Massachusetts' 5th Congressional District special election, 2013
- 1 Candidates
- 2 Election results
- 3 Issues
- 4 Media
- 5 Campaign donors
- 6 Debates
- 7 Endorsements
- 7.1 Carl Sciortino
- 7.2 Karen Spilka
- 7.3 Peter Koutoujian
- 7.4 Katherine Clark
- 8 Polls
- 9 District history
- 10 See also
- 11 External links
- 12 References
The special election was held to fill the vacancy left by the special election victory by Rep. Ed Markey for the vacant Senate seat. Markey won election to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, for the seat vacated by John Kerry, on June 25, 2013.
Massachusetts is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. Unaffiliated voters are allowed to vote in the primary election. They may choose which party ballot they wish to vote on and still remain unaffiliated.
|Candidate Filing Deadline||Primary Election||General Election|
General Election Candidates
- Peter Koutoujian: Middlesex Sheriff
- Katherine Clark: State senator
- Karen Spilka: State senator
- Will Brownsberger: State senator
- Carl Sciortino: State representative
- Martin Long: Former Lexington School Committee Member
- Paul John Maisano: Stoneham resident
- Frank Addivinola: Lawyer and former Republican candidate for District 5
- Tom Tierney:Veteran
- Mike Stopa: Physicist
Declined to run
|U.S. House, Massachusetts District 5 General Special Election, 2013|
|Justice, Peace, Security Party||James Hall||0.7%||452|
|Source: Results via Massachusetts Elections Division|
|U.S. House, Massachusetts District 5 Special Democratic Primary, 2013|
|John Paul Maisano||2.2%||1,520|
|Source: Official Results from Massachusetts Elections Division|
|U.S. House, Massachusetts District 5 Special Republican Primary, 2013|
|Source: Official Results from Massachusetts Elections Division|
Grayson, who endorsed Sciortino in August 2013, has been a leader in the U.S. House in opposing U.S. military intervention in Syria. Sciortino, a state representative, was the first among five Democratic elected officials running for Congress in Massachusetts’ 5th District to say he would oppose the use of military force in Syria. However, by September 9, 2013, all five Democrats had come out against the use of force.
“I question what message a military strike will send if followed by additional bloodshed,” Sciortino said. Sciortino also said the U.S. needs to seek a political solution through diplomacy and a negotiated ceasefire.
He said the U.S. must exhaust every diplomatic option before turning to the military. “I fear if we begin with a military option, it will lead to an escalation of war, not peace,” Sciortino said. He called on the other Democrats in his race to oppose the use of military force.
State senator Katherine Clark said she did not believe the case was made for military action. "I am closely following this important debate, but based on the information publicly available I still have serious questions,” Clark said in a statement. “I don't think the case has been made that U.S. military action is the best way to move forward, and if the vote were held today I would vote no.”
Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian said he was worried about the consequences of military action. “I continue to have deep reservations about the United States taking any action that is not done in close conjunction with our allies in the region and the international community as a whole,” Koutoujian said. “In the shadows of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, I also have serious concerns about the potential unforeseen consequences of a strike in that region that do not serve our long term interests. For those reasons, I do not support the resolution before Congress at this time.”
State seantor Karen Spilka called the actions of Syrian president Bashar Assad's regime “appalling.” “But I have not been convinced that a military response by the United States will stop this horror,” she said. “I applaud the President's decision to seek Congressional approval for the use of force in Syria but need further explanation for why military action is the best way forward to protect innocent civilians in Syria as well as our own national interests.” Spilka said there must be debate about the national security ramifications of any potential military action for the U.S. and the region.
“We cannot become mired in another mess like Iraq especially with so many urgent problems here at home. Today – with the information I have – I am extremely skeptical of any military action, especially without support from the international community,” Spilka said. “I need clarification for what our goal is, how it will be accomplished and the assessed risks before I could consider supporting authorization for military action.”
State senator Will Brownsberger also said he would oppose the use of force. “After the best reflection I can give the matter from where I currently sit, I have concluded that, were I already seated in Congress, I would vote against the present resolution authorizing bombing of Syria,” Brownsberger said in a statement. “I believe that it is in America's long term interest to take a principled approach to foreign policy and that the presently proposed bombing cannot be justified on a principled basis.”
