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

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October 29, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional team

Massachusetts's Congressional Elections in 2012
U.S. Senate Election? U.S. House seats Possible competitive races?
Yes 9 2 (6th & Senate)

BOSTON, Massachusetts: Massachusetts has nine U.S. House seats and one U.S. Senate seat on the ballot in 2012. Seven of the nine U.S. House incumbents face at least two challengers in the general election while the 1st and 2nd districts have no candidates challenging the incumbents.

Currently, the nine U.S. House seats are held by the Democratic Party while the U.S. Senate seats are split with 1 going to both the Democratic and Republican parties. The state lost one seat in the U.S. House as a result of redistricting. Incumbent senator Scott Brown (R) will defend his seat against Elizabeth Warren on November 6.

In Massachusetts, most polling places are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. However, municipalities may open as early as 5:45 AM.[1]

See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times (2012)

U.S. Senate

On January 19, 2010, a special election was held to fill the seat of stalwart Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who passed away about five months earlier. The result of the election was surprising, with Scott Brown, a Republican, defeating Martha Coakley (D) and Joseph L. Kennedy (L) for the post.[2] Brown is seeking full term re-election to the Class 1 Senate seat in 2012. He ran unopposed in the party's primary on September 6th, and will face Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren (D) in the general election. Warren's robust campaign war-chest, considerable name recognition, and clout among Democrats -- a product of her work with the Obama administration creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- present a formidable challenge to Brown's re-election. The seat is currently considered a toss-up.

State General Election Candidates Incumbent 2012 Winner Partisan Switch?
Massachusetts Class 1 Senate seat Democratic Party Elizabeth Warren
Republican Party Scott Brown
Independent Bill Cimbrelo
Scott Brown Pending Pending


The Republican effort to reclaim the majority in the Senate this year hinges considerably upon Brown's successful re-election. This fact, combined with Warren's strong showing in fundraising and polling data in the months leading up to the general election, indicate the race is both high-stakes and highly competitive. The New York Times and Cook Political Report analyses of the 2012 Massachusetts Senate race rated it as a toss-up.[3][4]


Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren
Poll Scott Brown Elizabeth WarrenNeitherDon't knowMargin of ErrorSample Size
UMass/Boston Herald (December 1-6, 2011)
Western NE College (October 17-23, 2011)
Public Policy Polling (March 16-18, 2012)
The MassInc Polling Group (July 19-22, 2012)
Public Policy Polling (August 16-19, 2012)
Rasmussen Reports (September 24, 2012)
WBUR Massachusetts (October 21-22, 2012)
AVERAGES 44.71% 45.29% 1% 8.29% +/-4.19 645.14
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

U.S. House

Massachusetts' 6th congressional district has been listed as a toss-up by the New York Times[5] race ratings and Lean Republican by the Cook Political Report race ratings.[6] Several factors have placed incumbent John Tierney (D) in danger. His wife's legal problems in 2010 where she pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting her brother in filing false income tax returns that concealed his illegal offshore gambling business, being challenged by the openly gay Republican, Richard Tisei, who is social liberal while being fiscally conservative, and the more recent incident where another of Tierney's brothers-in-law was sentenced with racketeering and made a comment that Tierney knew everything going on, have caused this seat to go from safe to competitive.[7]

On August 7, the Boston Herald ran an article that suggested that Daniel Fishman's presence as a Libertarian candidate would benefit Tierney.[8]

According to the Washington Post, Tierney has been the target of attack ads from YG Action Fund, a conservative PAC supergroup. This highlights a trend in which super PACs have attempted to swing vulnerable house seats through strategic advertising. These ads were not solicited by the Tisei campaign, but his spokeswomen has voiced her support for them.[9]

Here is a complete list of U.S. House candidates appearing on the general election ballot in Massachusetts:

District General Election Candidates Incumbent 2012 Winner Partisan Switch?
1st Democratic Party Richard Neal John Olver Pending Pending
2nd Democratic Party Jim McGovern Richard Neal Pending Pending
3rd Democratic Party Niki Tsongas
Republican Party Jon Golnik
Jim McGovern Pending Pending
4th Democratic Party Joseph Kennedy III
Republican Party Sean Bielat
Independent David Rosa
Barney Frank Pending Pending
5th Democratic Party Ed Markey
Republican Party Tom Tierney
Niki Tsongas Pending Pending
6th Democratic Party John Tierney
Republican Party Richard Tisei
Libertarian Party Daniel Fishman
John Tierney Pending Pending
7th Democratic Party Michael Capuano
Independent Karla Romero
Ed Markey Pending Pending
8th Democratic Party Stephen Lynch
Republican Party Joe Selvaggi
Michael Capuano Pending Pending
9th Democratic Party William Keating
Republican Party Christopher Sheldon
Independent Daniel Botelho
Stephen Lynch Pending Pending
10th District Removed in Redistricting Bill Keating Pending Pending

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
 Congressional Redistricting Map, approved November 2011 

For more information, view Redistricting in Massachusetts.


See also