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Joseph Kennedy III rolled to victory over two other candidates in the Democratic primary in the 4th Congressional District on Thursday, while incumbent Democrats led in early returns from other redrawn districts around the state.
Kennedy, 31, the son of former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy, is making his first run for public office and is the first family member of his generation to enter politics. He defeated Herb Robinson, a software engineer from Newton, and Rachel Brown, a follower of former perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche.
Kennedy will face the winner of a three-way Republican primary in the November election.
Turnout was light in most areas of the state Thursday, in part due to the absence of any contested statewide races. U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, were unopposed in their respective primaries.
The congressional primaries were the first under a new political map that reflects the loss of one of the state's 10 U.S. House districts due to population shifts measured by the latest U.S. Census.
In the reshaped 9th District, which includes Cape Cod and much of the South Shore, freshman Rep. William Keating faced a challenge in the Democratic primary from Bristol District Attorney Sam Sutter. Two Republicans, Adam Chaprales and Christopher Sheldon, were also vying for the seat.
Veteran Democratic Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield was seeking a new term in the 1st District, which has been redrawn to include portions of the western Massachusetts district currently represented by the retiring Rep. John Olver. Neal was opposed in the Democratic primary by former state Sen. Andrea Nuciforo Jr. and Bill Shein, a political activist.
The 4th District stretches from the Boston suburbs of Newton and Brookline to the southeastern Massachusetts cities of Taunton, Attleboro and part of Fall River.
At Brookline High School, where Kennedy voted in the morning, voters slowly trickled in Thursday afternoon.
Democrat Hoit Nelson said he didn't know much about Kennedy but recognized the last name, and that was enough.
"Based on his being a member of the family, I can trust on him having, as part of his family culture, a commitment to public service," Nelson said.
Doris Pratt, a Republican, described her party's congressional ticket as lean because the candidates are relatively unknown, but said she voted for Sean Bielat because she had heard of him. She also had harsh words for Kennedy.
Neither candidate in what could be the most hotly-contested November congressional race in Massachusetts faced primary opposition on Thursday. Incumbent Democrat John Tierney of Salem and Richard Tisei, a former state senator and the 2010 Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, have already been sparring for months in the 6th District. Many in the GOP view Tisei as the party's best hope to capture its first U.S. House seat in Massachusetts since 1994.
This article was originally published on September 05, 2012.
This program aired on September 5, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.
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