State Primary On Sep. 4 Offers Welter of Choices For Groton Voters
Groton voters have a unique opportunity at this year’s primary election as they will help decide who will replace long-serving representative in Congress Nikki Tsongas and State Senator Eileen Donahue. With that opportunity, however, voters face a dizzying numberof candidates for both national and state offices and a voting day some believe is overshadowed by the Labor Day holiday and back-to-school activities. Another challenge for Groton voters in Precinct One is a change in polling places as voters in that precinct will cast their ballots at Town Hall instead of the Senior Center. The Senior Center is under construction and the polling location for Precinct One has been temporarily moved to Town Hall.
The state primary election is essentially a nominating process whereby voters, by casting ballots in their respective parties, choose candidates who will then seek the political offices open for election against candidates from other parties in the general election in November. The two main political parties – Democratic and Republican – will select candidates for two national offices (U.S. Senator and U. S. Representative) and a dozen state offices including Governor, State Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Senator and State Representative.
Groton voters who are registered in the Republican Party will receive a Republican Ballot and voters who are registered in the Democratic Party will receive a Democratic Ballot. The majority of voters in Groton are registered as “unenrolled” and those voters may choose either a Republican Ballot or a Democratic Ballot or the ballot of a third party.
At this year’s primary election, the Republican Ballot is highlighted by the race for U.S. Senator while the Democratic Ballot is highlighted by the race for U. S. Representative and also by the race for State Senator. The high interest races on the Republican Ballot and Democratic Ballot are summarized below.
Three candidates on the Republican Ballot are seeking the Republican nomination for U. S. Senator from Massachusetts: Geoff Diehl, John Kingston and Beth Lindstrom. The winner of this race will face the probable Democratic nominee Elizabeth Warren. Warren is running uncontested on the Democratic ballot and is the incumbent U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. Lindstrom, a Groton resident, appears to be the favorite among local Republicans but in a statewide race money and recognition play major roles in the outcome. Kingston kicked off a major TV advertising campaign by ridiculing Warren for having larger national political ambitions.
In stark contrast to the Democratic Ballot, there is only one candidate seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Representative and the right to replace Nikki Tsongas from the Third Congressional District. Rick Green is running unopposed on the Republic Ballot and will face the winner of a 10-candidate race on the Democratic Ballot.
For statewide offices, there is only one candidate for State Senator on the Republican Ballot. John MacDonald is running unopposed and will be the Republican candidate to face the winner of a five-candidate race for State Senator on the Democratic Ballot. The State Senator race from the First Middlesex District will determine the successor to Eileen Donahue who stepped down April 11 in order to assume the job of Lowell City Manager.
Of other note on the Republican Ballot is the office of State Representative. Incumbent Sheila Harrington of Groton is running unopposed on the Republican Ballot and she will not only win the Republican nomination but also win her reelection bid as State Representative from the First Middlesex District. There are no candidates for State Representative on the Democratic Ballot and Harrington will be assured of winning reelection to her seat.
Perhaps, the most interesting race in this area to come out of this year’s Primary Election is the race for U.S. Representative from the Third Congressional District. The interest in this race can be gauged by the number of candidates seeking to be the Democratic candidate for this position. Ten candidates are seeking the Democratic
nomination and the opportunity to become the successor to Nikki Tsongas. The 10 candidates appear alphabetically on the Democratic Ballot: Jeffrey Ballinger, Alexandra Chandler, Beej Das, Rufus Gifford, Leonard Golder, Daniel Koh, Barbara L’Italien, Sophia Malone, Juana Matias and Lori Trahan. The winner of this 10-way race will face Republican candidate Rick Green in the November General Election.
While a couple of the candidates have taken to the airwaves (Lori Trahan and Daniel Koh), most of the candidates are using the Postal Service to introduce themselves to voters. The 10 candidates have similar positions on national issues (health care, gun control, immigration, economic opportunity) but some candidates are emphasizing certain issues over others. There is no runoff election in Massachusetts, so the candidate receiving the highest number of votes will become the Democratic candidate.
The other race of interest on the Democratic Ballot is for the position of State Senator from the First Middlesex District. The seat was vacated by Eileen Donahue in April and that has opened the door for several candidates to enter the race to succeed her. There are five candidates seeking to become the Democratic candidate (in alphabetical order: John Drinkwater, Rodney Elliott, Edward Kennedy, William Martin and Terry Ryan. The winner of this five-way race will run against Republican candidate Joe MacDonald in the November General Election.
Also of interest on the Democratic Ballot is the race for Secretary of State as incumbent William Galvin is facing a challenge within his own party. Galvin, a long-term incumbent, is fighting a challenge from Josh Zakim to become the Democratic candidate. The TV ad campaign between Galvin and Zakim has been particularly aggressive. The winner of this race will face Republican candidate Anthony Amore in the November General Election.
The Democratic Ballot will also decide on a candidate for Massachusetts Governor. Two candidates are seeking to become the Democratic candidate: Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie. The winner will take on popular Republican incumbent Charlie Baker in the November General Election.
An interesting side note on the Democratic Ballot is the lack of candidates for Groton’s State Representative. Local Democrats from the First Middlesex District were unable to place a candidate on the ballot thus ensuring that Republican incumbent Sheila Harrington will win election to another term.
Polls in Groton will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sep. 4. Voters in Precinct One will cast their ballots at Town Hall while voters in Precincts Two and Three will cast their ballots at the Groton Country Club.