BOSTON — The three Republicans vying for their party’s nomination Tuesday in the race for the 5th Congressional District face long odds come the general election. The district, which snakes north of Boston from Winthrop to Southborough, gave President Obama his second-biggest margin of victory in Massachusetts last November.
The district includes that bastion of Massachusetts liberalism, Harvard Square, where I met Republican hopeful Mike Stopa, a Harvard nanophysicist from Holliston.
“The day the Affordable Care Act was signed into law my children’s life expectancy dropped by 10 years,” Stopa says as he explains his motivation for jumping into the race.
Stopa believes he will emerge as the nominee in part because has been endorsed by former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.
He says the health care law will shorten his children’s lives because he thinks cost controls will hinder pharmaceutical research.
“We are the place where 95 percent of all new medicines are introduced,” Stopa says. “If a German pharmaceutical company introduces a new medicine, typically they will introduce it in America, the United States, 18 months or so before they introduce it back in their home countries. The reason for that is that drug prices are regulated in Germany.”
Republican candidate Tom Tierney has run for Congress before. In 2007, the veteran and consulting actuary lost the Republican primary in the old 5th Congressional District to Jim Ogonowski, who went on to lose to Democrat Niki Tsongas.
Last year, Tierney was the Republican nominee running against Ed Markey.
“Democrat, Republican, they’re access methods,” Tierney said. “I’m really, in my heart of hearts, I’m a classic independent. A lot of times I have what might be perceived as a Democratic leaning. We’ve got a Tea Party guy, Frank Addivinola. We’ve got a classic libertarian, Mike Stopa. And I’m the classic independent.”
Like most of the Democrats running, Tierney opposes President Obama’s plan to redefine how Social Security is indexed to inflation.
“If you’re receiving a pension now under Social Security, 40 million people are, he wants to cut your cost of living,” Tierney said.
The third candidate, Frank Addivinola, declined a request for an interview.
In a short debate last week on New England Cable News, Addivinola said Republicans should demand a delay in the health care law before voting to reopen the government and raising the debt limit.
“As a minimum, we need to delay it for a year, and as the American people understand more about the bill we’re going to see more support from the voters, in fact, that Obamacare is not the solution,” said Addivinola, who lives in Boston, not a part of the district.
“I actually am the only candidate that has hired someone in the private sector,” Addivinola said of his experience as an attorney and publisher.
State officials predict a strong voter turnout. Massachusetts Secretary William Galvin says 100,000 to 120,000 Democrats and up to 20,000 Republicans could cast ballots Tuesday.
Winners from Tuesday’s primary will face off in a general election on Dec. 10.