Democratic attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan announced that she is exiting the Massachusetts party primary, which effectively leaves Sen. Ed Markey (D) to face Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) in a one-on-one battle. Previously, author Steve Pemberton dropped his bid just shortly after Rep. Kennedy announced his candidacy in October. This will be the nation’s top Senate primary challenge and settled a bit earlier than originally planned. The legislature and Governor recently took action to move the September 15th election date to September 1st.
Originally, Massachusetts had scheduled the nation’s latest state primary on September 15th. That has now changed. The legislature took action and Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed a bill to move this year’s primary to September 1st. The stand-alone presidential primary will take place on Super Tuesday, March 3rd, as originally planned.
The date change most directly affects the Democratic US Senate primary between incumbent Ed Markey and Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton). This is expected to be one of the few partisan primary battles in any Senate state and promises to provide an interesting result.
The 3rd District House race could be affected, too. Freshman Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Lowell), who defeated former Boston Mayoral chief of staff Dan Loh by just 145 votes, is expected to face another primary challenge from her top opponent. Since the 2018 election, Mr. Loh was elected as an Andover town Selectman and the House Ethics Committee is now investigating Ms. Trahan’s campaign finances.
The House Ethics Committee announced that it is broadening its investigation of freshman Massachusetts Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Lowell) over questionable 2018 campaign loans that totaled approximately $300,000. Her closest Democratic primary contender, former Mayoral chief of staff Dan Koh who has since been elected an Andover city Selectman, has been weighing a challenge opportunity against her in the September Democratic primary. Losing to Ms. Trahan by only 145 votes a year ago, and now seeing her under investigation by an Ethics Committee controlled by their own party, certainly gives Mr. Koh more impetus to run.
His statement yesterday saying, “[T]he voters of the Third District deserve a full, honest account of her conduct during the election and the consulting clients she claims funded her campaign,” gives the impression that Mr. Koh is more likely to run. A Trahan-Koh Democratic primary would certainly be a competitive election particularly under the current circumstances surrounding the new incumbent.
Long before the presidential election cycle began, then-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, thought to be a prospective presidential candidate, publicly stated his intention not to run. Looking at the current race status, Mr. Patrick says he is reconsidering his decision and now is examining whether he could still forge a path to the party nomination. It seems a long shot at best, especially with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren already being one of the top three contenders, but we have seen similarly formidable odds not stopping other potential candidates.
Looking at former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton, and Mr. Patrick as as potentially viable last-minute entries, it appears that the current large field is still not necessarily set during what now must be considered a late entry point.
Arguably, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton’s (D-Salem) most credible Democratic primary opponent has ended her campaign. Salem City Councilwoman Lisa Peterson was originally viewed to be a serious opponent, but her fundraising lagged – only $37,000 raised – and said on Friday that she doesn’t detect a willingness from the local Democratic electorate to replace the Congressman. Therefore, Ms. Peterson will not become a candidate in next year’s primary.
Mr. Moulton entered the presidential contest but failed to get untracked, not qualifying for any of the debate forums and never registering in polling. He still has three announced Democratic congressional opponents, but none appear to have the potential of mounting serious campaigns. Therefore, today, Rep. Moulton looks strong for re-nomination and re-election. He was originally elected in 2014 when denying then-Rep. John Tierney re-nomination and has averaged 72.4% in general elections.
Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Salem), back running for re-election since his presidential effort failed to become credible, now faces at least four Democrats in the state’s September 15th primary election. This weekend, communications consultant Angus McQuilken announced his candidacy. He joins Salem City Councilwoman Lisa Peterson, businessman Nathaniel Mulcahy, and non-profit executive Jamie Zahlaway Belsito in the primary campaign.
The large number of candidates likely ensures that Rep. Moulton will win re-nomination because he can do so with just a plurality of the vote. Ms. Peterson was rated as the strongest potential challenger, but reports raising only $37,000 for the cycle according to her September 30th filing.
While the new MassInc Polling Group survey (10/18-20; 456 MA likely Democratic primary voters) gives home state Sen. Elizabeth Warren a 33-18-13% lead over former Vice President Joe Biden and neighboring Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the news is better for Mr. Biden in the other most recent surveys.
Looking at both the latest HarrisX (10/21-22; 440 US likely Democratic primary voters) and Emerson College (10/18-21; 430 US likely Democratic primary voters) small sample national surveys, Mr. Biden holds the national lead in both. HarrisX finds him topping Warren and Sanders, 27-19-14%, while Emerson sees Sanders moving past Warren for second as both trail the ex-VP in a tight margin, 27-25-21%.
In critically important California with its 416 first ballot Democratic convention votes, Survey USA (10/15-16; 553 CA likely Democratic primary voters) finds that Biden is beginning to pull away. According to the S-USA tabulations, the former Vice President now holds a 33-18-17% advantage over Warren and Sanders. Home state Senator Kamala Harris again fares poorly in her home state, registering only single digits (8%) within her own electorate.
Author and businessman Steve Pemberton, who announced his US Senate candidacy back in July, has withdrawn from the Bay State race, citing a “rigged political system.” Mr. Pemberton on leaving the contest said that he, “ran into an impenetrable wall of legacy and birthright — of incumbency and connections” thus denying him the ability to construct a viable campaign.
Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) entering the race to challenge incumbent Sen. Ed Markey in the Democratic primary makes this campaign very difficult for any other candidate. Attorney Sharon Liss-Riordan remains, but it is already clear that she will continue as a minor candidate.
The Massachusetts primary is not scheduled until September 15th, so what appears to be evolving into a Markey-Kennedy race will develop over a long campaign cycle. Early polling suggests that Rep. Kennedy has a strong chance of denying Sen. Markey re-nomination, but the long-serving Representative and Senator is sending signals that he will wage an aggressive campaign to keep his position.
Saying that, “…the outdated structures and old rules, the everyday oppressions and injustices that hold our people back,” Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) officially announced his Senatorial candidacy for Democratic nomination, meaning a direct challenge to Sen. Ed Markey. The move sets up a year-long campaign, as the Massachusetts state primary won’t be held until September 15, 2020. Sen. Markey responded quickly, announcing an endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez (D-NY) and challenging Kennedy and his two other opponents to a climate change debate in the “near future.”
Mr. Kennedy’s move means the 4th Congressional District will be open and leaves what will be a highly competitive Democratic primary in his wake. There are now 21 open seats for the 2020 election cycle, just five of which the majority Democrats hold.
The Associated Press is running with a story that indicates Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) will announce his Senatorial campaign Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Ed Markey tomorrow. There has been much speculation about such an impending race, and now the predicted move looks to have legs. Rep. Kennedy recently said he would decide in a few weeks, but apparently the timetable has accelerated. Sen. Markey, who has been in Congress since 1977, shows no signs of retiring. This campaign has a long election cycle. The Massachusetts state primary is not until September 15, 2020.
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