Ballotpedia's 2012 General Election Review Articles: Massachusetts Congressional Seats

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December 5, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional team


MADISON, Wisconsin: Massachusetts had nine U.S. House seats on the ballot in 2012. Eight total incumbents sought re-election on November 6, 2012.

Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District was the closest race in the general election. Incumbent John Tierney (D) narrowly defeated Richard Tisei (R) by a little over 1 percentage point. This close race largely stemmed from legal problems Tierney's wife had in 2010, in addition to Tisei's socially liberal and fiscally conservative views. The only open seat in Massachusetts, the 4th Congressional District, saw Joseph Kennedy III (D) win retiring Democratic congressman Barney Frank's seat by over 24 percentage points.

Here are the candidates who won election from Massachusetts.

District General Election Candidates Incumbent 2012 Winner Partisan Switch?
1st Democratic Party Richard Neal John Olver Democratic Party Richard Neal No
2nd Democratic Party Jim McGovern Richard Neal Democratic Party Jim McGovern No
3rd Democratic Party Niki Tsongas
Republican Party Jon Golnik
Jim McGovern Democratic Party Niki Tsongas No
4th Democratic Party Joseph Kennedy III
Republican Party Sean Bielat
Independent David Rosa
Barney Frank Democratic Party Joseph Kennedy III No
5th Democratic Party Ed Markey
Republican Party Tom Tierney
Niki Tsongas Democratic Party Ed Markey No
6th Democratic Party John Tierney
Republican Party Richard Tisei
Libertarian Party Daniel Fishman
John Tierney Democratic Party John Tierney No
7th Democratic Party Michael Capuano
Independent Karla Romero
Ed Markey Democratic Party Michael Capuano No
8th Democratic Party Stephen Lynch
Republican Party Joe Selvaggi
Michael Capuano Democratic Party Stephen Lynch No
9th Democratic Party William Keating
Republican Party Christopher Sheldon
Independent Daniel Botelho
Stephen Lynch Democratic Party William Keating No
10th District Removed in Redistricting Bill Keating N/A N/A

Members of the U.S. House from Massachusetts -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 10 9
     Republican Party 0 0
Total 10 9

Margin of victory for winners

There were a total of 9 seats up for election in 2012 in Massachusetts. The following table shows the margin of victory for each district winner, which is calculated by examining the percentage difference between the top-two vote getters. If the race was uncontested, the margin of victory is listed as 100%.
DistrictWinnerMargin of VictoryTotal VoteTop Opponent
U.S. House, Massachusetts District 1 General Election Democratic Party Richard Neal76.6%336,555All Others
U.S. House, Massachusetts District 2 General Election Democratic Party Jim McGovern74.5%342,736All Others
U.S. House, Massachusetts District 3 General Election Democratic Party Niki Tsongas30.7%335,111Jon Golnik
U.S. House, Massachusetts District 4 General Election Democratic Party Joseph Kennedy III24.5%373,114Sean Bielat
U.S. House, Massachusetts District 5 General Election Democratic Party Ed Markey47.9%364,201Tom Tierney
U.S. House, Massachusetts District 6 General Election Democratic Party John Tierney1.1%389,852Richard Tisei
U.S. House, Massachusetts District 7 General Election Democratic Party Michael Capuano59.5%285,134Karla Romero
U.S. House, Massachusetts District 8 General Election Democratic Party Stephen Lynch48.9%371,694Joe Selvaggi
U.S. House, Massachusetts District 9 General Election Democratic Party William Keating24.9%385,799Christopher Sheldon

National picture

Both chambers of the United States Congress remain split after the November 6, 2012 election. Democrats increased their majority in the U.S. Senate while cutting into the Republicans majority in the U.S. House. Of the 435 candidates who won election to the U.S. House, 85 of them were challengers, which represents 19.5 percent of U.S. House members. Of those 85, 50 are Democratic and 35 are Republican. A total of 27 incumbents were defeated -- 10 Democratic and 17 Republican.

2012 United States House General Election Results
Party Total Winners Incumbent Winners Defeated Incumbents Incumbent Re-Election Rate** Non-Incumbent Winners
Democratic 201 151 10 93.8% 50
Republican 234 198 17 92.1% 35
TOTALS 435 349 27 92.8% 85
**Note: The incumbent re-election rate is calculated by dividing the total incumbents winners by the total incumbents who appeared on the general election ballot.
U.S. Senate Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 51 53
     Republican Party 47 45
     Independent 2 2
Total 100 100
U.S. House Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 193 201
     Republican Party 242 234
Total 435 435

See also