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Four local politicians to compete in primaries for state Senate seat vacated by Michael Knapik

People waiting to vote

People waiting to vote

Four candidates will face off in primaries on Oct. 8 to fill the state Senate seat Michael R. Knapik left in the August, with the winners advancing to the November special election.

Easthampton Mayor Michael A. Tautznik and Holyoke City Councilor David K. Bartley are the Democratic candidates, and state Rep. Donald F. Humason Jr. of Westfield and Holyoke Veterans Services Officer Michael Franco are the Republicans.

Christopher J. Hopewell, chairman of the Holyoke Fire Commission and EMS coordinator at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, also collected signatures in an attempt to get on the ballot but was 13 short of the 300 required. Hopewell said an election officer at Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s Springfield office realized Tuesday that one page was missing the required label of Democrat so those signatures were ruled invalid.

Hopewell said the oversight was his fault and he plans to run for the seat in next year’s state election.

Winners of the primaries will go on to compete in a special election Nov. 5, the same day as the general election. The 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District comprises Easthampton, Southampton, Westfield, Holyoke, Agawam, Granville, Montgomery, Russell, Southwick, Tolland and part of Chicopee.

Residents must register to vote in the primary by Sept. 18. The deadline to register to vote in the special election is Oct. 16.

Knapik, a Republican, left the Senate Aug. 9 to take a job as executive director of advancement at Westfield State University.

Tautznik has said he aims to be a voice for local communities in the Senate. Bartley said his priorities are improving the local economy, constituent services, increasing local aid, increasing access to education and improving infrastructure.

Franco said that if elected he would make sure tax dollars are wisely spent and work to make government more efficient. Humason said he would continue to be a dedicated legislator who works closely with constituents, but in a wider territory.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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