Brownsberger said the U.S. should increase humanitarian aid to refugees. He would consider military action to prevent further humanitarian tragedy, but only if the U.S. can achieve broad backing from other democracies.
Mass Mentoring Partnership
Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP), an organization in Massachusetts fueling the movement to expand quality youth mentoring, announced it has drafted the Massachusetts Mentoring Agenda in order to educate the candidates for the 5th Congressional District office on the national priorities of the youth mentoring field in Massachusetts and rally their support.
“Mass Mentoring Partnership urges all candidates for the 5th Congressional District office to endorse the Massachusetts Mentoring Agenda and join us in this critical work of strengthening communities through mentoring,” says MMP President and CEO Marty Martinez.
Running in multiple elections
Addivinola, who lists his address as Boston, would be legally required to move into the 5th District in order to take office as U.S. congressman should he win that election.
“Mr. Addivinola has every right to run in these elections and I can see no question that any law is being broken. He cannot, however, hold both offices at the same time and if he should win the municipal race he would be forced to either resign that seat or else drop out of the race for Congress. I believe that his double run will lead the voters to question how seriously Mr. Addivinola takes his participation in either race,” Stopa posted on his campaign website.
Common Cause questionnaire
Common Cause, a non-profit organization, released the results of its questionnaire on election law at the end of September 2013. It found that six of the Democrats, all but Will Brownsberger, agree on several proposed election reforms. Of the Republicans, only Tom Tierney responded to the questionnaire.
“We need someone in Congress who’s strong on gun control — Peter Koutoujian is not,” Brownsberger said. “When the Massachusetts House voted on a Supreme Court decision recognizing that the Second Amendment protects an individual's civil right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, he was the only candidate in this race to vote yes. And someone who received a B- from the NRA on gun rights is clearly out of touch with the way Massachusetts voters view the issue. Candidates talk a good game on the campaign trail about the need to regulate guns. I am the only candidate to receive an F in the most recent letter rankings from the NRA.”
Democratic candidate Karen Spilka attacked Katherine Clark in a debate on October 8, 2013, after Clark sponsored a bill updating the state’s wiretapping statute. When Spilka was asked a question about government surveillance, Spilka replied, “Katherine has a bill that expands the scope of surveillance.”
The group Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) subsequently launched a series of online ads on October 9, 2013, targeting Clark for the wiretapping bill. “Katherine Clark supports invasive wiretapping,” one ad states. “Clark is the lead sponsor on a bill which would give police more power to listen to private conversations.”
All three Republican candidates oppose the Senate immigration bill and all support the Citizens United decision. Tom Tierney and Frank Addivinola describe themselves as “prolife,” and opposed to abortion rights, while Mike Stopa says that he is personally opposed to abortion but that “Roe v. Wade is settled law.
Katherine Clark aired her first television ad on September 13, 2013. The campaign ran ads through the October 15, 2013 primary. The initial ad buy, estimated to be approximately $60,000, will run the first ad on six cable markets in the district: Cambridge, Lexington, Malden, Newton, Revere and Woburn.
She released her second ad, “Heartbroken,” which tells the story of Clark’s grandmother, a World War II machinist.
“She’d be heartbroken about how Republicans treat women,” the ad says.
Carl Sciortino's September 2013 ad, "Father's son."
Clark released her third ad of the campaign on October 7, in which she makes the case that "women's issues are family issues."
Carl Sciortino starting running an ad in September 2013 that recalls "coming out to his father." However, the ad does not discuss sexuality. Instead, Sciortino discusses the moment when he revealed his positions on gun control, abortion rights, tax reform, pay equity, and equality for All Americans, to his Tea-Party aligned father.
“My father and I disagree on just about everything. I am grateful that he was willing to appear in my TV ad even though he probably thinks he should be running against me,” Sciortino said.
His father responded by saying, “My son is a Massachusetts Liberal and, what’s worse, he’s proud of it. But I love him anyway.”
Peter Koutoujian released his first ad of the campaign on September 26, 2013, less than three weeks before the October 15 primary. The ad addresses gun control, Social Security and women’s rights.
