The Short List Looks Ahead To Election Day, Hoping 'Best Quality Of Our Democracy' Comes Through

Oct 30, 2020

Besides the presidential election, there are several contested Massachusetts legislative races in Hampden County on the ballot this year.

There are a number of other races in the state to watch as well.

In the Massachusetts 2nd Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Jim McGovern is being challenged by Republican Tracy Lovvorn, in a rematch of two years ago. Incumbent U.S. Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat, faces Republican Kevin O'Connor. The two statewide ballot questions cover access to automobile data for independent repair shops and ranked choice voting

As panelist Mike Dobbs looks down the ballot, he's keeping a close eye on the race for the Massachusetts House seat in the 7th Hampden District. The district — which consists of Ludlow and parts of Springfield, Belchertown and Chicopee — has been represented for 34 years by Rep. Thomas Petrolati, who opted not to run again.

"I think it's always interesting when you have an open seat, especially after an incumbent of that many years leaves," Dobbs said. "So that's the one I'm most interested in."

All state legislators are running unopposed in Berkshire County, the region covered by panelist Larry Parnass. Regardless, he's got his eye on a different concern: the democratic process.

"I hope this doesn't sound alarmist," Parnass said, "but what I'm looking forward to is not facing civil war sometime after Tuesday. That I don't hear gunshots. And that there's not a constitutional crisis."

Parnass said he knows those specific concerns are not exactly on the ballot.

"But what I'm really looking forward to," he said, "is learning that all of the ballots have been counted around the country, and that the best quality of our democracy can come through this."

Looking back at the last full week before Election Day, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker nominated Supreme Judicial Court Justice Kimberly Budd to head the court. If confirmed, she will replace the late Ralph Gants, who died in September. Budd, at 54, is also poised to be the youngest chief justice of the SJC in over a century.

Baker potentially has two associate justice slots to fill: the one Budd is vacating, and that of retiring Justice Barbara Lenk. This would mean all of the sitting justices had been nominated by Baker.

COVID-19 cases continue to be on the rise in New England. Two neighboring governors, in New York and Connecticut, are warning their residents about traveling to Massachusetts.

We also check in on what our panelists have been writing about: an unusual occurrence this Halloween, and lessons learned in 2020

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