Donald Humason defeats David Bartley for 2nd Hampden & Hampshire Senate seat

Laste modified: Wednesday, November 06, 2013
WESTFIELD — A one-time chief of staff to former state Sen. Michael Knapik was elected Tuesday to fill the seat vacated by his old boss.

Republican state Rep. Donald F. Humason, 46, defeated David K. Bartley, 48, for the 2nd Hampshire & Hampden District state Senate seat left open when Knapik stepped down to take a position at Westfield State University earlier this year.

Humason received 18,123 votes to Bartley’s 16,313 for the district which comprises Easthampton, Southampton, Agawam, Granville, Holyoke, Montgomery, Russell, Southwick, Tolland, Westfield and part of Chicopee.

Humason, who has been serving as Westfield’s state representative since 2002, said despite winning the district by about 1,800 votes, he still has work to do to win voters over.

“I have to go and convince those folks who didn’t vote for me today that I’ll be the right senator to represent them throughout the next year and hopefully beyond,” he said.

The election puts him in place for the remainder of Knapik’s unexpired term, but he must run for re-election next November.

Bartley, a Holyoke city councilor, could not be reached for comment, but his campaign manager Bruce Adams said he congratulated Humason and thanked him for running a “clean” campaign.

Adams said Bartley also thanked all the volunteers and supporters who worked on the campaign. “They did a great job and we did the best we could,” Adams said.

Humason said he learned a lot during his time working for Knapik that he believes prepares him for his new role.

“Many, many lessons I learned from my former boss, but the biggest thing I think was to treat every city and town in this district as though they were unique, individual entities and that they’re all important,” said Humason.

Humason said the fact his opponent scored major endorsements from prominent Massachusetts Democrats including Gov. Deval Patrick and state Auditor Suzanne Bump was not a major concern for the campaign.

“We sort of expected that Councilor Bartley would get the support of the people of his party,” Humason said. “Most of all, though, I think it’s important to get the support of the people in your district, and that happened for me, and I’m grateful.”

Bartley won just three communities in the district — Chicopee, Easthampton and Holyoke, where he serves as a first-term city councilor.

Humason declined to speculate on what may have tipped the scales in his favor in the minds of voters in the remaining eight communities.

“I’m sure everybody is going to come up with why I did as well in some areas or not as well in other areas,” he said. “I guess what you do with a campaign is learn from mistakes you made and learn how to do better next time.”

Humason declared victory around 9 p.m. Tuesday, before Bartley had officially conceded.

“We were crunching numbers in the back room, we were following the results from each of the clerks in the cities and towns and it reached a certain point where, mathematically, even if he won every single, last remaining vote, he wouldn’t have enough to take the district,” Humason said.

Supporter Ray LaBarre of Westfield said Humason was a candidate with a strong work ethic who sticks by his positions, even if they are not popular, and is always approachable.

“I have great respect for him and a lot of trust in him,” LaBarre said.

Humason is returning to work at the House of Representatives Wednesday and said he’s not sure when he will be sworn in as senator.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@gazettenet.com.