Get out and vote! There are GOP races across the state today! Here’s a rundown, and how I think things will work out.
US House of Representatives
Jonathan Golnik (R-Carlisle) vs. Tom Weaver (R-Westford)
This is a re-match of sorts from 2010, when businessman Jon Golnik and Engineer/Veteran Tom Weaver faced off for the 5th District GOP Nomination. Golnik won that race, while Weaver came in a distant third amidst a slightly larger field. This time it’s just the two of them, but I expect a similar result. Golnik ran a decent campaign for a first-time candidate in 2010, but came up short in the November match-up with Tsongas. However, in the process he built up a good name recognition and base of support. Thus, if you drive around the district, there are many Golnik sides back out on the side of the road. Weaver will certainly do better in his second go-around, but I think Golnik has the advantage. The winner will again face incumbent Democrat Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell).
Sean Bielat (R-Norfolk) vs. Elizabeth Childs (R-Brookline) vs. David Steinhof (R-Fall River)
In 2010, businessman/Veteran Sean Bielat faced off against frequent candidate, and GOP State Committeeman Earl Sholley, and won decisively. After raising over two million dollars in his last go around, he narrowly lost to Barney Frank (D-Newton) in the General Election. However, his efforts were strong enough to scare away Barney Frank from seeking re-election in what is now a more conservative district. I fully expect that Bielat’s name recognition from his 2010 run will carry him over the line against Dr. Elizabeth Childs, MD and Dr. David Steinhof, DMD, who are good candidates themselves, but are from the heavily Democratic ends of the district with little exposure. However, whoever emerges as the winner here will have a tough go of it with likely Democratic nominee Joseph Kennedy III (D-Brookline).
More after the Fold
Frank Addivinola Jr. (R-Boston) vs. Jeff Semon (R-Lexington) vs. Tom Tierney (R-Framingham)
The right to face Ed Markey (D-Malden) has attracted three candidates! This district is super Democratic, but it’s good to know Fast Eddie isn’t getting a free ride. Lawyer/Businessman Frank Addivinola was a State Senate candidate in 2010 but doesn’t live in the district, and Actuary Tom Tierney has run for Congress many times before, but in the old 5th district. As a result, if I had to guess who will carry the day here on Thursday, I would have to go with Businessman Jeff Semon. While Semon will likely be facing a David vs. Goliath situation should he win the primary, the first-time candidate has shown a serious effort and commitment to the issues, and I would hope no matter the result, he will run for office again someday.
Joe Selvaggi (R-Boston) vs. Matias Temperley (R-Quincy)
Two first-time candidates are facing off for the right to challenge incumbent Democrat Steve Lynch (D-Boston) in November. However, to be quite honest, I don’t know whether Veteran/Businessman Joe Selvaggi or Veteran Matt Temperley has the advantage here. In either case, both candidates will face an uphill fight in this Democratic leaning district.
Adam Chaprales (R-Barnstable) vs. Christopher Sheldon (R-Plymouth)
Fmr. Sandwich Selectman/Businessman Adam Chaprales is facing off against Businessman Chris Sheldon in the newly configured Cape + Plymouth County and now New Bedford district. Sheldon is a first time candidate, who seems to have the support of a number of Plymouth County politicians, including Sen. Bob Hedlund (R-Weymouth). Chaprales’s base of support is more focused on the Cape, and he has been endorsed by Special Sheriff, 2010 Nominee, and former State Representative Jeff Perry (R-Sandwich). For that reason, I am unsure who has the upper hand on today. While both would be underdogs against Freshman Rep. Keating (D-Bourne), I think this could be a sleeper race in the fall.
Michael Case (R-Washington) vs. Michael Franco (R-Holyoke)
There are an incredible three open seats (Manning, Timilty, Merrigan) on the Governor’s Council, and the GOP managed to field candidates in all of them. However, only in the tough 8th District of Western Mass do we find a GOP primary after the retirement of longtime Councilor Thomas Merrigan (D-Greenfield). Case is a Veteran/Retired Cop/Washington Selectman and 2010 State Rep candidate, while Franco is a Veteran/Veterans Service Officer and frequent candidate for this district and others in his hometown of Holyoke. Franco has run a number of times for this district without much success, but that name recognition could be vitally important in a low turnout primary like this. Case may have stronger roots in Berkshire and Franklin County however. I can’t say who has the advantage on Thursday, but I’m rooting for Case, who garnered 34% in a three way race in 2010, while even Scott Brown could only garner 35% in the same district. Unfortunately, Case and Franco will be serious underdogs against the winner of the Democratic primary.
