Massachusetts' 1st Congressional District elections, 2012

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Massachusetts' 1st Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
September 6, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Richard Neal Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
John Olver Democratic Party
John Olver.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 1st Congressional District of Massachusetts held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Richard Neal (D) won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Massachusetts' 1st, on November 6th, 2012.[1] He had previously served as the representative for the 2nd District, but due to redistricting and the retirement of John Oliver, ran in Massachusetts' 1st.

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 1st Congressional District was represented by John Olver (D). However, Olver chose to retire rather than seek re-election. 2nd Congressional district incumbent Richard Neal ran in the 1st District and won election on November 6, 2012.

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Massachusetts' 1st Congressional District was located in the western portion of the state and included Berkshire, Franklin, and Hampden counties.[3]

The 1st Congressional District of Massachusetts, prior to the 2010-2011 redistricting process.


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 Richard NealGreen check mark transparent.png

Democratic Party September 6 Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

  • No candidates filed to run as Republicans.

Election results

General Results

U.S. House, Massachusetts District 1 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngRichard Neal Incumbent 77.8% 261,936
     N/A All Others 1.2% 4,197
     N/A Blank Votes 20.9% 70,422
Total Votes 336,555
Source: Massachusetts Secretary of State "Return of Votes"

Democratic Primary

The primary was held on September 6, 2012.[5]

Massachusetts' 1st Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngRichard E. Neal Incumbent 65.5% 40,165
Andrea Nuciforo 24.7% 15,123
Bill Shein 9.9% 6,048
Total Votes 61,336

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Massachusetts

Owing to the redistricting process, the borders of the new 1st District were redrawn to cover most of western Massachusetts, including the Berkshires, the Greater Springfield area and parts of south Worcester County.

According to the Daily Kos, "Incumbent Neal mostly says goodbye to the Five Colleges area (but keeps South Hadley) and sheds the Blackstone Valley portion of his district in the east (going no further east than East Brookfield and Dudley.) In return his new district consolidates the communities west (W. Springfield and Westfield) and north (Holyoke) of Springfield and adds all of Berkshire County and a collection of other small towns west of the Pioneer Valley. This district overall hangs together pretty well.

Despite the loss of heavily Democratic Northampton and Hadley and the addition of several conservative towns west of Springfield, the district, thanks to replacing a bunch of conservative Central Mass communities with more liberal Western Mass ones, Neal will end up with a D+13 district, a step up from his current D+9 seat. Neal’s challenge, of course, is that nearly half his district is new to him, though that’s a bit misleading insofar as many of those new constituents are from towns ringing Springfield who are probably at least a little familiar with him, the Berkshire County portion being the only territory where he’s a relative unknown."[6]

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' 1st District became more Democratic because of redistricting.[7]

  • 2012: 62D / 38R
  • 2010: 56D / 44R

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' 1st Congressional District had a PVI of D+14, which was the 78th most Democratic district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 66-34 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, John Kerry (D) won the district 64-36 percent over George W. Bush (R).[8]

Race background

Retiring Democratic congressman John Olver held the 1st Congressional District seat since 1991. Prior to Olver's tenure, the seat had been occupied by Silvio O. Conte, a Republican, since 1953.

Because of redistricting, Democratic Rep. Richard Neal from the old 2nd Congressional District ran for re-election in the new 1st District.

In early August, Democratic challengers Bill Shein and Andrea Nuciforo, Jr. expressed frustration that incumbent Richard Neal would only participate in 4 of 6 scheduled debates leading up to the primary.[9] Neal's spokesperson said, "Congressman Richie Neal always debates his political opponents during election season and this year will be no different. In fact, Congressman Neal was the first candidate in this race to accept debates in Springfield and Pittsfield, both of which involve multiple media outlets and are already scheduled."[10]



The following is a campaign ad released by Neal on the topic of social security, uploaded on June 19, 2012.[11]

Richard E. Neal, "Richard Neal Protecting Social Security"[12]

Campaign contributions

Richard E. Neal

Richard Neal (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[13]March 31, 2012$2,453,188.68$128,045.51$(152,709.81)$2,428,524.38
July Quarterly[14]June 30, 2012$2,428,524.38$370,858.34$(599,217.79)$2,200,164.93
Running totals

Andrea Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea Nuciforo (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[15]March 31, 2012$136,606.89$42,624.71$(45,314.34)$133,917.26
July Quarterly[16]June 30, 2012$133,917.26$61,912.16$(66,646.80)$129,182.62
Running totals

Bill Shein

Bill Shein (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[17]March 31, 2012$0.00$11,282.60$(5,766.92)$5,515.68
July Quarterly[18]June 30, 2012$5,515.68$7,019.63$(6,246.00)$6,289.31
Running totals

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


On November 2, 2010, John Olver won re-election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Bill Gunn in the general election.[19]

U.S. House of Representatives, Massachusetts Congressional District 1 Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Olver Incumbent 63.3% 127,857
     Republican Bill Gunn 36.7% 74,145
Total Votes 202,002

See also