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Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District elections, 2012

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Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
September 6, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Joseph Kennedy III Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Barney Frank Democratic Party
Barney Frank.jpg

Massachusetts U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9

2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Massachusetts.png
The 4th Congressional District of Massachusetts held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Joseph Kennedy III (D) won election to the U.S. House of Representative on November 6th, 2012.[1] His election came after long-time congressman Barney Frank (D) made the decision to retire.

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
June 5, 2012
September 6, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Massachusetts has a most closed primary system, in which the selection of a party's candidates in an election is limited to registered party members. In Massachusetts, however, independent voters may select which party's primary to vote in.

Voter registration: Voters were required to register to vote in the primary by August 17, 2012. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 17, 2012.[2]

See also: Massachusetts elections, 2012

Incumbent: Because Massachusetts lost a seat after the 2010 Census, the state's congressional districts went through significant changes. Prior to the election, the 4th Congressional District was represented by Barney Frank (D). However, Frank announced at the end of November 2011 that he would retire rather than seek re-election, stating that he didn't have the energy for a difficult campaign for a seat with 325,000 new voters. "I think I would have won but it would have been a tough campaign. I hate raising money," Frank said.[3]

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District was located in the southern portion of the state and included Middlesex, Norfolk, and Bristol counties.[4]

Candidates

Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals were added after official election results had been certified. For more information about Ballotpedia's election coverage plan, click here. If you find any errors in this list, please email: Geoff Pallay.

General election candidates

Democratic Party Joseph Kennedy IIIGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Sean Bielat
Independent David Rosa

Democratic Party September 6 Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

The 4th Congressional District of Massachusetts, prior to the 2010-2011 redistricting process

Election results

U.S. House, Massachusetts District 4 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJoseph Kennedy III 59.3% 221,303
     Republican Sean Bielat 34.8% 129,936
     Independent David Rosa 2.9% 10,741
     N/A All Others 0.1% 265
     N/A Blank Votes 2.9% 10,869
Total Votes 373,114
Source: Massachusetts Secretary of State "Return of Votes"

Democratic Primary

The primary took place on September 6, 2012.[11]

Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJoseph Kennedy III 90.1% 36,388
Rachel Brown 6.5% 2,611
Herb Robinson 3.4% 1,368
Total Votes 40,367

Republican Primary

The primary took place on September 6, 2012.[12]

Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngSean Bielat 73.3% 14,784
Elizabeth Childs 13.5% 2,727
David Steinhof 13.1% 2,649
Total Votes 20,160

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Massachusetts
The new 4th Congressional District of Massachusetts (in green)

According to news reports, the new composition of the 4th District may have pushed Rep. Barney Frank into retirement. WPRI suggested in November 2011 that the loss of New Bedford, a Democratic stronghold, to the new 9th District made the new 4th more competitive. And while traditionally blue areas like Brookline and Newton will remain in the 4th District, the expansion of the district included Republican-leaning towns along the Rhode Island border (North Attleboro, Plainville, and the hometown of Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown, Wrentham) gave the district a redder hue in the November 2012 elections.

In a formal statement, Frank cited the district changes as a reason for his departure, "The newly configured district contains approximately 325,000 new constituents, many of them in a region of the state that is wholly new to me as a Member of Congress. A significant number of others are in the area along our east-west border with Rhode Island which I have not represented for 20 years. This means that running for re-election will require – appropriately in our democracy – a significant commitment of my time and energy, introducing myself to hundreds of thousands of new constituents, learning about the regional and local issues of concern to them and, not least importantly, raising an additional $1.5 to $2 million."[13]

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012 study

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. Massachusetts' 4th District became less Democratic because of redistricting.[14]

  • 2012: 58D / 42R
  • 2010: 61D / 39R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measured each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District had a PVI of D+11, which was the 100th most Democratic district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 62-38 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, John Kerry (D) won the district 62-38 percent over George W. Bush (R).[15]

Polls

The Boston Herald conducted a poll in February 2012. While Joseph Kennedy had not yet officially entered the race, it was expected he would join shortly after the poll was conducted. The poll was meant to test the impact of the "Kennedy name" in the district.[16]

Sean Bielat vs. Joseph Kennedy III
Poll Joseph Kennedy III Sean BielatNeither/Don't knowMargin of ErrorSample Size
UMass Lowell/Boston Herald (February 2-4 and 6-8, 2011)
60%28%12%+/-6.4408
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Issues

