Bartley, Humason win primary contests for state Senate seat

Last modified: Thursday, October 24, 2013

David K. Bartley and Donald F. Humason will face off in a special election Nov. 5 to fill the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District Senate seat after the two came out on top in Democratic and Republican primaries Tuesday.

In the Democratic primary, Bartley, a first-term Holyoke city councilor, narrowly defeated Easthampton Mayor Michael A. Tautznik by 243 votes, or 52 percent to 48 percent. Humason, a state representative from Westfield, easily won over opponent Michael Franco, a Holyoke veterans’ services officer, by 87 percent to 13 percent.

At the Brass Cat, a bar in Easthampton, Tautznik thanked his supporters and said running in the race was a “great experience.”

“You’re obviously disappointed when you don’t win, but it was a great race,” he said just after 9 p.m. when he learned Bartley had won. “The voters have had the opportunity to listen to both candidates and they made their decision.”

In a post on his campaign Facebook page Tuesday night, Bartley congratulated Tautznik on a great campaign.

“This is what the Democratic Party is all about — a positive campaign based on issues and values,” he said. “I look forward to uniting all Democrats and progressive independents to reclaim this Senate seat.”

Bartley, who is the son of David M. Bartley, former speaker of the Massachusetts House and former president of Holyoke Community College, did not return calls for comment Tuesday night as he and supporters celebrated the victory over Tautznik at Pic’s Pub in Holyoke.

Also on Facebook, Bartley predicted the Nov. 5 election will be “a battle royale of Democratic values against Tea Party extremism” and said he looks forward to the fight.

Meanwhile, at EB’s Restaurant in Agawam, Humason said he is not a tea party Republican but he understands why Bartley would want to link his opponent with the tea party Republicans in Washington in the middle of the government shutdown.

Humason said his style as an elected official is to stick to “common sense, not the conservative agenda.”

Humason said he is “very, very grateful” to voters who supported him in the Republican primary. “And I hope they continue to do so in the next month,” he said. “I’ll be running on my record.”

“David’s a friend, so I think it will be a polite race,” he said. “There are some similarities between us and some differences and we’ll just do our best in these campaigns to get those differences out there for voters to see.”

The 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District consists of Easthampton, Southampton, Westfield, Holyoke, Southwick, Agawam, Tolland, Russell, Montgomery, Granville and parts of Chicopee.

Tautznik was the only candidate from Hampshire County and he did well there. In Easthampton, Tautznik received 1,461 votes to Bartley’s 312. In the Republican race, Humason received 193 while Franco got 64 votes. The total voter turnout in Easthampton was 18 percent, according to Assistant City Clerk MaryAnn Giza.

In Southampton, Tautznik got 233 votes to Bartley’s 117. Humason received 158 votes there and Franco got 18. Voter turnout there was 12.5 percent, according to City Clerk Eileen Couture.

The final totals for the district were 3,383 votes for Bartley and 3,140 for Tautznik. Overall, Humason received 3,361 votes and Franco got 491.

Tautznik is not seeking a ninth term as Easthampton mayor and said he did not have plans to run for state office until Aug. 5, when he heard that former Republican state senator Michael R. Knapik was resigning from his seat to take a job as director of advancement at Westfield State University.

“This was an opportunity. When fate puts an opportunity like this in front of you, you want to step through that door,” Tautznik said.

As for whether he plans to seek any other elected office after his term as mayor ends Dec. 31, Tautznik said no other seats are “on my radar,” but added “never say never.”

Before Knapik took office as senator in 1995, the seat was occupied by a Democrat from Easthampton, Shannon O’Brien, from 1993 to 1995.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at


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