Episode 147: Incumbent Upon Us

41 minutes

9/3/20-- Tuesday was primary election day in Massachusetts, and history was made as more than 1.5 million ballots were cast, making this the busiest state primary election in 30 years, in terms of raw votes.
The U.S. Senate race was itself historic, in that challenger Joe Kennedy III was defeated by incumbent Sen. Ed Markey, making JKIII the first Kennedy in the political dynasty to lose an election in Massachusetts.
The outcome of the race aligned well with what recent polling suggested. Markey performed well in areas populated by white, affluent voters with high levels of education. Kennedy scored big in areas of low-income and minority voters. In fact, Jennifer Smith took a look at the results within majority Black communities in Boston, and found Markey “got pretty overwhelmed.”
“On cursory examination, I couldn’t find a precinct of mostly Black residents that Markey actually won in Boston,” Jenn said.
Steve, Jenn, and Stephanie run through the remaining Congressional District races. MA01 elected another incumbent, Rep. Richard Neal, who bested challenger Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse by 18 percentage points. In MA02, Rep. Jim McGovern (special guest on today’s episode) remained unchallenged by a fellow Democrat. In the third Congressional District, Rep. Lori Trahan also went unopposed, quite differently from MA04, where a crowded field of candidates narrowed down to two front-runners—Jesse Mermell and Jake Auchincloss—but the race is still too close to call. Rep. Katherine Clark ran unopposed in the Massachusetts 5th, and In MA06, incumbent Rep. Seth Moulton claimed victory over challengers Jamie Zahlaway Belsito and Angus McQuilken. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Bill Keating both ran unopposed in the 7th and 9th districts respectively, and challenger Robbie Goldstein was defeated by incumbent Rep. Stephen Lynch in the Massachusetts 8th.
U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern stopped by The Horse Race to discuss his reactions to the primary results. His initial thoughts on the U.S. Senate race was that it was “fascinating,” and that Markey and Kennedy were “two really quality candidates.”
McGovern said that primary challenges “are not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of us were uncomfortable with the Markey/Kennedy race because we liked them both, but Joe Kennedy felt he had a case to make.”
Though Massachusetts did not share the bleak fate of New York in suffering weekslong delays in determining primary results, McGovern urges voters to have a plan for voting in the general election to limit mishaps as the USPS is sure to receive unprecedented numbers of mail-in ballots.
“I never thought that was going to be a concern until Donald trump and his Postmaster General Mr. [Louis] DeJoy decided to screw around with the postal service.”
As news of foreign interference in the 2020 election comes to the forefront, McGovern is unsurprised, calling Trump “corrupt” and emulating authoritarian leaders. The congressman would like to see more oversight on the executive branch, and while he said there are measures Congress can put in place to enforce oversight, voters can make a difference too. “There’s no substitute for electing people who have a spine.”

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