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The Contested Legislative Races In Massachusetts

Massachusetts State House. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Massachusetts State House. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
This article is more than 2 years old.

A list of the contested legislative races throughout Massachusetts that will be decided this Election Day. Many of the races are long-shot challenges to incumbents.


Contested Massachusetts State Senate Races:

3 Open Seats (all currently occupied by Democrats)

Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District:

  • Christine Canning, Republican — Lanesborough
  • Adam Hinds, Democrat — Pittsfield

Cape and Islands District:

  • Julian Andre Cyr, Democrat — Truro
  • Anthony Schiavi, Republican — Harwich

Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth District:

  • Jonathan Lott, A Better Choice — Stoughton
  • Walter Timilty, Democrat — Milton

9 Contested Races with Incumbent Democrats

2nd Essex and Middlesex District:

  • Barbara L'Italien, Democrat — Andover
  • Susan LaPlante, Republican — Lawrence

L’Italien is looking for her second Senate term. The former state representative staged a comeback in 2014, winning the open Senate seat, 53 to 47 percent.

1st Hampden and Hampshire District:

  • Eric Lesser, Democrat — Longmeadow
  • James 'Chip' Harrington, Republican — Ludlow

Lesser is seeking his second term. He was first elected in 2014, emerging from a three-way election with 50.4 percent of the vote.

Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District:

  • Stanley Rosenberg, Democrat — Amherst
  • Donald Peltier, Republican — South Hadley

Senate President Stan Rosenberg is looking for his 14th term in the Senate. He was first elected to the Senate in a 1991 special election to replace Sen. John Olver, who had been elected to Congress. Rosenberg has mostly run unopposed except for challenges in 1992 (80-20 percent); 2000 (89-11 percent); 2004 (84-16 percent); 2006 (85-15 percent); and 2008 (84-16 percent).

5th Middlesex District:

  • Jason Lewis, Democrat — Winchester
  • Vincent Lawrence Dixon, Republican — Winchester

Lewis is looking for his second full-term in the Senate. He was first elected in a special election in 2014 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Katherine Clark, who had been elected to the U.S. Congress. Lewis easily won re-election in the 2014 general election, beating challenger Monica Medeiros, 57-43 percent.

Middlesex and Worcester District:

  • James Eldridge, Democrat — Acton
  • Ted Busiek, Republican — Littleton
  • Terra Friedrichs, Cooperative Green Economy — Acton

Eldridge is seeking his fifth term in the Senate. He was first elected in 2008, easily beating Republican Steven Levy, 57-43 percent. He beat Republican George Thompson by the same margin two years later, and expanded his lead in 2012, beating Republican Dean Cavaretta, 65-35 percent. Eldridge was unopposed in 2014.

Norfolk and Plymouth District:

  • John Keenan, Democrat — Quincy
  • Alexander Mendez, Independent — Quincy

Keenan is looking for his fourth Senate term. First elected in 2010, Keenan beat two candidates with 56 percent of the vote. He was unopposed in 2012, and easily beat back a challenge by Republican Les Gosule in 2014, 66-34 percent.

1st Plymouth and Bristol District:

  • Marc Pacheco, Democrat — Taunton
  • Sandra Wright, Republican — Bridgewater

Pacheco is vying for his 13th Senate term. He won his first Senate term in 1992, by beating his Republican opponent, 55-45 percent. He was unopposed in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2008 and 2012. He fielded challenges in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2010 and 2014, the narrowest margin being 2010 when he beat Republican David Pottier, 58-42 percent. His widest margins of victory were in 2000 and 2004 when he garnered 74 percent of the vote against Republican challengers.

2nd Worcester District:

  • Michael Moore, Democrat — Millbury
  • Mesfin Beshir, Republican — Worcester

Moore is looking for his fifth term. He was first elected in 2008 with 60 percent of the vote over two opponents. He has been unopposed in all other elections, except the 2012 race, when he beat Republican challenger Stephen Simonian, 68-32 percent.

Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex District:

  • Anne Gobi, Democrat — Spencer
  • James Ehrhard, Republican -- Sturbridge

Gobi is looking for her second term in the Senate. She narrowly won the open seat in 2014 when she narrowly beat Republican Michael Valanzola by 398 votes.