Koutoujian’s campaign released its second television ad, “There For Me," on October 5, 2013. The ad features Deborah, a Massachusetts resident, explaining her struggle with cardiac sarnoma, a life-threatening heart condition.
“In the winter of 2001, I was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in my heart,” Deborah begins, before the ad explains her insurance company initially denied her claim for life-saving surgery. “I was given two weeks to three weeks to live. Once Peter got involved, they totally turned their whole attitude around.”
Koutoujian campaign manager Chris Joyce added, “Throughout this campaign, Peter has been talking about the big issues that impact our country, but also taking action on the smaller issues that impact our residents every day. This is just one example, and it’s the kind of people-first commitment Peter will bring to Congress every day.”
In a pre-primary report from July 1 through September 25, 2013, candidates reported their fundraising totals going into the primary election. Peter Koutoujian reported raising $608,000 and had $690,000 cash-on-hand.Katherine Clark reported raising $374,000, which included a $250,000 personal loan, and had $394,000 cash-on-hand. Carl Sciortino reported raising $266,000 and had $285,000 cash-on-hand. Will Brownsberger reported raising $214,000, with $293,000 cash-on-hand.Karen Spilka raised $207,000, with $132,000 cash-on-hand.
In the days prior to the primary election, Koutoujian had raised about $919,160, and in the beginning of October had added at least another $60,000 in contributions of more than $200. Katherine Clark came in second, having raised about $863,704 as of September 25, 2013. Since the beginning of October, she received more than $30,000 in additional donations.
Peter Koutoujian led the field in fund-raising in the three months from April 2013 through June 2013 — the second quarter of the year. He raised approximately $308,000, ending the quarter with about $290,000 in the bank, according to his campaign. State senator Katherine Clark reported having more than $400,000 in the bank on June 30 after raising $228,000 in the quarter, according to her campaign.State representative Carl Sciortino raised $203,000 in the quarter and had more than $270,000 in his account on June 30. State senator Karen Spilka raised more than $200,000, and had over $200,000 in the bank at the end of last month. State senator Will Brownsberger raised $130,000 and had $290,000 in cash on hand as of June 30, 2013.
According to the report, Clark raised $1.18 million during the special election cycle, including $323,000 in the reporting period from October 1, 2013, to November 20, 2013. She loaned herself $250,000 in September 2013, prior to the the Democratic primary.
Addivinola raised just $27,000 during the same reporting period and less than $40,000 during the entire election campaign, as well as a $61,000 loan to his campaign. He spent almost no money campaigning – less than $10,000 – and reported having $96,000 in the bank just prior to the December 10, 2013, special election.
The debate ran through the website OpenDebateQuestions.com, which the PCCC is debuting for this event. The public submitted questions and voted on which questions they like. Massachusetts voters then chose the top 50 questions, and moderators chose from those questions to ask the candidates. The candidates participated via video from remote locations. So far, people have submitted more than 300 questions.Cite error: Invalid
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Matt Wall, a PCCC spokesman and Boston resident, said the organization hopes the online debate platform will become the norm in local, state, congressional and even presidential debates. "Too often, questions asked at debates are not truly what the public cares about," Wall said. "Open debates, where the public submits and votes on the questions, will hopefully be a game changer in our political process.”
Following the August 10, 2013, debate, David Kravitz at Blue Mass Group rounded up data from the group Progressive Massachusetts, which has highlighted 37 state senate roll calls, and identified a "progressive" position.
The forum was moderated by former state senator George Bachrach and was broken into two segments. The first part was a moderated discussion, which was then followed by a more informal meet and greet.
The first in-person debate took place on September 12, 2013. The debate, dubbed a "Progressive Forum" for the Democratic candidates, took place at Lesley University in Cambridge and was sponsored by a number of groups including 350 Massachusetts, Better Future Project, Democratic Socialists of America, Massachusetts Peace Action, National Organization for Women, Progressive Democrats of America and Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts.
The debate featured Karen Spilka, Katherine Clark, William Brownsberger, Peter Koutoujian and Carl Sciortino. Notably, there were several instances in which Brownsberger disagreed with his opponents, including such issues as negotiating with Republicans and an amendment regarding government surveillance.
