BOSTON Democrat Katherine Clark handily defeated her opponents in a special election for Massachusetts’ 5th Congressional District Tuesday, to fill the seat vacated when Edward Markey was elected to the U.S. Senate.
The state senator from Melrose won 66 percent of the vote to Republican Frank Addivinola’s 32 percent. A pair of independent candidates split the remainder.
Clark delivered her victory speech before an enthusiastic crowd in a Stoneham function hall Tuesday night.
“I have three words for you — we did it,” Clark told the crowd.
There was not a lot of drama in this race.
The 5th Congressional District, which bends through the suburbs north and west of Boston, is heavily Democratic. It voted for President Obama by more than 30 points in last fall’s election.
The more competitive contest was the seven-way Democratic primary in October, which pitted Clark against several other state legislators.
Clark, who is married with three sons, emphasized women’s and family issues in the primary and the general election. And she repeatedly called out Republicans in Congress, a theme she returned to Tuesday night.
“We sent a message to the extremists in Congress that it is time to get back to work for middle-class families because when women make equal pay for equal work, it’s easier for a family to pay the bills, to save for college and to help an aging parent,” she said.
Clark will enter a House chamber controlled by the GOP and a Washington mired in partisan gridlock. But she vowed to fight climate change and press for tougher gun laws.
Republican Frank Addivinola presided over a more subdued gathering at a bar and restaurant in Malden, where he grew up.
As supporters munched on pizza, Addivinola made glancing reference to his central charge against Clark during the campaign: that she ducked several debates and forums and tried to cruise to victory.
“Of course the results are disappointing. They’re not what we expected. But we’re happy that we ran a nice, clean, issue-oriented campaign,” Addivinola said. “That we were available for the voters to have a dialogue, to be available to participate in forums and debates.”
The race generated little enthusiasm among voters. Turnout was a paltry 13 percent.
Clark, who is 50, grew up in Connecticut. She has served on the Melrose School Committee and as general counsel for the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services.
She’ll be the third woman in the state’s 11-person congressional delegation, joining Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Niki Tsongas.
Clark says she expects to be sworn in sometime this week.