First Essex District-
Sam Meas (R-Haverhill) vs. Shaun Toohey (R-Haverhill)
Sen. Steven Baddour (D-Methuen) has retired and resigned from the Senate, giving the GOP one of their best chances to pick up a State Senate seat this fall. Hoping to carry the GOP banner to victory are Businessman/2010 5th Congressional District candidate Sam Meas and School Committeeman/Mortgage Baker Shaun Toohey. While Meas may have better name recognition amongst a GOP Primary field, Toohey is a solid and well-known candidate in Haverhill (and son-in-law of former Haverhill Mayor William Ryan). If I had to guess, I’d probably suggest that Toohey is the favorite here, but Meas could surprise with the good will he has built up since his 2010 run. In either case, the GOP will be a strong contender for the seat in November.
Second Essex and Middlesex District-
Paul Adams (R-Andover) vs. Alex Vispoli (R-Andover)
In 2010, the Andover Republican Party scored a major upset, taking over two State Rep seats, and narrowly losing a State Senate seat against well-funded, hack extraordinaire Barry Finegold (D-Andover). The Democrats on Beacon Hill redistricted Paul Adams out of a seat and he initially aimed to move and then run in the new and very Democratic 17th District. Fortunately, he decided instead to try to take down Sen. Finegold, but by the time he decided, another up and coming Andover Republican, Selectman Alex Vispoli had already positioned himself for the race. As a result, the Andover GOP has put up two top candidates for the seat. I’ve seen houses in Andover with signs for both candidates, and the town is in general plastered with Republican signs like I have NEVER seen before. It is not clear to me who has the edge, but both good candidates will be a serious threat for Barry in November.
Third Middlesex District-
Gregory Howes (R-Concord) vs. Sandi Martinez (R-Chelmsford)
Sandi Martinez has been the GOP nominee for this district for the past three electoral cycles, and has lost to Susan Fargo (D-Lincoln) each and every time. Fortunately, Fargo has decided to move on, but for the second election in a row, a contentious Moderate vs. Conservative primary has emerged for the GOP. Martinez is a Conservative State GOP Committeewoman and handily defeated Fmr. Chelmsford Selectman Eric Dahlberg in the 2010 GOP Primary. This time, for the right to face the Democrats in the fall, she will have to get past Businessman and Selectman Gregory Howes (R-Concord). Howes is a former Democrat and moderate Republican, but has deep roots in what is ordinarily a very Democratic town, Concord, something that would be beneficial in the General Election. This is a new dynamic in the race, as Martinez will surely have strong support in the district’s north, but Howes will likely have a strong turnout in the district’s West. It all comes down to who can win over Waltham, the childhood home of Martinez. For that reason, this is a toss-up race in the primary, but unfortunately, thanks to the district’s very Democratic nature, both candidates will have a tough fight ahead against any of the Democratic candidates.
State House of Representatives
Second Essex District-
Robert Cronin (R-Boxford) vs. Gary Fowler (R-Georgetown) vs. Leonard Mirra (R-West Newbury)
A three way Republican primary for the right to help the GOP with its best State Rep pick-up opportunity this fall. Longtime State Rep. Harriett Stanley (D-West Newbury) is calling it quits, and this district has been made much more Republican in redistricting. Cronin is a former Revere City Councilor, and has worked as the Boxford Sealer of Weights and Measures and Associate Commissioner of the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (Swift Appointee). Fowler is a Georgetown Selectman, and Mirra is a West Newbury Businessman. Each candidate will carry their respective portion of the district, but Cronin seems to have the advantage in the ground game, so I think he has the advantage going into today, but any one of the three could easily emerge victorious. They will face Barry Fogel (D-West Newbury) who is unopposed in the Democratic Primary.
Second Hampden District-
Marie Angelides (R-Longmeadow) vs. Jack Villamaino (R-East Longmeadow)
Another primary re-match of 2010. Marie Angelides is a Selectwoman and an Attorney and lost narrowly to Incumbent Democratic Rep. Brian Ashe (D-Longmeadow) in 2010. Jack Villamaino was a Selectman in East Longmeadow, but recently resigned amidst a voter fraud investigation in that town after absentee ballots had been requested for numerous residents without their knowledge. As a result, with Villamaino essentially out of the race (though not officially), I think Angelides should coast to another primary win, and should be a serious contender for this seat, especially considering the district has lost its portions of Springfield which had been Ashe’s secret to victory for the past two elections.