It was announced on September 19, 2013, the all three Republican candidates agreed to participate in a September 29, 2013, debate hosted by Framingham State University.  The event is sponsored by the Republican town committees of: Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Natick, Southborough and Wayland. Former congressman Peter Blute will be the moderator.
“The people of this district have a real opportunity to elect not just a worthy successor to Sen. (Edward) Markey but someone who’s been tested in the Massachusetts legislature on a wide range of social and economic issues, which resonate at a national level,” Kucinich said in his endorsement.
“This is the first campaign I have gotten to endorse in ... other than my dad’s,” Patrick said in a statement.
She praised Sciortino’s work on LGBT rights, the law requiring a protest-free buffer zone around reproductive health clinics, closing corporate tax loopholes and supporting investments in infrastructure. Patrick also praised Sciortino’s decision to launch his state house career by challenging and unseating Vincent Ciampa of Somerville in 2004.
“Though he and his volunteers were called terrible slurs in one of the most homophobic campaigns Massachusetts has ever seen, Carl beat him by 93 votes and took his spot in the State House. Carl’s got guts, and he will always stand up for his values.”
Human Rights Campaign
Bay State Stonewall Democrats
“There is a clear difference between the candidates in this race,” said BSSD co-chair Steve Iannaccone, “and Carl Sciortino’s unwavering commitment to the LGBT community in the State House made this endorsement an easy decision. His willingness to lead the tough fights and build the coalitions to win those fights, is what gave him the edge in our endorsement process.”
“Carl’s tireless work on LGBT issues, especially Marriage Equality and the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, were important factors when deciding to make this endorsement,” stated Claire Naughton, co-chair of the BSSD, “and we are proud to support him in this race so he can bring that work to the U.S. House.”
Congressional Progressive Caucus
The co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressman Raúl Grijalva and Congressman Keith Ellison, announced their endorsement of Carl Sciortino on September 17, 2013.
“Carl Sciortino is the real thing,” Grijalva and Ellison said in a joint statement. “He is the consistent progressive in the race, having led the fight for the issues we progressives care about for almost 10 years in the state legislature—a higher minimum wage, closing corporate tax-loopholes, protecting a woman’s right to choose, the list goes on and on. Carl Sciortino’s ability to take on these tough fights, and win them, will be an incredible asset to the Progressive Caucus in Congress.”
Sciortino responded by saying, “Congressman Grijalva and Congressman Ellison are courageously fighting for progressive policies in Washington and I am thrilled to have their endorsement. I am the only one in this race who has a consistent progressive record on privacy rights, workers rights, immigration rights and protecting the environment. This election for me isn’t about climbing the political ladder, it’s about strengthening the national progressive movement.”
The healthcare organization MassCare announced its endorsement of Sciortino on September 19, 2013. “We are proud to announce our support of this great candidate, Carl Sciortino,” said MassCare’s Executive Director Ture Richard Turnbull. “Our organization has been grateful to have Carl as a strong advocate for single payer health care in Massachusetts. Carl has taken a leadership role in the efforts for passage of legislation to institute a single payer system in Massachusetts. If single payer is your issue, Carl Sciortino is the clear choice in this race.”
“Single payer health care is the most cost-effective way to deliver health care to all Americans,” said Sciortino, a candidate for Congress in the 5th District. “I fully support MassCare’s mission to institute single payer health care in Massachusetts, and I have been proud work with them. I am the only one in this race who has been a consistent supporter of single payer health care, and I’m running for Congress to be a consistent progressive voice in Washington.”
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) announced on September 18, 2013, its endorsement for Sciortino.Cite error: Closing
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Two unions, UFCW Locals 791 and 328, announced their support for state senator Karen Spilka on August 1, 2013. The Plumbers and Gasfitters Local 12 endorsed Spilka on August 20, 2013. “Karen stands up for working families. We trust her to go to Congress and fight for a living wage, to ensure that health care is accessible and affordable, to defend social security and Medicare and to protect our right to organize and collectively bargain,” said Business Agent Harry Brett. “Karen puts the interests of the middle class first and doesn’t back down from taking on the special interests on our behalf.”
