Miranda wins the Democratic primary for the state Senate seat; newly drawn voting cards tested

Community Organizer Samantha Montaño won a Four-way Democratic primary race to take the seat in the House of Elugardo, and Christopher J. Worrell, who has held various positions in local government, prevailed in a three-way Democratic primary contest to succeed Miranda, according to the AP .

Only a small fraction of the state’s 200 legislative seats had competitive races Tuesday, a testament to the power of the presidency and the lopsided strength of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Only four contested elections have taken place for Republican candidates.

Statewide, the primary election was also an early test of newly redesigned voting maps that increased the number of majority-minority districts in the state Senate and House of Representatives — the changes put in place after the latest census showed that black, Hispanic, and Asian residents were driving the state’s population growth.

The number of majority minority senatorial constituencies was increased from three to around half a dozen, including a new constituency covering Lawrence and Methuen, as well as parts of Haverhill.

In Essex’s First Senate District, one of the House’s new majority-minority districts, early unofficial returns have put Lawrence Councilman Pavel Payano well ahead in a three-way Democratic primary race against Councilwoman municipal of Methuen Eunice Zeigler, followed by Doris Rodriguez.

Although Zeigler led early returns for much of the evening, the AP updated its vote total for the race shortly before 1 a.m. and reported that Payano held a substantial lead over its rivals.

Early feedback in another newly redrawn state Senate district that includes Brockton, Avon and parts of Randolph showed Sen. Michael Brady easily fending off a Democratic primary challenge from Katrina Huff-Larmond, a Randolph councilwoman. which was endorsed by U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressleyaccording to Politico.

Jonathan Cohn, policy director for Progressive Massachusetts, said redistricting won’t change the racial makeup of the majority-white Legislature in a single election cycle, but it could. have a beneficial impact on policy-making.

“To some extent it depends on who is elected; I think you’ll see better representation,” Cohn said.

The primary also tested the power of Attorney General Maura Healey, who secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination after running unopposed.

Healey endorsed a dozen legislative candidates — including Payano, Tommy Vitolo of Brookline and state Rep. William M. Straus of Mattapoisett — many of whom won or were leading their races early Wednesday morning, according to initial feedback.

Vitolo postponed a challenge by former Select Board member Raul Fernandez; according to unofficial results released by Brookline’s clerk on Tuesday night, Vitolo got 4,748 votes, against Fernandez’s 2,819 votes.

“Thanks to @raulspeaks for having a good race. It brought to light many important issues in Brookline and in Massachusetts. I hope to join with him and the rest of Brookline in moving these issues forward,” Vitolo wrote on Twitter.

Straus, who helps lead the Legislative Assembly’s transport committee, withstood a lead challenge from Fairhaven’s Richard Trapilo for Bristol’s 10th ward. Straus won with 3,677 votes, while Trapilo had 1,111, the AP reported.

In Boston, Miranda was one of five black Democrats vying for the second seat in the Suffolk State Senate, representing parts of Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan and Roxbury. Currently, the state Senate has only one black member — Lydia Edwards, a former Boston city councilwoman.

Miranda, born in Roxbury, is the daughter of Cape Verdean immigrants. She attended Boston Public Schools and Wellesley College. She said she was pressured into running for office after her brother Michael was killed by gun violence.

In a statement released early Wednesday morning, Miranda said she dedicated her victory to her late father, Alberto Pires, whom she described as her “strength throughout this campaign.

“And [to] my people of 2nd Suffolk, we have dreamed together and we will continue to dream and invest our time, talent and treasure in the change we want to see in our community,” Miranda said.

No Republicans are running in this Senate race, so Miranda will almost certainly take the seat in November.

In the state House of Representatives, the number of majority-minority districts grew from 20 to more than 30 during the redistricting process, including a new district representing parts of Lawrence and Methuen. The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune reported that in that district’s Democratic primary, Lawrence Councilwoman Estela Reyes defeated former Mayor and Lawrence Representative William Lantigua and Methuen Councilman James McCarty.

In the 11th Suffolk House District race, which includes Chelsea and part of Everett, Chelsea Councilman Judith Garcia was in first place in a three-way Democratic primary race early Wednesday, the AP reported.

On Tuesday, Republican candidates were not on primary ballots for 21 state Senate seats and 105 House seats.

But there were a few competitive GOP contests. In Bristol’s Tenth House District, currently occupied by Straus, Jeffrey Gerald Swift of Mattapoisett led Robert S. McConnell of Fairhaven by about 105 Republican votes, with more than 90% of districts saying.

Middlesex District’s first GOP primary election had Townsend’s Andrew James Shepherd ahead of Pepperell’s Lynne E. Archambault, the AP reported.

And in Cape Town, Christopher Robert Lauzon was leading Daralyn Andrea Heywood for the GOP Senate nomination, according to early feedback. Both are from Barnstable.

Political watchers were also watching a Republican house race that could gauge support for the far right. In the North Shore House neighborhood vacated by Republican Rep. James Kelcourse, a right-wing agitator who helped organize buses to Washington, D.C., for the protest that culminated in the Jan. 6 insurrection, is organizing a written campaign .

Kelcourse, who left for a position on the parole board in June, was the only Republican whose name remained on the primary election ballot on Tuesday.

Samson Racioppi, a leader of the right-wing group Super Happy Fun America, and who led the 2019 “Straight Pride Parade” in Boston, is mounting a print campaign, as is a more moderate candidate, CJ Fitzwater.

On Tuesday, Jim Lyons, the chairman of the Republican Party in the state, suggested to WGBH News that the winner of the write-in race would be nominated as the party’s candidateand the executive committee would vote on the matter.

Erin O’Brien, a political science professor at UMass Boston, expressed concern that such a candidate is trying to mount a print campaign.

“If a party is infiltrated by candidates who do not respect the rule of law, it is not an outrageous statement to say that it is a big problem. The under-reaction is the problem,” O’Brien said.

Dan Adams, Samantha Gross, Emma Platoff and Matt Stout of Globe staff contributed to this report.


John Hilliard can be contacted at [email protected]

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