2012 elections review: Few incumbents defeated in Massachusetts legislative primaries

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September 7, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional and State legislative teams

The primary season continued yesterday with elections in Massachusetts.

Here's what happened in Massachusetts.

Contested Primaries in Massachusetts -- September 6, 2012
U.S. House
(9 seats)
State Legislature
(200 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 4 (44.44%) 31 (16%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 5 (55.56%) 8 (4%)


U.S. Senate

United States Senate elections in Massachusetts, 2012

There were no contested primaries for Massachusetts' U.S. Senate seat tomorrow. In the Republican primary, incumbent Scott Brown ran unopposed. He will face Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, who also faced no primary competition, in the November 6 general election.

The race is likely to be the most expensive congressional battle of the 2012 election season.

U.S. House

United States House of Representatives elections in Massachusetts, 2012

Massachusetts has nine congressional seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 31 candidates filed to run, made up of 7 Democratic challengers, 13 Republican challengers, 8 incumbents, and 3 third-party candidates. Including Massachusetts, a total of 397 U.S. House seats have held primaries. Thus far, 56.55% of possible primaries have been contested. Massachusetts' contested figure of 50% (9 out of 18 possible party primaries) is slightly less competitive than the national average.

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

State legislature

See also Massachusetts State Senate elections, 2012 and Massachusetts House of Representatives elections, 2012

In Massachusetts, there are 200 total legislative seats with elections in 2012. There were 31 (16%) contested Democratic primaries and 8 (4%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there were 39 (10%) races with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 10% figure of contested primaries in Massachusetts is lower than the current national contested average of 18.4% for states that have had filing deadlines.

There were a total of 20 incumbents facing primary opposition -- 19 Democrats and 1 Republican. There are three incumbents that have been confirmed as defeated, and a fourth that may eventually be once a recount has taken place. Those defeated incumbents are all from the House:

Democratic Party Demetrius Atsalis
Democratic Party David Torrisi
Democratic Party Michael Kane

The fourth, Kevin Aguiar of Fall River, was losing by 7 votes to Alan Silvia according to unofficial results. The race will go to a recount and must be certified within six days.[1][2]

Some of the incumbents facing a primary challenge were:


Democratic Party Hampden District: Freshman Senator James T. Welch faced Melvin A. Edwards. Edwards lost.
Democratic Party Plymouth and Barnstable District: President of the Senate Therese Murray was challenged by Stephen Michael Palmer. Murray convincingly held on to her seat, taking 87% of the vote.[1]


Democratic Party Tenth Bristol District: Longtime legislator William Straus faced a challenge from Abilio Soares. Straus won.
Democratic Party Second Franklin District: Incumbent Denise Andrews, a freshman Senator, faced three opponents: Rebecca Bialecki, Genevieve Fraser, and Jim White. Andrews won.
Democratic Party Twenty Seventh Middlesex District: Denise Provost defeated Harry Kortikere.
Democratic Party Fourteenth Norfolk District: Alice Peisch kept her seat against opponent Jerome Carr, taking 93% of the vote.[1]
Democratic Party Seventh Suffolk District: Gloria Fox, a Senator since 1985, is opposed by Rufus Jackson Faulk and Jed Hresko. Fox survived unscathed.
Republican Party Second Worcester District: The lone Republican facing a primary battle was Freshman Senator Richard Bastien. He was opposed by Scott Graves, a local attorney and City Councillor. Bastien won with 67% of the vote.[1]

Massachusetts House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 127 131
     Republican Party 33 29
Total 160 160

Massachusetts State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 35 36
     Republican Party 4 4
     Vacancy 1 0
Total 40 40

See also

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