"Karen is the obvious choice for Congress because she fights for working families no matter what," said Leo Fahey, business manager of Local 537. "It is clear that she understands the concerns of working families and she is unafraid to stand up to the powerful special interests on their behalf. The big banks, the insurance companies and the lobbyists already have enough power in Washington; we need Karen to go fight for us."
Both the International Brotherhood of Correctional Officers (IBCO) and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Superior Officers Association (MSSOA/NAGE Local 57) announced endorsements for Peter Koutoujian in August 2013.
MetroWest Daily News
Clark received an endorsement from MetroWest Daily News on December 8, 2013.
Professional Firefighters of MA
“The Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts are proud to endorse state Sen. Katherine Clark for U.S. Representative,” Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts President Ed Kelly said. “As a legislator she’s worked to ensure we have the resources to do our jobs and keep the public safe, and we have no doubt she’ll continue that fight on Capitol Hill. Katherine knows that our public safety officials put their lives on the line for us each and every day. She has always supported these working families and will continue to fight to make sure workers earn a fair wage, have safe and secure working conditions, and have access to the benefits they need to allow them to care for their families.”
“It’s an honor to have the endorsement of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts,” Clark said. “These brave men and women risk it all for us across the Commonwealth. We depend on them to safeguard our communities and our families and they can depend on me to go to Washington and fight for them and their families.”
“Sen. Clark has been at the forefront of environmental advocacy in the state Legislature, fighting for increased funding for public transit, advocating for renewable energy, reducing toxic substances in manufacturing and seeking expansion of the bottle bill, just to name a few,” said Chuck Anastas, chairman of MLEV’s Board of Directors. “Her support for addressing climate change through energy efficiency, reduction of fossil fuel dependency and clean energy production make endorsing her candidacy for the Massachusetts 5th Congressional District an easy decision.”
Clark received an endorsement from The Boston Globe on October 10, 2013.
“Katherine Clark has an impressive record fighting for women and families in her community, and her effective leadership is exactly what Washington needs,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a release. “From the school committee in Melrose to the state Senate in Boston, Katherine has been a champion for children and has put the safety of Massachusetts families first. … The EMILY’s List community — now more than two million members strong — is excited to continue supporting Katherine’s strong campaign, so that she can block Republican extremists from attacking women’s rights and opportunities and move our country forward.”
|Democratic primary candidates|
|Poll||Katherine Clark||Karen Spilka||Peter Koutoujian||Will Brownsberger||Carl Sciortino||Undecided||Margin of Error||Sample Size|
|Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research|
July 18-23, 2013
|Emerson College Polling|
September 13-17, 2013
|Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research|
September 22-24, 2013
|Gerstein Bocian Agne|
September 23-25, 2013
|Emerson College Polling|
October 2-8, 2013
|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|
|Republican primary candidates|
|Poll||Tom Tierney||Frank Addivinola||Mike Stopa||Undecided||Margin of Error||Sample Size|
|Emerson College Polling|
September 13-17, 2013
The 5th District of Massachusetts held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012. Incumbent Niki Tsongas (D) ran for the 3rd District seat due to redistricting in 2012. The 7th District incumbent Ed Markey won the 5th District seat. He defeated Tom Tierney (R) in the general election.
|U.S. House, Massachusetts District 5 General Election, 2012|
|Democratic||Ed Markey Incumbent||70.7%||257,490|
|Source: Massachusetts Secretary of State "Return of Votes"|
On November 2, 2010, Niki Tsongas won re-election to the United States House. She defeated Jon Golnik (R), Dale E. Brown (Liberty) and Robert M. Clark (Citizen Legislator) in the general election.
- BP NEWS: Ten candidates head to congressional special election in Massachusetts
- Special elections to the 113th United States Congress (2013-2014)
- United States House of Representatives elections, 2012
- United States congressional delegations from Massachusetts
- United States House of Representatives elections in Massachusetts, 2014
- Ed Markey (D)
- Special Election Candidates from Massachusetts Elections Division
- Special Election Calendar
- Candidate's Guide for 2013 Special Election
- Current Massachusetts Special Elections
- Special Election Results
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