SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election

September 7, 2012

Primaries set stage for fall races in Mass.

BOSTON — The stage was set for the fall campaign in November after primary elections in redrawn congressional districts that saw victories for several Democratic incumbents, as well as a member of the Kennedy family making his first bid for public office.

Thursday's primaries were the first under a new Massachusetts political map which reflects the loss of one of the state's 10 seats in the U.S. House due to population shifts.

Turnout was mostly light, in part due the absence of any contested statewide primaries. The state's marquee race in November pits Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown against Democrat Elizabeth Warren, but neither faced opponents in their respective primaries.

Joseph Kennedy III, the 31-year-old son of former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy, overwhelmed two other Democrats to win the Democratic nomination in the 4th District, where longtime incumbent Rep. Barney Frank is retiring.

Unofficial returns gave Kennedy more than 90 percent of the vote.

"I promise that no one will work harder than our campaign to earn every vote," Kennedy said in a statement Thursday night. "I look forward to having a real conversation over the next two months about the issues that matter to the people of the 4th."

Kennedy in November will face Sean Bielat, who won a three-way Republican primary in the district that stretches from the Boston suburbs of Newton and Brookline to the southeastern Massachusetts cities of Taunton, Attleboro and Fall River.

"For us, this is going to be very much an outreach campaign, knocking on doors," said Bielat, who ran unsuccessfully against Frank two years ago.

Freshman U.S. Rep. William Keating turned back a challenge from Bristol District Attorney Sam Sutter in the Democratic primary in the reconfigured 9th District.

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