Fifth Middlesex District-
William Callahan (R-Natick) WRITE-IN
Veteran William Callahan just retired from the US Army, and was not able to launch his campaign until very recently thanks to strict DoD regulations. He is hoping to challenge longtime State Rep. David Linksy (D-Natick) in what can be a tough district for Republicans, but voted for Scott Brown in 2010. Callahan will need 150 write-in votes to make the ballot, and we sure hope he will. He should be a solid challenger in a district that is all too often left unopposed by Republicans.
Twenty-First Middlesex District-
Walter Zenkin (R-Burlington) WRITE-IN
Another primary caused by strange election dynamics. It had appeared that State Rep. Charlie Murphy (D-Burlington) was running for re-election, and would fend off a challenge from Zenkin, a Burlington Selectman, who was planning to run as an Independent after the deadline to change his voter registration to petition his way on the ballot as a Republican had already passed. Zenkin then was given the wrong forms to make the ballot as an Independent, and missed the deadline. As a result he then announced he would run as a Republican through a write-in campaign for the primary. Like Callahan, he will need 150 write-in votes to make it, and again, we are definitely rooting for him. After already making it on the ballot, Murphy then announced he would retire to the private sector, and would resign. Thus a Democratic write-in effort has been started, however, the candidates there will need not only 150 write-in votes, but will need to garner more votes than Murphy will carry by merely being on the ballot. Murphy then again added to the confusion, and has since announced he will not resign, but will still retire from the State House after his term ends in December. Zenkin should be in good shape to make it to the general election, and will be a strong contender in November.
Thirty-Sixth Middlesex District-
George Boag (R-Dracut) vs. Cathy Richardson (R-Dracut)
Incumbent Democratic Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut) is likely to face the toughest race of her career this November, and two Republicans are battling it out for the GOP Nomination. George Boag is a Local UAW member, and lost to Garry in 2010, Cathy Richardson is a Dracut Selectwoman. Both candidates will be able to make this a close race, but I think Richardson has the advantage of the primary, considering her, and her family’s hard work and devotion to the GOP in the Merrimack Valley.
Tenth Norfolk District-
Richard Eustis (R-Medway) vs. John Jewell (R-Franklin) vs. Stolle Singleton (R-Franklin)
In Franklin, former member of the leadership, Democratic State Rep. Jim Vallee (D-Franklin) is retiring, leaving a messy primary on both sides of the political divide that has left the town swamped in political signs and standouts. On the Republican side, we have Attorney Richard Eustis who is the only candidate from Medway in this race, Biotech Researcher, School Committeeman and GOP RTC Chairman John Jewell, and first time candidate, a former policy advisor to the Massachusetts House Republican Caucus, Stolle Singleton. The candidates range the age spectrum, but are all running solid campaigns as strong fiscal conservatives. It is hard to tell who has the upper hand in this primary. Eustis has a base of support all to himself in Medway, and while Jewell has deep roots in Franklin, Singleton has been able to run a strong campaign with much help from her experience on Beacon Hill. This is really a toss-up.
Sixth Plymouth District-
Daniel Webster (R-Hanson) vs. Karen Barry (R-Duxbury) WRITE-IN
State Rep Dan Webster is a five term conservative incumbent Republican, so in any usual circumstance, you’d have to wonder why there is a write-in effort being launched by Karen Barry of Duxbury, Webster’s former Campaign Manager, daughter of former State Rep Charles Mann, and longtime GOP activist. However, Webster has been making local Republicans nervous following his close win in the 2010 Republican landslide, and his legal and ethical challenges that have unfortunately been well-documented by a similarly named website. Write-In efforts against candidates already on the ballot are generally very difficult, but we’ll have to see if Barry’s roots are strong enough in the community.
Second Worcester District-
Richard Bastien (R-Gardner) vs. Scott Graves (R-Gardner)
In 2010, State Rep. Richard Bastien took an open seat from the Democrats, putting Gardner back in Republican hands after nearly ten years. However, he is being challenged by Gardner City Councilor and Attorney Scott Graves. This race has had some fireworks, considering some testy back and forths between the candidates, and discussion on the legalization of fireworks, which Bastien is major supporter of. Graves is certainly the underdog, considering his lack of name recognition in the non-Gardner portion of the district, but anything could happen.
Fifteenth Worcester District-
Brian O’Malley (R-Worcester) vs. Jeffrey Potter (R-Worcester) WRITE-IN
This is the new minority-majority district in Worcester, left vacant by the resignation of former Democratic State Rep. Vincent Pedone (D-Worcester). It’s also very Democratic, and there is a very spirited Democratic primary going on. The GOP side is less spirited. Brian O’Malley is self-described “working class citizen” and is already on the ballot, and is being challenged by a primary write-in effort by Jeffrey Potter, who missed the filing deadline. Given the low key nature of this primary, O’Malley surely has the advantage here.