3 Contested Races With Incumbent Republicans

2nd Hampden and Hampshire District:

  • Donald Humason, Jr., Republican — Westfield
  • Jerome Parker-O'Grady, Democrat — Southampton

Humason is looking for his second full Senate term. He was first elected in a special election in 2013 beating David Bartley 53-47 percent. He beat Democratic challenger Patrick Leahy, 57-43 percent.

Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District:

  • Richard Ross, Republican — Wrentham
  • Kristopher Aleksov, Democrat — Wayland

Ross is seeking his fourth full term in office. He beat Democrat Peter Smulowitz 62-38 percent in a special election in 2010 to fill out the unfinished term of Scott Brown. He was unopposed in the 2010 and 2012 general elections, and easily beat Democratic challenger Dylan Hayre 61-39 percent.

Plymouth and Norfolk District:

  • Patrick O'Connor, Republican — Weymouth
  • Paul Gannon, Democrat — Hingham

Freshman Sen. O’Connor has only been in office a few months, having won a special election this May to fill out the term of Robert Hedlund who resigned to become the mayor of Weymouth.


Contested Massachusetts House Of Rep. Races:

6 Open Seats (all currently occupied by Democrats)

2nd Barnstable District:

  • William Crocker, Jr., Republican — Barnstable
  • Aaron Kanzer, Democrat — Barnstable

Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket District:

  • Dylan Fernandes, Democrat — Falmouth
  • Jacob Ferry, Independent — West Tisbury (Withdrawn)
  • Tobias Glidden, Independent — Falmouth

7th Middlesex District:

  • Yolanda Greaves, Republican — Ashland
  • Jack Patrick Lewis, Democrat — Framingham
  • Clifford Wilson, Unenrolled — Ashland

3rd Plymouth District:

  • Kristin Arute, Republican — Hingham
  • Joan Meschino, Democrat — Hull

10th Worcester District:

  • Sandra Slattery Biagetti, Republican — Hopedale
  • Brian Murray, Democrat — Milford

4th Worcester District:

  • Thomas "Frank" Ardinger, Republican — Leominster
  • Natalie Higgins, Democrat — Leominster

21 Contested Races with Incumbent Democrats

3rd Berkshire District:

  • Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Democrat — Pittsfield
  • Christopher Connell, Independent — Pittsfield

Bouvier is seeking her fourth term in office. First elected in a special election in 2011, beating three opponents. She ran unopposed in 2014 and 2012.

6th Essex District:

  • Jerald Parisella, Democrat — Beverly
  • Daniel Fishman, United Independent Party — Beverly

Parisella is seeking his fourth term. First elected by a wide margin (60-40 percent) in 2010, he ran unopposed in 2012, and won by a wide margin (74-26 percent) over an unenrolled challenger.

15th Essex District:

  • Linda Dean Campbell, Democrat — Methuen
  • Nicholas Torresi, Independent — Methuen

Linda Dean Campbell is seeking her sixth term. First elected in 2006 with 60 percent of the vote over two opponents. She handily beat a single opponent in 2008, garnered 52 percent of the vote against three challengers in 2010, was unopposed in 2012 and beat a single Republican challenger, Al DiNuccio, 57-43 percent.

9th Hampden District:

  • Jose Tosado, Democrat — Springfield
  • Robert Underwood, Unenrolled — Springfield

Tosado is looking for his second term. He beat Robert Underwood in 2014 78-21 percent.

4th Middlesex District:

  • Danielle Gregoire, Democrat — Marlborough
  • Paul Ferro, Republican-- Marlborough

Gregoire is seeking her fourth term. First elected in 2008, beating two opponents with only 48 percent of the vote. She lost her first re-election bid in 2010 by 100 votes against challenger Steven Levy. Gregoire regained her seat two years later, beating Levy by 214 votes. She narrowly hung onto her seat in 2014, beating two challengers with only 50 percent of the vote.

9th Middlesex District:

  • Thomas Stanley, Democrat — Waltham
  • Stacy Gallagher Tully, Independent — Waltham

Stanley is seeking his eighth term. First elected in 2000 with 57 percent of the vote over 2 candidates. He was unopposed in 2002, and beat two opponents including Green Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein in 2004. Stanley ran unopposed in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, and easily defeated a single candidate in 2014.

