Races Around the State: Worcester County

Part I — Out West

The next part of our election series takes us to Worcester County, an area that has been a real battleground in recent years. It was also here that four Republicans won seats from Democrats, bringing the total of House Republicans to eight, including the tie in the 6th Worcester District that required a run-off.

Continued after the Break

Congressional Races

The new 2nd District covers much of this part of the state, and it will now be represented by Jim McGovern, a Democrat. No Republicans are expected to compete for this seat, but perennial candidate William Feegbeh will challenge him in the primary. Feegbeh has not yet reported any campaign finances, and given his low name recognition in this part of the state, it appears McGovern will keep his job in Congress.

State Senate Races

Middlesex & Worcester: Incumbent State Senator Jamie Eldridge has been able to coast to victory the last two elections, but in 2008 and 2010, his vote total never got above 54%, which indicates that this race can be competitive if a credible challenger surfaces. Republican Dean Cavaretta looks to be that guy in 2012, but he must first deal with Eldridge’s huge money advantage, and a tougher election terrain than two years ago, but he has been endorsed by Governor Paul Celucci, so this could be a very competitive, and a flipped seat is not out of the question.

Finances: Cavaretta: $752.27, Eldridge: $59,719.34

2nd Worcester: State Senator Michael O. Moore seemed to get stronger in 2010 than in 2008, because he was elected unopposed. This year, it doesn’t seem like he will have much of a problem holding on to his seat, given his strong electoral performances, and over $46,000 in his war chest. Auburn selectman Stephen Simonian, his Republican challenger, has not yet reported any campaign finances.

Finances: Simonian: N/A, Moore: $46,755.29

State House Races

2nd Worcester: This was one of the seats Republicans were able to flip in 2010, when Richard Bastien won this seat by 402 votes, replacing retiring incumbent Robert Rice. Even though he was only able to muster 41.2% in his victory, there seems to be only token opposition by the Democrats in the form of Jonathan Zlotnik, who is yet to report any finances.

2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 38.5%, Baker (R): 49%

Finances: Bastien: $3,460.91, Zlotnik: N/A

4th Worcester: If Republicans seriously challenge this district, it could be interesting to watch, since incumbent Dennis Rosa was only able to get 52.7% of the vote against an unenrolled opponent with little financing in 2008. The GOP left this district unchallenged in 2010, but will be putting up Justin Brooks this time around, who has had good fundraising numbers. The down side for Brooks: Rosa is posting a 5-figure war chest, which is a lot for a local race. A serious investment by the MassGOP could be the difference between winning and losing this November, and given Baker’s performance two years ago, this could be a real oppurtunity for the GOP.

2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 39%, Baker (R): 51.2%

Finances: Brooks: $3,482.24, Rosa: $20,232.42

Fifth Worcester: Democrat representative Anne Gobi has rolled to victory the last two cycles, garnering over 63% in each race. The latest Republican to try their hand in knocking her off is Jason Petraitis, who has a chance because this is a district that went heavilly for Charlie Baker in 2010, but if a Democrat can run unopposed in this district with the top of the ticket performing that badly, she’ll be difficult, but not impossible, to defeat.

2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 38.7%, Baker (R): 51.9%

Finances: Gobi: $6,066.20, Petraitis: N/A

Sixth Worcester: Apparently there is tying in politics, as Massachusetts discovered two years ago in the race between Peter Durant and Geraldo Alicea. The race was declared a tie after a recount, and a disputed ballot, which triggered a runoff election between the two candidates early in 2011. Durant won the recount, and it was assumed the Democrats would be gunning for him this time around. However, it seems ousted Representative Alicea will not try to win his seat back, which he won with 57.5% of the vote 4 years ago during a year that was good for Democrats. The Dems will instead pin their hopes on Kathleen Walker, who is yet to report her campaign finances. This might change with the new quarter’s reports come in, but it seems like Durant will be the favorite to win re-election.

2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 36.6%, Baker (R): 51.8%

Finances: Durant: $5,437.38, Walker: N/A

Eighth Worcester: Second time around was the charm for Kevin Kuros in his quest to unseat Paul Kujawski in 2010, after a close call in 2008. Not only that, Kuros won by over 2,000 votes in 2010, a strong victory for a Republican challenger. That might be the reason why Democrats are not going to seriously challenge Kuros. Robert DuBois is the Democrat challenger, but only has $33 in his war chest, in contrast to the nearly $10,000 in Kuros’ war chest.

2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 33.2%, Baker (R): 54%

Finances: Kuros: $9,956.62, DuBois: $33.00

Fourteenth Worcester: Democrat James O’Day was not challenged in either 2008 or 2010, and his challenger this year, William McCarthy, doesn’t have a campaign report out yet, so it looks like another easy election for O’Day.

2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 54.3%, Baker (R): 38.1%

Finances: O’Day: $28,959.94, McCarthy: N/A

Fifteenth Worcester: This district has been represented by Vincent Pedone for years, but he is now retiring, and the seat is up for grabs. However, this is still a very heavily Democratic district, so the action will take place in the five-man primary. The two frontrunners in that primary are Mary S Keefe and Kate Toomey, who have the strongest finance reports so far. The Republican they will face, Brian O’Malley, has not reported anything yet, but given the nature of the district, whoever wins the Democratic primary will probably be the new representative.

2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 59.8%, Baker (R): 32.8%

Finances: O’Malley: N/A, Keefe: $4,677.11, Toomey: 4,417.17

Seventeenth Worcester: Looking at John Binienda’s campaign finances, he has the haul of someone wanting a congressional seat rather than just a seat in the General Court. With over $400,000 in the bank, and his challenger, Bill LeBeau, not reporting yet, Binienda is safe at this point.

2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 51.4%, Baker (R): 39.9%

Finances: Binienda: $402,923.88, LeBeau: N/A

Eighteenth Worcester: Ryan Fattman is seeking his first re-election bid after defeating Democratic incumbent Jennifer Callahan in 2010 by 907 votes. The Democratic candidate Donald Borque. Borque has not reported any finances yet, but this may be something to keep an eye on. Fattman still remains the favorite here due to the advantages of incumbency and the high vote for Baker this district cast in 2010.

2010 Governor’s Race: Patrick (D): 33.2%, Baker (R): 55.6%

Finances: Fattman: $39,951.09, Borque: N/A

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