Yesterday, we listed a number of prominent Democrats whose names are being mentioned as potential challengers to GOP Gov. Charlie Baker as he prepares to run for a third term. One individual who immediately said he won’t challenge Mr. Baker, however, is outgoing Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton). Mr. Kennedy, just coming off a long US Senate primary campaign that he lost to Sen. Ed Markey (D), says he is looking forward to “taking a breather from elective politics,” but holding a position within the new Biden Administration would be of interest.
Yesterday, we mentioned that former Massachusetts state Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Plymouth), who was the Republican US Senate nominee against incumbent Elizabeth Warren (D) in 2018, is a potential Republican primary challenger to Gov. Charlie Baker. Today, we see several Democratic names coming to the forefront.
Already announced is Harvard University political theorist Danielle Allen. Media reports suggest that Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone (D) is also testing the waters for a statewide run. They also mention top Democratic politicos such as Attorney General Maura Healey, Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Newton), Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and former state Senator Ben Downing as possible candidates, but there is no evidence that any of them will launch a campaign. Despite Massachusetts’ strong Democratic foundation, Gov. Baker appears well positioned to win a third term.
Former Massachusetts state Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Plymouth), who was the Republican US Senate nominee against incumbent Elizabeth Warren (D) in 2018, is making political noises suggesting he is considering challenging Gov. Charlie Baker (R) for re-nomination.
Gov. Baker continues to be rated as one of the most liked Governors in the nation, often placing first in such polling among the 50 state chief executives, but those strong numbers largely come from the state’s Democratic voters. His standing within his own Republican Party is much weaker. Gov. Baker is expected to seek a third term in 2022. This is a developing story.
Not yet even sworn into the House of Representatives, incoming Massachusetts freshman Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Newton) has already drawn a re-election opponent. Former Attleboro City Councilmember Julie Hall (R), who recorded just over 39% in the 2020 general election, announced that she will seek a re-match in 2022. Mr. Auchincloss’ more serious potential opponent, however, could come in the form of a Democratic primary challenge in September of 2021.
Most states also decided ballot propositions on many subjects, and several considered changes in their electoral systems.
Alaska voters were asked to consider a new primary system that would feature four candidates advancing into the general election. Though almost half the votes are still not counted, it appears the measure will be defeated. At this point, more than 56% have voted No.
Florida has a 60% rule for adopting ballot measures. Therefore, even though 57% of voters approved changing their primary system to a top-two jungle primary, the measure failed to reach the required passage percentage and thus dies.
For years, Mississippi has had a law that required statewide candidates to carry a majority of state House districts in addition to winning the aggregate popular vote. In an overwhelming result, with a 78% majority, the voters scrapped the system and future elections will be decided only from the statewide popular vote count.
Massachusetts voters were asked to approve a measure to adopt Maine’s Ranked Choice Voting system where each candidate is ranked at the voting booth. If no one receives 50% of the vote, the last place candidate is dropped and the ballots that show the last place candidate as the first choice are found and their second choice is added to the count. The Bay State voters rejected the change with almost 55% of the vote.
Two states made changes in their redistricting process. Missouri changed the parameters of a previously adopted procedure that gave power to a state demographer. The measure, passing with 51%, removes the state demographer from the process. Virginia voters, with just under a 66% margin, adopted a new legislator/citizen commission process that will remove map drawing responsibilities solely from the legislative process. The legislature and Governor, however, must approve the commission-drawn maps or the state Supreme Court will assume such responsibility at the end of the process.
After trailing most of the night, Newton City Councilman Jake Auchincloss has taken a lead in the tight Democratic primary campaign to replace Rep. Joe Kennedy III that could translate into an ultimate victory. Now with 96% of precincts counted, and an undetermined number of absentee ballots remaining to be counted, Mr. Auchincloss holds a 1,430 vote lead over former Brookline Selectwoman Jesse Mermell.