14th Middlesex District:

  • Cory Atkins, Democrat — Concord
  • Helen Brady, Republican — Concord
  • Daniel Factor, Green Rainbow — Acton

Atkins is seeking her 10th term. She first won a special election in 1999, beating Acton Republican Dean Cavaretta 55-45 percent. She was unopposed in 2000, and beat a single challenger in 2002 59-41 percent. She beat a single challenger in 2004, 60-40 percent. She was unopposed in 2006. She had single opponents in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, beating her final challenger 75-25 percent.

18th Middlesex District:

  • Rady Mom, Democrat — Lowell
  • Kamara Kay, Republican — Lowell

Mom is seeking his second term. He beat one opponent in the 2014 general election. He did face two opponents in the 2016 primary, but won with 51 perent of the vote.

21st Middlesex District:

  • Kenneth Gordon, Democrat — Bedford
  • Paul Girouard, Jr., Republican — Burlington

Gordon is looking for his third term. He was first elected in 2012, beating a single opponent 55-45 percent. He beat Paul Girouard in 2014, 52-48 percent.

27th Middlesex District:

  • Denise Provost, Democrat — Somerville
  • Aaron James, Pirate — Somerville

Provost is seeking her seventh term. She won a special Democratic primary in 2006 and was unopposed in every election until 2012, when she faced a challenge in the Democratic primary, but beat her opponent, 87-13 percent. Provost faced an opponent from the Pirate Party in the general election in 2014, but won 88-12 percent.

31st Middlesex District:

  • Michael Seamus Day, Democrat — Stoneham
  • Caroline Colarusso, Republican — Stoneham

Day is seeking his second term. He was first elected in 2014, beating Republican Caroline Colarusso 51-49 percent.

12th Norfolk District:

  • John Rogers, Democrat — Norwood
  • Tim Hempton, Republican — Walpole

Rogers is seeking his 13th term. He was first elected to an open seat in 1992, beating his Republican opponent easily, 65-35 percent. He was unopposed until 2010 with the exception of a primary challenge in 2006, which he easily on with 72 percent of the vote. In 2010, 2012 and 2014 he beat back Republican challengers, including Tim Hempton in 2014, 58-42 percent.

4th Plymouth District:

  • James Cantwell, Democrat — Marshfield
  • Michael White, Republican — Marshfield

Cantwell is seeking his fifth term in office. He was first elected in 2008 when he beat an unenrolled challenger 62-38 percent. He was unopposed in 2010 and faced token Republican challenges in 2012 (68-32 percent) and 2014 (59-41 percent).

6th Plymouth District:

  • Josh Cutler, Democrat — Duxbury
  • Vince Cogliano, Republican — Pembroke

Cutler is looking for his third term. He was narrowly defeated in his first bid for the seat in 2010, losing to incumbent Republican Daniel Webster. Cutler came back two years later in 2012 and beat Republican Karen Barry 55-45 percent. The margin was slightly closer in 2014 when he beat Joseph Sheehan 54-46 percent.

9th Plymouth District:

  • Gerard Cassidy, Democrat — Brockton
  • Danny Yoon, Republican — Brockton

Gerry Cassidy is looking for his first full term. He emerged from a three-way special Democratic primary earlier this year to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Rep. Mike Brady, who had been elected to the state Senate. He ran unopposed in the special general election.

12th Plymouth District:

  • Thomas Calter, III, Democrat — Kingston
  • Peter Boncek, Republican — Kingston

Calter is seeking his sixth term. He was first elected in 2006, gaining an open seat by a mere 290 votes. He was unopposed in 2008 and again in 2014, but faced Republican challengers in 2010 and 2012, winning with 55 percent and 62 percent, respectively.

5th Suffolk District:

  • Evandro Carvalho, Democrat — Boston
  • Althea Garrison, Republican — Boston

Carvalho is running for his second full term. He was first elected in a special election in 2014 to fill out the term of convicted state Rep. Carlos Henriquez, who was the first house member to be expelled from office since 1916. He easily won the general election in November of 2014, beating Republican challenger Claudette Joseph, 88-11 percent.

This year, he’s running against perennial candidate, Garrison, who has run for the seat several times as both a Democrat and a Republican. She actually held the seat as a Democrat for a single term in 1993 and 1994.

11th Suffolk District:

  • Elizabeth Malia, Democrat — Boston
  • Stephen Charles Bedell, New Progressive Leadership — Boston

Malia is looking for her 10th term. She was first elected in a special election in 1998 and was mostly unopposed over the past 12 years. She faced a primary challenge in September from Charles Clemons, Jr. and beat him handily 71-29 percent.

