3 Takeaways From The Map
Sen. Ed Markey successfully defended his seat against a Democratic primary challenge by Rep. Joe Kennedy, and town-by-town results help explain how he did it. Here are three takeaways from the race, based on the map above.
Markey Cleaned Up In Progressive Pockets
Markey and Kennedy competed hard for the progressive mantle in their contest. Geography suggests that voters ultimately regarded the incumbent as more deserving of it.
Markey racked up victories in municipalities that favored Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic presidential primary six months ago. Sanders and Warren were widely regarded as the most progressive candidates vying for the White House, and they won 78 Massachusetts cities and towns, combined.
Markey claimed at least 51 of those on Tuesday. Several are still tallying votes, as of this writing.
In progressive pockets where Kennedy managed to win, he often did so by thin margins. He snagged Lowell and Chelsea by about 5 points apiece, Worcester by 4, and Lynn and Revere by just 1 point each.
Markey, meanwhile, ran up the score in some progressive strongholds, winning Amherst by 63 points, Somerville by 60, Cambridge by 58, Arlington by 54 and Brookline by 39.
Markey's Dominance In Boston Practically Neutralized Kennedy's Strength In Gateway Cities
Kennedy, despite his family's wealth and privilege, connected with working-class voters throughout the campaign. His effort paid off in Gateway Cities — mid-sized municipalities where the median household income and rate of bachelor's degree holders are both below state averages.
There are 26 Gateway Cities in Massachusetts; Kennedy won 21 of them, including Brockton, Lawrence, New Bedford and Springfield. One of the few that Markey picked up was his hometown of Malden.
Kennedy's total margin of victory in Gateway Cities was 28,469 votes.
But Markey practically neutralized those many defeats with a win in just one place: Boston. He romped by 25,033 votes in the state capital, with 60% support.
Markey Won Many Votes On Kennedy's Turf
Kennedy's attempt to vault into higher office could have benefited from a push by the voters who know him best — those in the 4th Congressional District he has represented since 2013.
The push didn't come.
As of this writing, 32 of the 34 municipalities in the district have reported results, and Markey enjoys a slight lead.
It is worth noting that a few of these cities and towns straddle congressional districts, meaning it will take some additional parsing — and, of course, the rest of the ballot counting — to eventually determine whether Kennedy won or lost among his own constituents.
It is clear, however, that Markey peeled off a lot of support in Kennedy's district — even winning Newton, where Kennedy lives, 64% to 36%.
More State Primary Races
This article was originally published on September 01, 2020.