Mr. Auchincloss is an Afghan War veteran who has come under fire from Democrats for previously being a Republican and taking some past conservative positions. He is clearly in the best position to win after trailing for most of last night, however. The ending Tuesday night count found Ms. Mermell leading by just 105 votes. Over 146,000 votes have been tabulated. The projected final turnout was approximately 150,000, so there are likely a few thousand outstanding votes. If the uncounted total is only 4,000 or so, it would be very difficult for Ms. Mermell to overturn the four-digit lead since the vote would be divided among all nine individuals listed on the ballot.
As predicted in late polling, incumbent Sen. Ed Markey defeated Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Newton) last night to win the Democratic US Senate nomination, a victory that realistically assures him of another six-year term. He scored a 55.5-45.5% margin that translated into a vote spread of more than 131,000 with still approximately 20% of the ballots outstanding. It was a solid victory for the 48-year Massachusetts political veteran, and a first-time defeat for a member of the Kennedy family in 27 Bay State Democratic primaries.
In the House races, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) came through against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse for a 59-41% win in the western 1st District, while in Boston, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston) ran past physician Robbie Goldstein with a 66-34% victory margin. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Salem) in the 6th District was the only other House incumbent who drew primary opposition and won with 77% of the vote.
Rep. Kennedy’s successor in the open 4th District may not be decided for what could be a prolonged period because it is likely that the late-arriving absentee ballots will decide the final total.
Former Brookline Select member Jesse Mermell leads Newton City Councilman Jake Auchincloss by just 105 votes with a projected approximate 25,000 votes remaining to be counted. The eventual Democratic primary winner will claim the seat in the Fall. Seven other contenders were on the ballot, but the race is clearly coming down to Ms. Mermell and Mr. Auchincloss.
Bay State voters go to the polls today for their long-awaited primary election. The main event is the Democratic US Senate primary featuring veteran incumbent Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Newton). Polls suggest Sen. Markey has the closing advantage.
In the House races, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) faces a serious opponent in Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse for the western state seat, while in Boston, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston) should repel a lesser challenge from physician Robbie Goldstein. Rep. Kennedy’s successor in the open 4th District will be decided tonight in the heavily Democratic CD. Polling suggests that Newton City Councilman Jake Auchincloss and business non-profit executive Jesse Mermell are in a dead heat among seven active Democratic primary candidates.
The 1st District Democratic congressional primary will culminate on Tuesday, and a just-released new poll from RABA Research for the Jewish Insider blog (8/23-24; 518 MA-1 likely voters, including 280 Democratic likely primary participants and 230 Independent voters who say they will vote in the Democratic primary) finds incumbent Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield), chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, expanding his lead over Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse to 49-40%. Previously, we saw a 46-41% split from an earlier Beacon Research survey (8/15-16; 391 MA-1 Democratic primary voters).
In a very rare move, a Republican Governor has endorsed a Democratic primary candidate. Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced his support for Mr. Neal as the two candidates grind out the remaining days before the primary election. Mr. Baker has such strong approval ratings that his standing is positive even among Democrats.
As the Massachusetts Senate race draws to a close on Tuesday, three individual polling firms are reporting similar numbers with each finding Sen. Ed Markey (D) expanding his lead over Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Newton).
Data for Progress (8/24-25; 732 MA likely or possible Democratic primary voters) posts Sen. Markey to a 46-38% edge over Rep. Kennedy. Among the 16% who describe themselves as undecided, the respondents who provided feedback as to how they are leaning report breaking for Mr. Kennedy by a 30-28% margin. Merging the leans with the previous sample provides Sen. Markey an adjusted 50-43% advantage.
Suffolk University (8/23-25; 500 MA likely Democratic primary voters) finds Sen. Markey, with leaners to both candidates included, holding a similar 51-41% lead. Finally, the University of Massachusetts at Lowell (8/13-21; 800 MA likely Democratic primary voters) sees almost the same standing in the Democratic US Senate race. Their totals project Sen. Markey to a 52-40% margin.
The Rundown Blog
Learn more about the candidates running in key elections across the United States.