12th Worcester District:

  • Harold Naughton, Jr., Democrat -- Clinton
  • Charlene Dicalogero, Green Rainbow-- Berlin

Naughton is seeking his 12th term in office. He was first elected in 1994, narrowly defeating Republican Michael Ward by only 279 votes. He was unopposed in 1996 and easily re-elected with 87 percent of the vote in 1998.

He faced token challenges in 2000, 2002 and 2004 and was unopposed in the general elections of 2006 and 2008. He garnered 61 percent of the vote over a Republican challenger in 2010, was unopposed again in 2012 and faced his toughest general election contest in 2014, defeating his Republican challenger 55-45 percent.

15th Worcester District:

  • Mary Keefe, Democrat — Worcester
  • Ralph Perez, Unenrolled — Worcester

Keefe hopes to win her third term. She easily won her first race in 2012, 75-25 percent. She was unopposed in 2014.

16th Worcester District:

  • Daniel Donahue, Democrat — Worcester
  • John Fresolo, United Independent — Worcester

Donahue is looking for his second full term. He was first elected in a special election in 2013 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Fresolo. Donahue beat four Democratic opponents in the special primary, besting the field with 27 percent of the vote. He easily won the special general election beating his Republican opponent Carol Claros 64-36 percent. Donahue defeated a single primary challenger in 2014, 53-48 percent.

Fresolo is trying to re-capture the seat he was forced to resign three years ago. He staged a write-in campaign to garner the nomination for the United Independent Party, even though the UIP has disavowed his candidacy.


17 Contested Races with Incumbent Republicans

3rd Barnstable District:

  • David Vieira, Republican — Falmouth
  • Matthew Patrick, Democrat — Falmouth

Vieira is seeking his fourth term. He was first elected in 2010, part of the Republican wave that swelled the GOP ranks in the house by beating Democratic incumbent Matt Patrick, 54-46 percent; Vieira was unopposed in both 2012 and 2014. Patrick is trying to mount a comeback, and recapture his former seat this November.

1st Bristol District:

  • Fred "Jay" Barrows, Republican — Mansfield
  • Michael Toole, Democrat — Norton

Barrows is looking for his sixth term. He first won the open seat in 2006, narrowly defeating Democratic candidate Claire Naughton by 320 votes. Barrows easily beat back a Democratic challenge in 2008, and has run unopposed ever since.

3rd Bristol District:

  • Shaunna O'Connell, Republican — Taunton
  • Estele Borges, Democrat — Taunton

O’Connell is seeking her fourth term. She was also part of the 2010 Republican legislative wave. She beat Democratic incumbent James Fagan by only 31 votes. O’Connell cruised to re-election in 2012 beating a Democratic challenger 56-44 percent. She won by an even wider margin in 2014, 61-39 percent.

4th Bristol District:

  • Steven Howitt, Republican — Seekonk
  • Paul Jacques, Democrat — Rehoboth

Howitt is looking for his fourth term. After trying to gain the seat in 2004 and 2006, he finally got in as part of the 2010 Republican legislative wave, beating incumbent Democrat Steven D’Amico 54-46 percent. Howitt easily beat back a Democratic challenger in 2012, 61-39 percent and ran unopposed in 2014.

14th Bristol District:

  • Elizabeth Poirier, Republican — North Attleborough
  • Scott Dubuc, Democrat — North Attleborough

Poirier is seeking her 10th term. She was first was elected in June of 1999 when she won a special election to succeed her husband, Kevin Poirier, who resigned to take a job as an administrator at Sturdy Memorial Hospital. He had held the seat from 1977-1999. Elizabeth Poirier easily won re-election in 2000 against a Democratic challenger, 65-35 percent. She has only had one challenge since then, in 2004, where she beat the Democratic candidate by the same margin as she did four years before, 65-35 percent.

Dubuc owns a hair salon in Attleborough and describes himself as a conservative on fiscal issues and a liberal on social issues.

1st Essex District:

  • James Kelcourse, Republican — Amesbury
  • Brianna Sullivan, Democrat — Amesbury

Kelcourse is looking for his second term. The freshman representative was first elected to an open seat in 2014 in what was the tightest legislative race in the state. He beat Democrat Edward Cameron by a mere 10 votes. The 1st Essex District had been held by a Democrat since 2001.

