Editorial: An important primary day is here

  • Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, left, and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield. gazette FILE PHOTO

  • A voter marks his ballot during early voting at Holyoke City Hall, Tuesday, Aug. 25. Gazette file photo

Published: 8/31/2020 9:00:06 PM

In Massachusetts, primary day is often more important than Election Day — at least when it comes to races for Congress where Democrats who advance in a primary typically sail through the November election on their way to Washington, D.C.

This year is shaping up to be no different. Though the total number of contested races for Tuesday’s primary is small, the battles for seats in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House are full of plot twists and scandal, high-profile names, animosity and split support among the Democratic party’s elite.

The races have garnered national attention, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats weighing in with endorsements.

Here is what’s at stake in the contested races:

■ A six-year Senate seat currently held by Edward J. Markey.

In the Democratic primary, Markey, 74, who has served in the position since a special election in 2013 after serving as a representative since 1976, faces a stiff challenge from Joseph P. Kennedy III, 39, who is giving up the 4th Congressional District seat he’s held since 2013.

The little-known Republican primary contest is between Shiva Ayyadurai, of Belmont, and Kevin J. O’Connor, of Dover.

The winners from each primary will square off in Nov. 3 election.

■ A race for the 1st Congressional District seat held by 32-year incumbent Richard Neal, 71, who faces a challenge from Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, 31, in a hotly contested race to represent a district that includes the Hampshire County communities of Easthampton, Southampton, Westhampton, South Hadley, Granby, Williamsburg, Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Huntington, Plainfield and Worthington. The district also includes all of Berkshire County, all of Hampden County except for one precinct in Palmer, and parts of Franklin and Worcester counties.

<sbull value="sbull"><text xmlns="urn:schemas-teradp-com:gn4tera"></text></sbull>A race to replace Rep. Aaron Vega as state representative for the 5th Hampden District that covers Holyoke. Voters in the Democratic primary will decide among Patricia Duffy, legislative aide for Vega; Patrick Beaudry, manager of public affairs for the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission; and David Bartley, a five-term Ward 3 city councilor.

In August, the editorial board met virtually with Markey and Kennedy, as well as Morse (Neal choose not to meet with the board), to hear their positions on issues. We’ve published endorsements for Markey and Morse.

In Markey, we see experience that can’t be matched, though we believe Kennedy would do a fine job representing Massachusetts if elected.

In Morse, the Gazette heeds the mayor’s call for change in Washington, D.C., and we argue he’s the candidate most likely to bring such change. Yes, Neal has experience and he’s accumulated power as chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, but we can’t overlook calls that’s he’s left some of his more rural constituents behind.

Now it’s your turn. If you haven’t yet voted — we know thousands have already done so through vote by mail or early voting — today, Sept. 1, is your day to weigh in.




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