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Five districts, five paths to victory 

  • In this map of the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District, towns won by Chelsea Kline are in green and towns won by Jo Comerford are in brown. Bera Dunau and Dave Eisentader

  • Jo Comerford, left, Lindsay Sabadosa, Daniel Carey, Mindy Domb and Natalie Blais. GAZETTE FILE PHOTOS



STAFF WRITER
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — The 2018 Democratic primary has come and gone, and five new people emerged who are almost certain to represent much of Hampshire County in the next legislative session.

For all of these candidates, poised to succeed a veteran delegation, no two races were the same. The following is a breakdown of each candidate’s path to victory on the electoral map, based on the unofficial results.

Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District

In many ways the marquee race of the 2018 primary, the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District race saw write-in candidate Jo Comerford win decisively over Chelsea Kline, the only candidate on the ballot, and fellow write-in candidates Ryan O’Donnell and Steven Connor.

The race results showed a two-way contest between Kline and Comerford, with Comerford scoring 54 percent of the vote to Kline’s 41.

However, in 11 out of the district’s 24 communities, Kline finished ahead. She won two of the larger communities in the district, South Hadley and Montague, as well as some of its smallest towns, including Leyden and Royalston, the district’s only Worcester County town, by a single vote.

Comerford won in Hampshire and Franklin County towns large and small. However, it was her strong performances in both Northampton and Amherst that provided her with her margin of victory over Kline.

Comerford got 63 percent of the vote in Northampton and 57 percent of the vote in Amherst, giving her a 2,626-vote lead over Kline in Northampton and a 910-vote lead in Amherst. Comerford would beat Kline districtwide by 3,373 votes.

1st Hampshire District

If Diana Szynal was running to represent only the communities outside of Northampton in the 1st Hampshire District she would be headed to Beacon Hill, largely on the back of winning more than 70 percent of the vote in her home community of Hatfield.

However, her opponent Lindsay Sabadosa’s commanding win in Northampton, with a majority of almost 2,500 votes, gave Sabadosa enough of a margin to win the district comfortably. Sabadosa also won every ward in Northampton, and was the victor in Westhampton and Montgomery by two votes apiece in both towns.

2nd Hampshire District

The 2nd Hampshire District featured three candidates from three different communities. Not surprisingly, each candidate won his or her hometown. But the large margin that Daniel Carey took out of Easthampton, the district’s most populous community, was too much for either Marie McCourt, of Granby, or John Hine, of South Hadley, to overcome.

Carey won 61 percent of the vote in Easthampton, carrying 773 more votes than Hine and McCourt combined. He held a 971-vote lead over McCourt, his nearest rival there.

McCourt got 62 percent of the vote in Precinct 2 of Granby, a comparable level of support to what Carey received in Easthampton. McCourt held an 86-vote lead over Hine, the community’s runner-up with 74 votes, while Carey received 39 votes and came in third in Granby.

Hine got 1,245 votes in South Hadley, but the performances of McCourt and Carey there meant that translated into 51 percent of the vote, albeit with a 546-vote lead over Carey, his nearest rival there.

Carey also narrowly won Hadley, although McCourt was only 19 votes behind.

At the end of the day, Carey’s Easthampton margin was decisive. In the three communities outside of Easthampton his vote total was 30 percent to Hines’ 42 percent and McCourt’s 28 percent. With Easthampton added in, however, Carey got 45.4 percent of the vote to McCourt’s 30.3 percent and Hine’s 24.3 percent.

3rd Hampshire District

The 3rd Hampshire District featured the only true sweep of the night. Amherst Survival Center Executive Director Mindy Domb not only won Amherst, Pelham and Precinct 1 of Granby, she also won every precinct in the communities in the district.

This result came despite facing candidate Eric Nakajima, the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee chairman, who enjoyed the support of the state AFL-CIO and finished second in the 2016 Democratic Primary in the district to winner Solomon Goldstein-Rose.

Domb won out with 3,732 votes, or 63 percent of the vote. Nakajima received 2,238 votes, or 37 percent of the vote.

1st Franklin District

In the 1st Franklin District, Natalie Blais beat a field of six other Democratic candidates with 41 percent of the vote. Her nearest challenger, Francia Wisinewski, received 17 percent of the vote.

Yet in the Hampshire County portion of the district, Blais actually finished third, behind Casey Pease, of Worthington, and Christine Doktor, of Cummington. Pease and Doktor both had strong wins in their hometowns. Pease also won Chesterfield, Huntington and Middlefield while Doktor won Goshen and Plainfield. Pease also won Chester, the only town in the district in Hampden County.

Blais won Williamsburg in Hampshire County, but her win was assured by winning every single community in the more populous Franklin County portion of the district. Wisnewski, meanwhile, didn’t win a community in the district, but her strong showing in Franklin County was enough to net her runner-up status.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.