9th Essex District:

  • Donald Wong, Republican — Saugus
  • Jennifer Migliore, Democrat — Saugus

Wong is seeking his fourth term. He was first elected as part of the 2010 Republican wave, beating Democratic incumbent Mark Falzone, who held the seat since 2001. Wong was unopposed in 2012, and easily beat back a Democratic challenge by Christopher Finn in 2014, 61-39 percent.

18th Essex District:

  • James Lyons, Jr., Republican — Andover
  • Oscar Camargo, Democrat — Andover

Lyons is seeking his fourth term. Lyons is another member who was part of the 2010 Republican wave. He ousted Democratic incumbent Barbara L’Italien (who has since been elected to the state Senate) 53-47 percent. Lyons and L’Italien squared off in a rematch two years later, and Lyons held on to the seat 51-49 percent. Lyons ran unopposed in 2014.

3rd Hampden District:

  • Nicholas Boldyga, Republican — Southwick
  • Rosemary Sandlin, Democrat — Agawam

Boldyga is looking to win his fourth term. He defeated two-term incumbent Democrat Rosemary Sandlin by only 98 votes in a tight three-way race as part of the Republican wave of 2010. Boldyga beat back Democratic challengers in both 2012 (61-39 percent) and again in 2014 (68-32 percent).

1st Middlesex District:

  • Sheila Harrington, Republican — Groton
  • Matthew Meneghini, Democrat -- Groton

Harrington is trying for her fourth term. While Harrington was part of the 2010 Republican wave, the 1st Middlesex has traditionally been a safe Republican district for 32 years. Harrington won the open seat in 2010, comfortably beating Democratic candidate Jesse Reich, 62-38 percent. She was unopposed in 2012, and again, soundly beat a Democratic challenger 64-36 percent in 2014.

21st Middlesex District:

  • Marc Lombardo, Republican — Billerica
  • George Simolaris, Democrat — Billerica

Lombardo is vying for his fourth term. He flipped the open seat during the Republican wave of 2010, coming out on top of a four-way general election with slightly more than 50 percent of the vote. He easily beat an unenrolled challenger in 2012, 61-39 percent, and a write-in candidate in 2014, 96-3 percent.

9th Norfolk District:

  • Shawn Dooley, Republican — Norfolk
  • Brian Hamlin, Democrat — Plainville

Dooley is looking for his second full term. He was first elected with 61 percent of the vote in a three-way special election in early 2014 to fill out the unexpired term of Dan Winslow. He was unopposed a few months later in the 2014 general election.

1st Plymouth District:

  • Mathew Muratore, Republican — Plymouth
  • John Mahoney, Jr., Democrat — Plymouth

Muratore is looking for his second term representing this traditionally Republican district. He easily won his first election in 2014 against Democrat Stephen Palmer, 60-40 percent.

2nd Plymouth District:

  • Susan Williams Gifford, Republican — Wareham
  • Sarah Hewins, Democrat — Carver

Williams Gifford is looking for her seventh term in office. She was first elected to the open seat in 2002 by emerging from a three-way primary to narrowly beat her Democratic opponent, 52-48 percent. She won a tight race for re-election in 2004, beating her Democratic challenger by the same 52-48 percent margin. She had challenges again in 2006, 57-43 percent, and again in 2010, 66-34 percent. She was unopposed in 2008, 2012 and 2014.

5th Plymouth District:

  • David DeCoste, Republican — Norwell
  • Kara Nyman, Democrat — Hanover

DeCoste is looking for his second term. He emerged from a tight Republican primary in 2014 and went on to defeat two-term Democratic incumbent, Rhonda Nyman by only 49 votes.

7th Worcester District:

  • Paul Frost, Republican — Auburn
  • Terry Burke Dotson, Democrat — Millbury

Muratore is looking for his second term representing this traditionally Republican district. He easily won his first election in 2014 against Democrat Stephen Palmer, 60-40 percent.

17th Worcester District:

  • Kate Campanale, Republican — Leicester
  • Moses Dixon, Democrat — Worcester

Campanale is looking for her second term. She came to the Legislature after winning an open seat in an extremely close race, beating Democrat Douglas Balanger by only 43 votes.


Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version misidentified where Matthew Meneghini is from. We regret the error. 

Steve Brown Twitter Senior Reporter/Anchor
Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's senior State House reporter.

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