here, though, so voters may be inclined to keep the seat in the family. This will be a real race to watch, and a great pickup chance for Republicans.
2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 34%, Baker (R): 53.5%
Finances: Welch: $10,822.53, Nyman: $4,859.53
Sixth Plymouth: A real scare for the GOP came in this district, where Rep. Daniel Webster squeaked out a 500-vote victory over Democrat challenger Josh Cutler, after running unopposed in 2008. This was one of the few times in 2010 where a Republican incumbent ran behind Baker, who won 55% of the vote here. Cutler is trying again, and as of December 31, 2011 had Webster beat nearly 4-to-1 in fundraising. Webster is vulnerable here, but this is a district that he consistently wins. It will come down to the wire.
2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 34.4%, Baker (R): 54.9%
Finances: Webster: $11,677.99, Cutler: $40,256.23
Seventh Plymouth: Republican Geoff Diehl won this seat in 2010 by defeating Democratic incumbent Allen McCarthy by 421 votes, netting another seat for the Republicans. This time, he will face Robert Toomey Jr., who has raised $750 so far. Diehl seems to be favored here.
2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 32.3%, Baker (R): 53%
Finances: Diehl: $7.923.77, Toomey: $750
Eighth Plymouth: Republican Angelo D’Emilia won this district to replace Democrat David Flynn, who retired in 2010. D’Emilia won by only 885 votes, so this district will be competitive if Democrats field a top opponent. The opponent appears to be Marilee Keeney Hunt, who has not raised funds yet. D’Emilia is favored to win, especially in a district that Baker won by over 20 points, but we’ll keep an eye on this one.
2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 34.2%, Baker (R): 54.6%
Finances: D’Emilia: $17,577.76, Kenney Hunt: N/A
Eleventh Plymouth: Democrat Geraldine Creedon is retiring this year after getting only 52.9% of the vote in 2010. This has set off a four-way primary for the Democratic ticket between Claire Cronin, Robert Sullivan, Mark Linde, and Jass Stewart. Republicans have settled on Daniel Murphy, but Sullivan is the only one reporting any finances, so he is the favorite. The governor’s race in this Plymouth-based district was a virtual tie, so this race can go either way, but it has a Democratic lean in presidential years.
2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 44.9%, Baker (R): 45.8%
Finances: Murphy: N/A, Cronin: N/A, Linde: N/A, Sullivan: $3,418.13, Stewart: N/A
Twelfth Plymouth: Democrat Tom Calter won only 52% of the vote in 2010, implying weakness, which Republican Debra Betz looks to use to her advantage. Charlie Baker won here by over 15 points, so this can be a competitive race for Betz if she can minimize Calter’s money advantage.
2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 35.2%, Baker (R): 53.3%
Finances: Betz: $48.24, Calter: $12,400.20
Fifth Barnstable: The only competitive seat on the Cape is this one, which was represented for a long time by Rep. Jeff Perry, who left to challenge Bill Keating for the 10th congressional seat. Even though he was defeated, his strong performance showed that this is an area where Republicans can do very well. His seat was won by fellow Republican Randy Hunt, who will try to defend it against Patrick Ellis. Hunt won by 6 points in 2010, so this could close, but the advantages of incumbency should carry him through.
2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 37.7%, Baker (R): 53.4%
Finances: Hunt: $9,174.05, Ellis: N/A