Incumbents win big locally

Rebeca Oliveira

Gazette Photo by Lori DeSantis
Poll workers and neighborhood voters gather at the Woodbourne Apartments at the corner of Hyde Park Avenue and Woodbourne on Sept. 14 for the primary vote. From left to right: Lucia Welch and her dog, Zuzu’s Petals; Merian Gabriel; John Mannix; Erik Portnoy, Michael Carr; Joseph Napolitano; and Jesse Steele. Woodbourne and Forest Hills had several interesting races.

With a turnout of a mere 15.5 percent of registered voters in Boston, last Tuesday’s primary elections essentially decided the fate of one national and several state elections as well as narrowing the field for a few more.

The candidates without further opposition in November are incumbents Sonia Chang-Díaz in the state senate’s 2nd Suffolk district, and, in the state house of representatives, Russell Holmes for the 6th Suffolk district [See related article] and incumbents Jeffrey Sánchez for the 15th Suffolk district and Liz Malia for the 11th Suffolk.

The 2nd Suffolk state senate district covers most of JP, and in the 6th Suffolk state rep district includes Woodbourne and part of Forest Hills. The 11th and 15th Suffolk state rep. districts each cover about half of JP.

With no Republican challengers in these races, Tuesday’s winners should win their seats back by default in November.

“It feels good this morning. I got eight hours of sleep and 66 percent,” Chang-Díaz said last Wednesday, calling the numbers “ tremendously affirming results.”

“I’m very happy,” Sánchez told the Gazette in a phone interview. “I’m a little tired. It was a long couple of weeks.”

“We made sure the people were coming out” to vote, he said, adding that his campaign “probably made over 2,000 calls” on election day to mobilize voters.

Sánchez said he isn’t planning on taking any time off now that the election is over. “There is no such thing as being unplugged when you’re elected,” he said. “But I love the job, and I throw myself wholeheartedly into it.”

“There are a lot of people to thank,” Chang-Díaz said, noting that her plans involve “catching up” on regular state Senate business.

Chang-Díaz defeated Hassan Williams, who campaigned on the basis of economic development and public safety.

“We’re still going to fight. We’re fighting to win,” Williams told the Gazette on Wednesday. “Two years from now, you’ll see us again.”

Chang-Díaz said she had not heard this from Williams, who, she said, gave a “very gracious concession” on Tuesday night.

Sánchez defeated Jeffrey Herman. One of Herman’s main issues was the legalization of medicinal marijuana.

“I’d like to express a sincere, heartfelt thanks to all who supported me, volunteered for me and contributed to my campaign to move the Commonwealth forward,” Herman told the Gazette in an e-mail last Wednesday.

Liz Malia ran unopposed in her district and faces no challenger in November.

Mike Capuano will run unopposed in November for Massachusetts’s 8th district in the US House of Representatives, which covers most of JP.

Challenges are still ahead in November: US Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Democrat, will have to defend his seat in the 9th congressional district, which covers Forest Hills and Woodbourne, from Republican Vernon Harrison and Independent Phil Dunkelbarger. Mike Rush will face Brad Williams for the Suffolk and Norfolk District seat in the state house of representatives.

“Congress is broken. They’re crippling our economy. They’re getting in the way of business, and Stephen Lynch has become part of the problem,” Harrison said in a press release. He said he credits his win to grassroots outreach and to independent and disaffected voters.

Lynch defeated newcomer Mac D’Alessandro last Tuesday for the democratic nomination.

“I am deeply honored to once again be the Democratic nominee,” Lynch said in a press release. “I am thankful for the great show of support and I look forward to carrying the Democratic nomination into the general election.”

“We’re disappointed but very, very proud of what we were able to accomplish in a very short amount of time,” D’Alessandro told the Gazette in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Even though we lost the election, there remains a great deal at stake… to insure we’re fighting for the things that are important to this district and this country.”

D’Alessandro said he will spend the next several weeks getting reacquainted with his family and helping to plan his daughter’s sixth birthday party.

Sánchez said he thought the turnout wasn’t bad, “I think we did better than we might’ve done in previous primaries. It was low, but I’ve seen it lower.”

John Donovan of the Elections Department said he hoped the turnout would have been higher, but that he “would take it for what it’s worth,” noting that it wasn’t the worst turnout for a primary without major contests.

Other primary winners include Deval Patrick (governor), Tim Murray (lt. governor), Martha Coakley (attorney general), William Galvin (secretary of state), Steven Grossman (treasurer) and Suzanne Bump (auditor) on the Democratic side. The Republicans on the Nov. 2 ballot will be Charles Baker (governor), Richard Tisei (lt. governor), Jim McKenna, (attorney general) William Campbell (secretary of state), Karyn Polito (treasurer) and Mary Connaughton (auditor).

Correction: the version of this story published in the Sept. 24 issue of the Gazette contained an error: Jim McKenna won enough write-in votes to earn a spot on the Nov. 2 ballot, running for attorney general against incumbent Martha Coakley.

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