Voters facing flurry of choices on Tuesday

Sample Ballot- Sept. 14, 2010 electionSample Ballot- Sept. 14, 2010 electionVoters in Dorchester and Mattapan will go the polls on Tuesday to decide Democratic and Republican nominees for a variety of seats, from Congress to their local state representative.

A small wave of retirements and polls showing anti-incumbent sentiment nationwide has prompted a slew of candidates to jump in and led to crowded fields in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Suffolk Districts.
But largely – and particularly in Boston – most incumbents will be cruising to re-election without an opponent. Democrats might be in for a beating nationally, but Massachusetts is likely to remain a deeply blue state.

In the Legislature, there are 26 open House seats and eight open Senate seats. Out of those, 14 Democratic incumbents are facing challengers in a Democratic primary and 96 Democrats are running unopposed, according to a recent State House News Service analysis. And Boston is expected to remain a Democratic stronghold: Just two Republicans are running – including one in the race to replace retiring state Rep. Brian Wallace (D-South Boston) – for legislative seats.

The winners of Tuesday’s Democratic primaries will face off against an opponent, if a Republican or independent are running in the race, on Nov. 2 in the general election. Those without a Republican opponent, such as the winners in the race to replace state Rep. Willie Mae Allen (D-Mattapan) and former state Rep. Marie St. Fleur (D-Dorchester), will essentially cruise to Nov. 2 election.
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Ninth District
Stephen Lynch of South Boston and Mac D’Alessandro of Milton are vying for the Democratic nomination. Lynch, a former ironworker, won the seat in a special election in 2001 after Joseph Moakley died.

D’Alessandro has worked for nearly a decade for the Service Employees International Union.

On the Republican side, it’s war photographer Keith Lepor and Braintree’s Vernon Harrison.

The winners of the Democratic and Republican primaries face each other on Nov. 2.

The seat includes Dorchester, as well as 21 other neighborhoods and towns.

Note: Congressman Michael Capuano of Somerville, a Democrat representing the Eighth District, is running unopposed. The district includes parts of Dorchester and Mattapan.

Two veterans of the Bay State’s political scene face off for the Democratic nomination for state treasurer: Steve Grossman, a longtime fundraiser for Democrats and a former candidate for governor, and Stephen Murphy, a city councillor from Hyde Park who has previously run for treasurer and sheriff.

State Rep. Karyn Polito of Shrewsbury is unopposed for the Republican nomination. She was elected to the House in 2000 and is a former commissioner of the state Lottery.

The treasurer oversees the state Lottery, the Massachusetts School Building Authority, and the Pension Reserves Investment Management board.

There’s a three-way race for the Democratic nomination for state auditor: Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis, former Labor Secretary Suzanne Bump, and former Northeastern University official Michael Lake.

Mary Z. Connaughton, a certified public accountant and former member of the now-defunct Massachusetts Turnpike Authority board, and community activist Kamal Jain are facing off for the Republican nomination.

The auditor offers independent evaluations of various state government agencies.

Second Suffolk

With no Republican challenger, the Democratic primary will decide who takes the oath of office in January. State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz is running for re-election. She is being challenged by Roxbury attorney Hassan Williams.

The district, which runs through Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Back Bay, the South End, Beacon Hill and Chinatown, includes Ward Three (Precincts Seven and Eight), Ward Four (Precincts One to Six, Eight and Nine), Ward Five (Precincts One, Four to Eight, and Eleven), Ward Eight (all precincts), Ward Nine (all precincts), Ward Ten (all precincts), Ward Eleven (all precincts), Ward Twelve (all precincts), Ward Fourteen (Precincts Three, Six to Eleven), and Ward Nineteen (Precincts One to Nine).

Note: Incumbent state Sen. Jack Hart (D-South Boston) is running unopposed. He represents the First Suffolk District on Beacon Hill.

Fourth Suffolk

Race to replace state rep. Brian Wallace
Four Democrats are running to replace state Rep. Brian Wallace, who announced his decision not to run for re-election earlier this year. The candidates include Jacob Bombard, a recent college graduate who does work with the South Boston Neighborhood House; Nicholas Collins, a former aide to Sen. Hart who worked on Joseph Biden’s presidential campaign in 2008; Michael McGee, a Boston lawyer in private practice and Democratic Party activist; and Mark McGonagle, a youth worker.

Patrick Brennan is a local accountant and Republican local activist. He is the only Republican running.
The district includes Ward Six (all precincts), Ward Seven (Precincts One through Nine) and Ward Thirteen (Precincts Three and Six). That translates into South Boston, and parts of Dorchester, including Uphams Corner, Harbor Point and the Polish Triangle.

Fifth Suffolk
Race to replace state rep. Marie St. Fleur

It’s another crowded field for the Fifth Suffolk District. Barry Lawton, an East Boston high school teacher and Carlos Henriquez, a youth worker who’s twice made attempts to run for City Council, are running, as are perennial candidates Althea Garrison and Roy Owens. Garrison held the seat for a one term as a Republican in the early 90s.

The Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan district includes Precinct 10 of Ward Seven, Precincts Five and Seven of Ward Eight, Precinct Six of Ward Twelve, Precincts One through Six of Ward Thirteen, Precincts One to Five and Seven to Nine of Ward 15, Precinct One of Ward 16 and Precinct Two of Ward Seventeen.

Sixth Suffolk
Race to replace state rep. Willie Mae Allen

Democrats will decide who will get the seat in this five-way race. Kathy Gabriel, a self-described community activist for Caribbean American causes and anti-crime initiatives; Russell Holmes, a local community activist and businessman; Darrin Howell, who has held jobs for Fleet Bank, John Hancock and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center before being incarcerated at 21 years old for possession of a firearm and being given a second chance by City Councillor Chuck Turner; Divo Monteiro, a Cape Verde native who advertises himself as a justice of the peace; and Karen Payne, who is the head of the local chapter of the NAACP.

The district, which runs through Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, as well as small parts of Jamaica Plain and Roslindale, includes Ward Fourteen (Precincts Two, Three, and Five to Fourteen), Ward Seventeen (Precincts, One, Five, Seven, Eight and Ten), and Ward Eighteen (Precinct Three).

Note: Other Dorchester and Mattapan lawmakers – state reps. Martin Walsh, Linda Dorcena Forry, and Elizabeth Malia – are running unopposed. All are Democrats.

(Very) Quiet Ones
A number of even quieter races are on the ballot. They include candidates for Attorney General, Secretary of State, Suffolk County Sheriff and District Attorney and Governor’s Council. Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, is running for re-election and unopposed for the Democratic nomination, with write-in candidate James McKenna, a Republican, attempting to make the November ballot. Secretary of State William Galvin, a Democrat, is running unopposed and will face Republican William Campbell and Independent candidate Jim Henderson. In the race for Suffolk County Sheriff, incumbent Andrea Cabral is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Former corrections officer Hassan Smith is running as an independent. There are no Republican candidates in the race. Incumbent Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley is running unopposed. The area’s longtime Governor’s Councillor, Christopher Iannella, Jr., is a Boston Democrat facing a primary challenge from Stephen Flynn of Hull. No Republicans are running. The Governor’s Council, is an eight-member independently-elected body that vets the governor’s judicial nominees.

Material from State House News Service was used in this report.