Aside from the Presidential Election, the 2020 election season has been incredibly tumultuous and chaotic. This has been demonstrated by the uptick in Congressional incumbents facing primary challenges, many of which have succeeded. Massachusetts’ 8th Congressional District— anchored by the Boston suburbs— is no exception to this trend. This district is a Democratic stronghold, supporting Hillary Clinton by 60 percent in 2016. This means that whoever emerges victorious in the primary is basically set to win the election in November.
The current incumbent in MA-8 is Congressman Stephen Lynch, one of the more moderate Democrats in Massachusetts. Lynch has been representing the region for nearly twenty years in Congress and has built a lengthy record, which includes opposition to abortion, marijuana legalization, and voting against Obamacare, which makes him one of the few Democrats to have done so. Lynch leans progressive on other issues, such as LGBT rights, the environment, green energy, gun control, and labor rights.
Lynch’s main opponent in his re-election bid is Robbie Goldstein, a practicing physician from Boston. Goldstein is challenging Lynch from the left, espousing support for more progressive policies such as Medicare for All, direct cash relief, the Green New Deal, and the high-speed rail.
Goldstein has also attracted many endorsements, such as former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang and his organization, Humanity Forward, the Progressive Group, Our Revolution, and the climate change-oriented Sunrise Movement.
Current polling indicates that this is a close race, with 39 percent of voters supporting Lynch and 32 percent supporting Goldstein, putting Robbie in striking range. However, the large number of undecided voters show that there’s a lot of room for anything to happen here.
Recent history shows that Stephen Lynch has not run into any significant challenge within his district, winning there for two decades without breaking a sweat. In 2010, he defeated his most recent primary challenger by around 30 points. However, Lynch has proved to be ineffective in competitive races, as shown by his failed bid for the Massachusetts Senate seat, where he lost to then Congressman Ed Markey by a large margin in the primary. Lynch ran unopposed for his seat back in 2018 and has not had a serious primary challenger for about a decade. Due to Lynch not facing a competitive election in his district for a considerable time, it may be likely that Goldstein will best Lynch in this extremely close primary, but it is also equally likely that Lynch will bank on his seniority in the region to carry himself to yet another term in Congress.