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Few contested local races on Tuesday's ballot

A presidential race gobbles up the lion’s share of voter attention. The race between President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney has been no different.

And with one of the most fiercely contested Senate races in the country, Massachusetts voters are also following the contest between Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

But when voters go to the polls Tuesday, those will be far from the only names on the ballot.

Still, there are few contested races in Hampshire County. Of two congressional, five state senate and six state representative districts that involve the county, there is only one contested race. And that race — a three-way contest among Democratic state Rep. Denise Andrews of Orange, Republican Susannah Whipps Lee of Athol and Independent Richard Schober of Templeton — includes a sole precinct in Belchertown. The rest of the district lies in Franklin and Worcester counties.

In other respects, the 2012 election will be notable on the local level.

Tuesday will mark the changing of the guard in terms of Hampshire County’s representation in Congress.
U.S. Rep. John Olver, an Amherst Democrat who has represented most of Hampshire County for two decades, will retire when his term ends in January.

Olver will be replaced by two longtime Democratic congressmen, U.S. Rep. James McGovern of Worcester and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield.

Neal is already a familiar face in Hampshire County. A member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Neal has represented Northampton, Hadley and South Hadley in Congress for 10 years. But he is running unopposed for a 12th term in a new district, a result last year’s redistricting.

The new 1st District includes Chesterfield, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Granby, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, South Hadley, Southampton, Westhampton, Williamsburg and Worthington.

Redistricting has also meant changes for McGovern, a member of the House Rules and Agriculture Committee. McGovern’s old 3rd District spanned from Worcester to Fall River.

The new 2nd District in which he is seeking a ninth term runs from Worcester to Northampton, before following the Connecticut River north and terminating along the Vermont border in Franklin County.

Hampshire County towns in the 2nd District include Amherst, Belchertown, Hadley, Hatfield, Northampton and Pelham.

Other offices
Change will also be the order of the day for two local offices, in the 8th District Governor’s Council race and at the Hampshire County Registry of Deeds.

In the Governor’s Council race, former Springfield Mayor Michael Albano, a Democrat, faces off against Republican Michael Franco, a Holyoke veterans agent. The seat had been occupied for six years by Democrat Thomas Merrigan, a Greenfield attorney.

The winner will win a seat on the state board charged with vetting and approving the governor’s judicial nominations, as well as selections for clerk magistrate, justice of the peace and seats on the state parole board and appellate tax board, among others.

The Hampshire County Registry of Deeds had been overseen by Marianne Donohue for the last 23 years prior to her retirement in September 2011. The race to succeed her features Democrat Mary Olberding of Belchertown and Independent George Zimmerman of Northampton.

The following is the list of uncontested races in the county. All candidates are incumbents.

State Senate
■ Berkshire Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden: Benjamin Downing, Democrat of Pittsfield.
■ First Hampden and Hampshire: Gail Candaras, Democrat of Wilbraham.
■ Second Hampden and Hampshire: Michael Knapik, Republican of Westfield.
■ Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District: Stanley Rosenberg, Democrat of Amherst.
■ Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex District: Stephen Brewer, Democrat of Barre.

State House
■ First Franklin: Stephen Kulik, Democrat of Worthington.
■ First Hampshire: Peter Kocot, Democrat of Northampton.
■ Second Hampshire: John Scibak, Democrat of South Hadley.
■ Third Hampshire: Ellen Story, Democrat of Amherst.
■ First Hampden: Todd Smola, Republican of Palmer.
■ Seventh Hampden: Thomas Petrolati, Democrat of Ludlow.


Area residents campaign ahead of Election Day

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NORTHAMPTON — A high-stakes election for the White House and the U.S. Senate kept area voters energized and talking over the weekend, including many Valley residents who continued to campaign for candidates — on the phone and on the streets. Many voters said they were working hard to get out the vote in the days leading up to Election Day …

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