Massachusetts' 3rd Congressional District elections, 2012

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Massachusetts' 3rd Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
September 6, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Niki Tsongas Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
James P. McGovern Democratic Party
(Elected to District 2)
James P McGovern.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 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Niki Tsongas (D) won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Massachusetts' 3rd, on November 6th, 2012.[1] She had previously served as the representative for the 5th District.

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: Going into the 2012 election, the incumbent was James P. McGovern (D), who was first elected to the U.S. House in 1988.

The 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts, prior to the 2010-2011 redistricting process.

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Massachusetts' 3rd Congressional District was located in the northern portion of the state and included Worcester, Middlesex, and Essex counties.[3]


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 Niki TsongasGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Jon Golnik

Democratic Party September 6 Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Election results

General Election

U.S. House, Massachusetts District 3 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngNiki Tsongas Incumbent 63.3% 212,119
     Republican Jon Golnik 32.6% 109,372
     N/A All Others 0.1% 262
     N/A Blank Votes 4% 13,358
Total Votes 335,111
Source: Massachusetts Secretary of State "Return of Votes"

Republican Primary

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

Massachusetts' 3rd Congressional District Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJon Golnik 66.9% 12,669
Tom Weaver 33.1% 6,260
Total Votes 18,929

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Massachusetts

Because Massachusetts lost a seat after the 2010 Census, the state's congressional districts went through significant changes.

The new 3rd District occupied roughly the area that the old 5th District occupied.

According to the Daily Kos, "the result is a district whose partisan voting makeup is little changed; the new towns are more conservative than the state as a whole, but collectively they are less so than the now-departed Billerica and Tewksbury. In the Merrimack Valley region, Lowell and Lawrence are surrounded by towns who often vote Republican, and the new communities further west range from near-neutral to hostile for Democrats. Adding in upscale and yet strongly Democratic towns further south - Acton, Concord, and Maynard, move things in a bluer direction, and prevent this district from being a true swing district. Also helpful for Democrats is that, apart from the proposed minority-majority MA-07, this would be the most demographically diverse district in the state."[7]

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' 3rd District saw no change in partisanship due to redistricting.[8]

  • 2012: 56D / 44R
  • 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' 3rd Congressional District had a PVI of D+8, which was the 121st most Democratic district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 60-40 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, John Kerry (D) won the district 61-39 percent over George W. Bush (R).[9]



Golnik released the following campaign ad on September 23, 2012.[10]

Jon Gonik, "Decision Time"[11]

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, James P. McGovern won re-election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Tom Wesley in the general election.[12]

U.S. House of Representatives, Massachusetts Congressional District 3 Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJim McGovern Incumbent 56.5% 122,357
     Republican Marty Lamb 39.2% 84,972
     Independent Patrick Barron 4.3% 9,304
Total Votes 216,633

Campaign donors

Niki Tsongas

Niki Tsongas (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[13]March 31, 2012$291,924.27$158,347.77$(133,798.61)$316,473.43
July Quarterly[14]June 30, 2012$316,473.43$308,246.61$(219,418.66)$405,301.38
Running totals

Jon Golnik

Jon Golnik (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[15]March 31, 2012$1,878.30$80,386.00$(16,561.59)$65,702.71
July Quarterly[16]June 30, 2012$65,702.71$61,739.43$(67,148.23)$60,293.91
Running totals

Tom Weaver

Tom Weaver (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[17]March 31, 2012$4,056.53$22,364.00$(9,506.00)$16,914.53
Running totals

See also