Don’t figure on taking a breather the day after Labor Day, Boston, because there’s electoral work to do. That is the day when the primaries for an assortment of state and federal offices, including governor and lieutenant governor, district attorney, Congress, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and state Senate and House positions, will be held across the state.
This election will be the voters’ last word on many of these Democrat-heavy races. Some of the victors will face uphill climbs against a popular gubernatorial team in November, others will face token opposition from those who skipped past primaries to the general election by registering as unenrolled candidates, and many more will skate right back into their offices with no opponents in either the primary or the final election in November.
The following is a breakdown of some of the races Dorchester and Mattapan residents will vote on next Tuesday.
Incumbent Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican with his party's nomination, is seeking a second term in the corner office. The most popular governor in the country as of a poll in late July, Baker, who has cultivated a reputation as a wonkish, pragmatic governor, goes into his primary with a 67 percent favorability rating. In the party primary, he faces Scott Lively, a Trumpesque candidate, pastor, and lawyer who is outspokenly hostile to abortion and LGBTQ+ protections.
On the Democratic side, Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie and are vying for the chance to wrest control from Baker in November. Gonzalez, who racked up 70 percent of delegates at the state convention as well as the Boston Globe's endorsement, is a former secretary of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance in the Deval Patrick administration, says his understanding of the cogs of government prime him to lead. Massie touts his experience leading nonprofits and says he will bring a bold outsider’s eye to Beacon Hill with an emphasis on economic and environmental change.
Money talks: Cash on hand for each candidate: Baker, $6,588,891; Lively, $6,307; Gonzalez, $366,804; Massie, $82,976.
Incumbent Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito is unchallenged in the Republican primary.
Two Democrats hope to make their party’s ticket. Quentin Palfrey, a lawyer highlighting his social justice background, was at one time the health care chief in the Massachusetts attorney general’s office. He also served as a senior adviser in both the Office of Science Technology Policy and the Department of Commerce in the Obama administration.
He faces Jimmy Tingle, a comedian drawing on his past struggles with substance abuse who is running a serious campaign with the tip-of-the spear aimed at providing supports for a state hammered by an opioid epidemic.
Money talks: Cash on hand for each Democratic candidate: Palfrey, $78,173; Tingle, $38,565.
Secretary of the Commonwealth:
Six-term incumbent William Galvin is on the Democratic ballot against challenger Josh Zakim, a Boston city councillor representing the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and Fenway neighborhoods for the last five years. The two have publicly sparred throughout the race, sometimes in fiery fashion.
Galvin touts improvements to the state voting system during his 24-year tenure, including the establishment of a central voter registry, mail-in and online voter registration, pre-registration starting at age 16, simplification of absentee ballots, early voting, and automatic voter registration. He was endorsed by the Boston Globe.
Zakim, for his part, paints himself as an aggressively progressive candidate, highlighting proposals in the city council to expand voter access, calling for same-day voter registration, and noting that a number of changes to the state voting process were implemented once a challenge arrived on Galvin’s doorstep. He locked down the Democratic nomination at the state convention and was endorsed by the Boston Herald.
Money talks: Cash on hand for each candidate: Galvin, $410,539; Zakim, $437,392.
The 7th Congressional District (sections of Boston, Cambridge, Milton, Chelsea, Everett, Randolph, Somerville):
In a hotly contested race, 10-term incumbent and reliably progressive incumbent Michael Capuano is facing off against Boston City Councillor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley, a Dorchester resident.
Capuano, a former Somerville mayor and outspoken Trump administration critic, has racked up endorsements from Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, organizations like the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Human Rights Campaign, the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee, and congressional colleagues including US Rep. Joe Kennedy III, whose father preceded Capuano in the seat in a district famously represented by JFK.
Pressley, the first woman of color to be elected to the Boston City Council (2009), does not dispute the incumbent’s progressive voting record, but she says the only majority-minority district in the state needs a new lens to effectively advocate for its diverse and progressive constituency. Both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald editorial boards endorsed Pressley, as have several of her city council colleagues, the National Women’s Political Caucus, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
Money talks: For Capuano, receipts: $1,736,212, cash on hand: $750,779. For Pressley, receipts: $898,193, cash on hand: $131,174.
Suffolk County District Attorney (Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop):
It seems like a jump ball for this seat with a crowded field of five candidates in the Democratic primary: Evandro Carbvalho, a state representative and former assistant district attorney; Linda Champion, a former assistant district attorney who most recently worked at the state Department of Industrial Accidents; Greg Henning, former head of the Suffolk DA’s gang unit and decade-long veteran of the department endorsed by departing DA Dan Conley; Shannon McAuliffe, director at the Roca organization, which engages with high-risk youths to interrupt cycles of poverty and criminality; and Rachael Rollins, a former federal prosecutor and former head of the legal departments of state transportation agencies.
The victor will face Brockton-based attorney Michael Maloney in the November final as he is running as an unenrolled candidate.
Money talks: Cash on hand for each candidate: Henning, $256,059; Rollins, $92,736; McAuliffe, $32,572; Carvalho, $7,918; Champion, $4,239.
