UPDATED!: Massachusetts’s State Primary: An Incumbency Protection Racket

All political eyes in Massachusetts are fixed on March 1, 2016 and the Commonwealth’s Presidential Preference Primary.  As part of the semi-national “Super Tuesday” primary, the nominee’s of both the Democratic and Republican Parties for President of the United States will likely be sewed up that cold March evening.


But as readers of RedMassGroup.com are also well aware, races for State Committee man & woman for all of the recognized parties will also be elected on March 1st.  The Republicans alone have 56 contested races for State Committee on their ballots.  In addition, every local Town & Ward Committee member will be chosen that day.  Between all parties, voter turnout could exceed 1.2 million.


As such a showcase, March 1st would ostensively be a perfect time to host nominating contests for all state offices to be elected on the first Tuesday in November.  After all, as any local town or city clerk can tell you, elections aren’t free.  They cost tens of thousands of dollars to hold.


Alas, Massachusetts is more concerned with protecting incumbents from a lengthy general election, so instead the Massachusetts Primary for every State, County, and Congressional race will take place during the last primary held anywhere in the United States.  As in Dead Last.  Yup, when Massachusetts voters, at least those who remember, turnout to vote on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, they will be the last voters in the entire United States of America (and it’s territories) to cast a primary election ballot.


With such a short general election window, the advantages to incumbents, the vast majority of them Democrats, are enormous.  The September 20th date is even a week later than our own neighbors in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and months later than our fellow New Englanders in Maine, Vermont, and Connecticut.


Just when you thought the Democrat Party couldn’t find another way to protect it’s own, they find yet another way.


It is long past time Massachusetts was no longer “Last in the Nation” in voting.  It’s time to join the 30 of 50 States who currently hold their Congressional, State, and County Primaries before June 30th.  Let’s have a real General Election race again.


UPDATE:  The original source linked in this piece was the Federal Election Commission schedule for Primaries and Caucuses as of October 15, 2015 (linked above).  On November 2, 2015, the State Legislature passed amendments to Chapter 119 of the Acts of 2015 changing the date to September 8, 2016.  This makes Massachusetts only the 50th of 55 U.S. States, Territories, and the District of Columbia in holding a state primary or caucus, not the 55th.   Apologies for my error.

About Paul R. Ferro

Paul R. Ferro is Senior Editor at RedMassGroup.com. The 9th registered user of RedMassGroup.com, Paul has been with RMG from it’s inception. He’s also a former 4-term Marlborough City Councilor and currently serves as Chairman of the Marlborough Republican City Committee. You can follow him on twitter @PaulFerro

  • Patricia Doherty

    True, very true.

  • Robert Grove

    You are spot on regarding moving the primary date. A short general election campaign absolutely favors incumbents in more ways than one. In the First Hampden Hampshire in 2014, 5 Dem Senate candidates had the media’s attention from March until Sept. In that time they were able to select the issues and set the agenda for the media, giving Deb Boronski only 8 weeks to try and make her case on the issues favorable to her. It’s an impossible task and Republican candidates need to do a better job of working with the media to get their message across. A sitting Rep or Senator has the media’s attention for 365 days a year for 2 complete years. It’s absurd for a Republican candidate to think they can overcome that issue between Labor day and election day. Until primary day is moved back and made earlier, as you suggest, challengers need to adjust their thinking about campaign planning and the media.

  • RWB

    Any citizen that has been paying attention should be well aware that the Massachusetts Democratic Party manipulates the time and manner of elections to the advantage of loyal party candidates. What remains to be seen is an effect response from the Massachusetts Republican Party. If the matter were up to me I would start Republican campaigns on July 22nd.