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Sabadosa scores: ‘Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow we get to work’

  • Lindsay Sabadosa, right, who won the 1st Hampshire District Democratic primary, is greeted by her supporters during an election night party at Spoleto, Tuesday, in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lindsay Sabadosa, right, who won the 1st Hampshire District Democratic primary, speaks to her supporters during an election night party at Spoleto, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lindsay Sabadosa, second from right, who won the 1st Hampshire District Democratic primary, is greeted by her supporters during an election night party at Spoleto, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Diana Szynal, center, who ran for 1st Hampshire District House seat, spends time with her daughter, Hadley, 13, Paul and Leann Kokoski, right, and others during an election night party at Hotel Northampton, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Diana Szynal, who ran for 1st Hampshire District House seat, gets a hug from Jimmy Tarr, of Hatfield, during an election night party at Hotel Northampton, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS



Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 05, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — Lindsay Sabadosa, a Northampton translator and women’s rights advocate, won the Democratic primary for the 1st Hampshire District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives by a commanding margin, defeating Diana Szynal of Hatfield, the longtime district director for the district.

“Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow we get to work,” said Sabadosa, 37, standing on a table as she concluded a rousing victory speech in front of a cheering crowd at Northampton’s Spoleto restaurant. Among the mix of people young and old was someone strumming a miniature banjo. Spoleto owner Claudio Guerra popped a bottle of champagne.  

The 1st Hampshire District consists of Northampton, Westhampton, Southampton and Hatfield in Hampshire County, and Montgomery in Hampden County.

At the time of her victory speech, Sabadosa was leading the race by approximately 60 percent to 40 percent, according to her campaign.​​​​​​ While she won decisively in Northampton, Sabadosa lost Hatfield by a sizable margin, getting about 25 percent of the vote there, and losing Southampton by a smaller amount. No numbers from Westhampton were available at the time.

“People kept saying they thought it was going to be close,” Sabadosa told a Gazette reporter. “We were expecting it to be good — we didn’t think it would be quite this great.”

In her speech, Sabadosa noted the hard work that she and her team have been putting into the race since March, saying that the campaign had made more than 20,000 voter contacts and knocked on 14,000 doors.

“I only did 4,000 of those,” she said with a grin.

She also said the campaign made 9,000 phone calls.

“All of Northampton can rest easy knowing that I will not call you again,” Sabadosa said.

Sabadosa gave a special shoutout to her union supporters, and the work the unions had done to get her elected, while also mentioning the efforts of groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

The 1st Hampshire District was left vacant after state Rep. Peter Kocot, D-Northampton, died of cancer in February. Kocot had held the seat for 16 years. 

Sabadosa and Szynal largely espoused the same policy positions, but they ran distinctly different campaigns.

Szynal underscored her history in constituent services and her connection with Kocot. Sabadosa, on the other hand, emphasized her willingness to aggressively push for progressive policies on Beacon Hill. One of the founders of the Pioneer Valley Women’s March, Sabadosa also emphasized her history as an activist and advocate for progressive causes.

At Szynal’s election party at the Hotel Northampton, the mood was somber, with a number of people hugging the candidate.

“I’m happy with how we ran the campaign,” Szynal said. “We kept it clean and honest. Had a lot of people working hard and pulling for us. Didn’t get the results we wanted.”

Asked why she thought she lost by the margin she did, Szynal attributed it to being part of the “blue wave.” She also said that she wouldn’t apply again for her current job as district director once her employment ends at the end of the year.

Voter turnout in Northampton, which makes up much of the population of the district, was nearly 50 percent, according to City Clerk Pamela Powers. Before the election, Powers gave 30 percent as a good possible turnout figure for the election. 

“People are a little worried about being underrepresented here,” said Powers, in explaining the high turnout. “I’m very pleased.”

Because there are no other candidates for the 1st Hampshire District, Sabadosa’s victory in the general election on Nov. 6 is all but certain.

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