Massachusetts Primary Election

By Andrew LaBerge

Today, Tuesday, September 1st, 2020, primary elections are occurring across Massachusetts. Ballots have been cast via mail during the early voting period (August 22-28), and will be submitted on election day.

Senate Race:

The largest of the primary elections revolve around incumbent Ed Markey's Senate seat. Markey was elected to the Senate after winning the 2013 special election. He went on to finish John Kerry's term and run for reelection in 2014. He won, garnering 62% of the vote. This time Markey is challenged by Joe Kennedy III, current Representative for MA-04.

Both candidates share similar policy positions: support for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and ending racial inequality. While Markey has an edge with younger voters, Kennedy's moderate stances might resonate more with voters who helped Joe Biden carry the state on Super Tuesday.

While a "Kennedy" has never lost in Massachusetts before, recent polls have been trending in favor of Senator Markey. Only time will tell who wins this toss-up race.

MA-01: Located in Western Massachusetts, the 1st congressional district is held by Richard Neal, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. He is challenged by Alex Morse, the mayor of Holyoke.

Morse, who was born a year after Neal first took office in 1988, has received endorsements from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang. He has advocated for progressive policies like Medicare for All, Universal Basic Income, and the cancellation of student debt.

Thanks in part to his incumbency advantage, Neal was up 5 points in a Beacon Research poll; however, Morse has been steadily closing the gap. Progressives in the district are looking forward to their work paying off on election day for the LGBTQ mayor to unseat Rep. Neal.

MA-04: With Joe Kennedy III giving up his office to run for Senate, numerous candidates are trying their hand to capture the open seat. Candidates include Jake Auchincloss, Becky Grossman, Alan Khazei, Natalia Linos, Isshane Lecky, Jesse Mermell, and Ben Sigel. Each candidate offers a different perspective due to their diverse and various backgrounds.

  • Auchincloss served in the Marine Corp. and became a Newton City Council member in 2015.

  • Grossman was the Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex County and is also a member of the Newton City Council.

  • Khazei co-founded the non-profit City Year and assisted with the creation of Americorps.

  • Linos, a social epidemiologist, is the director of the Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University.

  • Lecky, an immigrant from Morocco, is a Wall Street Regulator and describes herself as a democratic-socialist.

  • Mermell served as a Brookline select-board member and aide to former Governor Deval Patrick.

  • Sigel has been involved with the Democratic National Campaign Committee.

Julie Hall and David Rosa are both seeking the Republican nomination as well. Although polls have projected Mermell, Auchincloss, and Grossman relatively high, a frontrunner still has not emerged from this crowded field.

MA-06: Representing the areas north of Boston, namely Essex County and Salem, Seth Moulton is the incumbent Democrat, and is set for reelection. Moulton, who is challenged by Angus McQuilken and Jamie Zahlaway Belsit, has held his position since 2014.

All three candidates based their campaign on affordable health care for all, and have progressive stances on the issues that divide most Democratic candidates in other districts. Jamie heavily advocates for women's rights, specifically expanding voters rights, as well as fiercely endorsing women's reproductive rights. Where Jamie advocates for women's rights in the workplace, McQuilken seeks to rebuild the economy after COVID-19 setbacks. Moulton's paramount priority is national security, but strongly disagrees with Trump's stance on foreign policy.

MA-08: Covering the majority of the Boston area, the 8th congressional district places incumbent Democrat, Stephen Lynch, against infectious disease specialist Robbie Goldstein. Lynch has held the district since 2013.

Goldstein is a progressive candidate advocating for the welfare of the people in the 8th district. As a supporter of Universal Basic Income, as well as Medicare for All, Robbie serves the people. While Goldstein lacks what Lynch has in terms of political pedigree and experience, he promotes change and tangible ways to combat COVID-19.

Lynch, a moderate Democrat, offers a more conservative approach to policies. Having been in office and serving the 8th district since 2001, Lynch has a proven track record of voting conservative, as evidenced by his "no" on the Affordable Care Act. Lynch has been in office for nearly twenty years now, it could only be anticipated that he has an antiquated view of what his district needs.