4th Suffolk House District (South Boston, Dorchester):
Two men are running to replace state Sen. Nick Collins in the seat representing Southie and the northern edge of Dorchester, including Columbia Point.
A lawyer and long-time staffer to then-Rep. Collins, David Biele has worked as a hearing officer with the Department of Public Utilities. He says his years in the State House and state agencies will translate to his work on pushing legislative priorities for his home district. He also points to his work in writing a law deferring real estate taxes for longtime residents on a fixed income and another that mandates environmental testing as part of the dredging of Boston Harbor and expansion of Conley Terminal. District 3 City Councillor Frank Baker has endorsed Biele.
Matthew Rusteika, a fourth generation South Bostonian who is running on a platform for “working families,” served in the Baker administration’s energy office and says in his website that he participated in writing the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan.
Money talks: For Rusteika, receipts: $33,473, cash on hand: $18,295. For Biele, receipts: $65,858, cash on hand: $18,829.
5th Suffolk House District (Dorchester, Roxbury):
It’s a battle of the advocates for the 5th Suffolk seat, with longtime union member and CORI reform champion Darrin Howell, of Dorchester, in a close race with Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative veteran and longtime youth advocate Liz Miranda, of Roxbury. Howell points to his existing relationships with state senators and representatives like Russell Holmes, who has endorsed him, and his experience advocating for criminal justice reform and constituent services as an indicator he can hit the hill running.
Miranda, endorsed by former state Rep. Marie St. Fleur, who held the seat, says her history as a coalition builder also sets her up well to collaborate with future state colleagues.
The Democratic Party Committee for Wards 15 and 12 endorsed Howell, as have the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and his home advocacy group 1199 SEIU healthcare workers union. Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell, state Rep. Chynah Tyler, and the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, have endorsed Miranda.
Perennial candidate Roy Owens is also on the ballot, as is Brad Howze, a convicted Level 3 sex offender who lives in Dorchester and says he is affiliated with the New Sinai House of Prayer on Bowdoin Street.
Money talks: For Miranda, receipts: $50,861, cash on hand: $15,360. For Howell, receipts: $33,103, cash on hand: $8,431. For Owens, receipts: $3,195, cash on hand: $0. For Howze, no filings.
12th Suffolk House District (Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, Milton):
Sitting at the city’s farthest south reaches, the 12th Suffolk seat serves a majority-minority constituency. Incumbent Dan Cullinane, raised in Dorchester, has represented the district in the House since 2013. He is running on a record of bringing in resources for transit and quality of life improvements for the district, notably his championing of the Mattapan High Speed Trolley line that serves as both a locally beloved historic tram and a critical artery connecting Mattapan residents with the Red Line.
Jovan Lacet, a lawyer and Mattapan resident who was born in Haiti, is again challenging Cullinane for the seat. With a platform and public comments centered on representation and an assertion that he incumbent is not a leader, Lacet is likely to benefit from turnout in communities of color sparked by diverse up-ballot races.
In a sleepy 2016 race, Cullinane won the Democratic primary with 54 percent against Lacet’s 35 percent.
While no ward committees or civic groups have endorsed this year, Cullinane has the area’s establishment on his side: Mayor Martin Walsh, state Sen. Nick Collins, state representatives Dan Hunt and Russell Holmes, Council President Andrea Campbell, and a host of Boston city councillors and members of the Milton Board of Selectmen have called for his re-election. He also received the endorsement of the Dorchester Reporter this week.
Money talks: For Cullinane, receipts: $36,318, cash on hand: $10,944. For Lacet, receipts: $7,300, cash on hand: $2,655.
Suffolk County Register of Deeds (Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop):
Katie Forde is mounting another challenge to incumbent register Stephen Murphy. In 2016, Murphy won a seven-person race, and Forde was one of the other candidates for the largely administrative post. Murphy topped the ticket with 11,030 votes to Forde’s 9,203. Texas native Forde sees the office as an opportunity to create more home ownership and to close the wealth gap. A former Boston city councilor, Murphy notes that his team has made strides toward improving the notoriously inaccessible deeds website and has worked to bring the office into the neighborhoods and improve non-English accessibility to register business.
Money talks: Cash on hand for Forde, $31,346. For Murphy, $25,221.
Governor’s Council (4th District):
Longtime incumbent, first elected in 1992, Christopher Iannella, Jr. (son of the famed Boston city councillor, Christopher Iannella) is running for re-election to the panel responsible for confirming gubernatorial appointments including, most critically, judges and members of the parole board. Iannella, an attorney and Jamaica Plain resident who has the public support of Mayor Walsh, is facing an aggressive challenge from first-time candidate Mark Rooney of South Boston, who has picked up support from police and fire unions in recent weeks.
State Sen. Nick Collins will be alone on the ballot for the First Suffolk Senate seat, which he has held since winning a special election in May to replace former Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry. State Rep. Russell Holmes is running unopposed in the 6th Suffolk District that he has served since 2010. And state Rep. Dan Hunt has no challenger in his 13th Suffolk district.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and stay open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4. To look up polling locations, visit the state elections website.