On September 4, an unusually high number of Massachusetts voters took to the polls to vote in the state’s primary elections. One reason for such a strong turnout? There were several high-profile elections on the ballot that had the ability to shake up the current state of Massachusetts politics.
Here are a few we were watching, what happened and what that means for the future of Massachusetts politics:
This campaign made national news as City Councilor Ayanna Pressley sought – and succeeded – to unseat 10-term Representative Michael Capuano. Pressley, who became the first African American woman elected to the Boston City Council in 2009, will now also be the first African American woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress. Since there are no Republicans running for the seat in November, Pressley has solidified her path to Washington, D.C. and we’re positive she will take the progressive values of her district and state with her.
In the 15th Suffolk District, which includes parts of Brookline and Boston, political newcomer Nika Elugardo received 52 percent of the vote, inching her way to victory over incumbent Representative Jeffrey Sanchez. Voters were said to side with Elugardo because of her “super left” platform and strong stance on immigration policy. This quickly became a key issue in the campaign and Elugardo criticized Sanchez for not including critical provisions in the House budget, one which he helped draft and finalize as the Chairman of House Ways and Means. This seat will remain vacant until Speaker Robert DeLeo appoints a new chair, leaving the House leader of next year’s budget process up in the air.
Underdog Rachael Rollins won 40 percent of the vote in the four-way race for Suffolk County District Attorney, where she will serve as the top law enforcement official in the county and chief prosecutor, determining which criminal cases will be pursued and how. Come November, Rollins will face Mike Maloney, an independent and Brockton defense attorney. If she wins, she will be the first African American female candidate to claim the DA seat in Suffolk County.
It’s no surprise that the future of Massachusetts politics is changing, and this year’s primaries solidified that. With political newcomers and underdogs unseating incumbents, we’re interested to see what this means in Massachusetts and across the country come November.