On September 19, 2012 Sean Bielat released an open letter to Joseph Kennedy III. This letter accused Kennedy of "running on" his name, instead of engaging in public forms. Kennedy had previously agreed to participate in three non-televised debates.[17]

2012 Campaign donors

Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[18]March 31, 2012$5.07$1,548.99$(816.56)$737.50
July Quarterly[19]June 30, 2012$737.50$7,282.00$(7,938.64)$80.86
Running totals
$8,830.99$(8,755.2)

Joe Kennedy III

Joe Kennedy III (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[20]March 31, 2012$0.00$1,317,711.82$(193,868.66)$1,123,843.16
July Quarterly[21]June 30, 2012$1,123,833.26$1,286,898.78$(507,632.26)$1,903,099.78
Running totals
$2,604,610.6$(701,500.92)

Herb Robinson

Herb Robinson (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[22]March 31, 2012$1,687.85$3,372.90$(3,089.18)$1,971.57
July Quarterly[23]June 30, 2012$1,971.57$4,917.68$(5,892.11)$997.14
Running totals
$8,290.58$(8,981.29)

Elizabeth Childs

Elizabeth Childs (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[24]March 31, 2012$29,201.15$43,028.82$(36,212.72)$36,017.25
July Quarterly[25]June 30, 2012$36,017.25$50,693.70$(60,506.79)$26,204.16
Running totals
$93,722.52$(96,719.51)

Sean Bielat

Sean Bielat (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[26]March 31, 2012$0.00$176,385.87$(49,592.65)$126,793.22
July Quarterly[27]June 30, 2012$126,793.22$217,836.01$(181,803.76)$162,825.47
Running totals
$394,221.88$(231,396.41)

David Steinhof

David Steinhof (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[28]March 31, 2012$0.00$2,000.00$(469.41)$1,530.59
July Quarterly[29]June 30, 2012$1,530.59$18,486.00$(14,571.12)$5,445.47
Running totals
$20,486$(15,040.53)

District history

Candidate ballot accecss
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2010

On November 2, 2010, Barney Frank won re-election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Sean Bielat in the general election.[30]

U.S. House of Representatives, Massachusetts Congressional District 4 Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBarney Frank Incumbent 55.4% 125,825
     Republican Sean Bielat 44.6% 101,315
Total Votes 227,140

See also

References

  1. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Massachusetts"
  2. Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, "Voter Registration Information," accessed July 25, 2012
  3. Wall Street Journal, "Frank Won't Seek Re-Election," November 29, 2011
  4. Massachuestts Redistricting Map, "Map" accessed August 31, 2012
  5. Rachel Brown for Congress "Home" August 25, 2012
  6. Washington Post "Joe Kennedy III announces run for Barney Frank’s seat," February 15, 2012
  7. Official Herb Robinson Campaign Website
  8. Boston Globe "Brookline School Committee member readies run against Barney Frank," September 9, 2011
  9. Boston Globe "Sean Bielat to make 2d bid for Congress," January 18, 2012
  10. Herald News "Fall River dentist to run for Congress" August 25, 2012
  11. C-SPAN "2012 Election," October 4, 2012
  12. C-SPAN "2012 Election," October 4, 2012
  13. WPRI "New-look 4th District likely pushed Barney Frank to retire" August 25, 2012
  14. , "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Massachusetts," September 2012
  15. Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" accessed October 2012
  16. Boston Herald, "Poll: Joe Kennedy III has huge lead in U.S. Rep race," February 10, 2012
  17. Bielat's Offiical Campaign Website, "Press Releases" October 4, 2012
  18. Federal Election Commission, "Rachel Brown April Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  19. Federal Election Commission, "Rachel Brown July Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  20. Federal Election Commission, "Joe Kennedy III April Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  21. Federal Election Commission, "Joe Kennedy III July Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  22. Federal Election Commission, "Herb Robinson April Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  23. Federal Election Commission, "Herb Robinson July Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  24. Federal Election Commission, "Elizabeth Childs April Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  25. Federal Election Commission, "Elizabeth Childs July Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  26. Federal Election Commission, "Sean Bielat April Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  27. Federal Election Commission, "Sean Bielat July Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  28. Federal Election Commission, "Elizabeth Childs April Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  29. Federal Election Commission, "Elizabeth Childs July Quarterly," accessed July 2, 2012
  30. MSNBC "2010 Election Results"