2020 Voter Guide: Contested Primaries In Western Mass.

Aug 26, 2020

Updated Aug. 30 

Voters across western Massachusetts will have an opportunity to vote on September 1 in the state primary  — if they haven't already taken advantage of early voting or the expanded mail-in option.

Those who do go the polls will find a mask-filled, socially distant setup with plenty of hand sanitizer and more than a few disinfecting wipes.

Regardless, the ballots will include contested and, in some cases, closely-watched races for the U.S. Senate, U.S House and the Massachusetts legislature.

U.S. Senate: Democrats

Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, left, and Massachusetts U.S. Senator Ed Markey, during a 2017 rally.
Credit Jesse Costa / WBUR

This U.S. Senate seat was previously held by John Kerry before he became secretary of state in 2013. Then-Rep. Ed Markey won a special election in 2013, and a full six-year term in 2014. 

Debates: WGBH, Western Mass News, WBZ

News report: "Markey And Kennedy Agree On Policies, Trade Blame For Negative Tone In Final Debate"

U.S. Senate: Republicans

The last Republican to serve Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate was Scott Brown. Now the U.S. ambassador to Samoa and New Zealand, Brown was in the Senate from 2010 to 2013.

Before Brown, Edward Brooke was the last Republican to represent Massachusetts in the Senate, from 1973-79. Brooke was the country's first African American senator since Reconstruction.

News report: "In the bluest of states, a pair of Republican candidates face off in Senate primary"

U.S. House 1st District: Democrats

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse at the Holyoke Elks Lodge in January 2012.
Credit File photo / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

This district, held by Richard Neal since 1989, includes much of Hampden County, parts of Hampshire and Franklin counties, and all of Berkshire County. Barring a write-in campaign, the winner of the Democratic primary will be uncontested in November.

Debates: NEPM, WWLP

News reports: "In A Lengthy Political Career, Rep. Richard Neal Has Had Few Close Calls," "Neal And Morse Debate College Dems' Allegations, Swap Complaints About 'Showing Up'"

Mass. Senate Hampden District: Democrats

The district, held by Jim Welch since 2011, includes all of West Springfield and parts of Springfield and Chicopee. With no announced Republican candidates, the winner of the Democratic primary will likely be unopposed in November.

Debates: MassVote, Focus Springfield

News reports: "In Democratic Primary For Mass. State Senate, A Disagreement Over Police Bill," "State Senate candidates James Welch and Adam Gomez on the issues"

Mass. House 3rd Hampden District: Republicans

This district, held by Nick Boldyga since 2011, consists of Agawam, Granville and Southwick. The winner of the Republican primary will likely face Democrat Kerri O'Connor in November.

News report: "Incumbent Nicholas Boldyga faces challengers Dino Mercadante, and Kerri O’Connor in 3rd Hampden District race"

Mass. House 4th Hampden District: Republicans

This seat has been vacant since May, when then-Rep. John Velis won a special election for state Senate. The district includes the city of Westfield. In November, the winner of the Republican primary will likely face Democrat Matthew Garlo and Ethan Flaherty, running as an Independent Compassionate Conservative.

News report: "Republican candidates Dan Allie, Kelly Pease to face off in primary to become next Westfield state representative"

Mass. House 5th Hampden District: Democrats

This district, held by outgoing Rep. Aaron Vega since 2013, includes the entire city of Holyoke. The winner of the Democratic primary will likely be uncontested in November.

Debate: Holyoke Media, Chamber of Commerce

News report: "Three Democrats Are Vying For Holyoke State Representative Seat"

Mass. House 9th Hampden District: Democrats

Denise Hurst (left), Sean Mullan (center) and Orlando Ramos (right) are running in the 2020 Democratic primary for a Springfield-based seat in the Massachusetts House.
Credit File / MassLive / masslive.com/photos

This district, held by outgoing Rep. Jose Tosado since 2013, includes portions of Springfield and one precinct in Chicopee. The winner of the Democratic primary will face independent Robert Underwood in November.

Debate: Focus Springfield

News report: "Democratic Contenders In 9th Hampden District Clarify What Sets Them Apart"