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MASSACHUSETTS

2018 General Election     2018 Primary Results     2018 Candidates

At Maria's List, we elevate progressive candidates, especially women and people of color, who promote equity, who close opportunity gaps in education and wealth creation, who promote accountability and a robust democracy.


MASSACHUSETTS 2018 ELECTION RESULTS & INVESTMENTS


Here in Massachusetts, our progressive Blue Wave was led by trailblazing Maria’s List-endorsed women of color like Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Rachael Rollins (Suffolk County District Attorney), Nika Elugardo (State Representative - 15th Suffolk), Tram Nguyen (State Representative – 18th Essex), Maria Robinson (State Representative – 6th Middlesex), and Liz Miranda (State Representative – 5th Suffolk).

 

As we celebrate our victories, we also know that there is still work needed and victories to protect. While an all-time high of 28.5% of Massachusetts State House seats will now be held by women (up from 26% in 2017), women of color will only hold 2.5% of legislative seats, no change from 2017. We won the Yes on 2 (Money Out of Politics) and Yes on 3 (Defend Transgender Rights) ballot fights but lost Yes on 1 (Safe Patient Limits). And, we helped legal aid attorney Tram Nguyen defeat incumbent Republican State Rep. Jim Lyons – Massachusetts’ own version of smaller Donald Trump – in a resounding victory, flipping a tough district from red to progressive blue. Undoubtedly though, she will have a tough re-election battle in a 2020 presidential year when turnout is high in both parties.

 

Led by our Deep Democracy giving framework, we at Maria’s List will continue to invest – with early money – in the synergies: in bold, progressive women of color candidates, in the grassroots organizations lifting up these candidates and in progressive ballot initiative work.

 

2018 GENERAL ELECTION


 

Natalie Higgins, State Representative, 4th Worcester
Tram Nguyen, State Representative, 18th Essex
Tanya Neslusan, State Representative, 1st Hampden
Jay Gonzalez, Governor
Ayanna Pressley, MA-07

Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County District Attorney
Andrea Harrington, Berksire County District Attorney
Nika Elugardo, State Representative 15th Suffolk
Liz Miranda, State Representative, 5th Suffolk
Maria Robinson, State Representative 6th Middlesex

 

 

website: Natalie Higgins

Natalie Higgin's photo

Natalie Higgins
Re-election State Representative, 4th Worcester

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th

 

A 2016 Maria’s List endorsee in her first run, Natalie is running for her second term as Leominster’s state representative. Her dad has a 9th grade education and worked his way up from mechanic to owner of the family auto-part store. Her mom worked various jobs, including as a school lunch lady and at the local plastic factory, before she had to leave to take care of Natalie's grandparents, who both died of cancer.  Fighting for paid family leave was one of the reasons she ran for this seat. "For my family, our experience was that government is not where you go for help, it's where they close the door."

 

Starting in college, Natalie became a dogged advocate for victims of sexual and domestic violence, from serving as a teen counselor at a rape crisis center to Legal Fellow with the Governor's Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence. In her first term as State Representative for Leominster, she has brought that same strong commitment to women's rights to her legislative work, from championing comprehensive healthcare to the elimination of all forms of gender discrimination and violence.

 

A graduate of UMass Amherst and Northeastern Law School, Natalie is the first in her family to graduate college and law school. Before she was elected, Natalie was the founding Executive Director of PHENOM (Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts), where she worked to fight the privatization of public higher education.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Incumbent being challenged by Trump Republican Rich Palmieri.

 

Dynamics of Race: Natalie is facing Republican Rich Palmieri who is running the Trump playbook. He is attacking her on her vote for legislative pay raises and her support of the Safe Communities Act.  Republicans are more organized than Democrats in her district. Mass Fiscal Alliance has spent over $60k sending five attack mailers against her over the course of the last year. Elizabeth Warren lost badly to Scott Brown there though Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump.  Demographics are shifting in Leominster.

 

Analysis of Race: Natalie won her race in 2016 as a rare, first-time candidate because of her superior grassroots operation.  This year is no different.  Additionally, our candidate giving framework prioritizes candidates active in practicing deep democracy, and Natalie's natural inclination is towards Deep DemocracyNatalie is coordinating canvasses with all three progressive ballot initiatives (Yes on 1, 2 and 3), promoting them and handing out their literature when her team is door knocking. On her local Leominster TV show, Natalie has also brought representatives from Yes on 1, 2 and 3 on to educate voters. Investment in her campaign will help her get out three mailings needed to combat outside mailings from Mass Fiscal Alliance and support her GOTV efforts.

Candidate List

website: Tram Nguyen

Tram Nguyen's photo

Tram Nguyen
State Representative, 18th Essex

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th

 

When she was five years old, Tram came to the United States with her family as political refugees escaping the Vietnamese communist regime. In Vietnam, her father served in the South Vietnamese military alongside American soldiers.  After the war, her father was forced into re-education camps for over eight years.

 

Tram’s family came to the US with $100 to their name.  They lived in Section 8 housing and were on food stamps.  Throughout her childhood, her parents took English classes while working two to three odd jobs with little job security and job protection.  "I understand the struggles of working families because I’ve seen firsthand what it took for my parents to provide for us.”

 

Tram is the first in her family to attend college and then law school.  She is now a legal aid attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, where she works primarily with survivors of domestic violence in immigration and family law and with workers to ensure they are fairly compensated.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Challenging incumbent Republican State Rep. Jim Lyons.

 

Dynamics of Race: Tram is challenging incumbent Tea Party Republican Jim Lyons.  They couldn’t be more different.  He is anti-choice, a charter proponent, and has a 93% rating with the NRA (and a 100% rating with Gun Owners of Massachusetts).  Rep. Lyons is one of the co-sponsors of legislation to repeal the trans public accommodations law and was one of only 5 votes against the recent criminal justice reform bill signed into law. Meanwhile, Tram has earned the endorsement of organizations championing labor (Mass AFL-CIO), women’s reproductive rights (Planned Parenthood and NARAL), LGBTQ+ rights (MassEquality) and the environment (Sierra Club).  She’s also garnered support from progressive stalwarts like MassAlliance, the Working Families Party, and most recently President Barack Obama.

 

Turnout and field will be key. In 2010, State Senator Barbara L'Italien held and lost this seat to Jim Lyons in a year when Tea Party Republicans had momentum nationally. This year, Tram stands to be part of a national electoral blue wave that is also being deemed “the year of the woman.” With a strong grassroots team and strong campaign that has blown past its fundraising goals, Tram is running the kind of campaign that could take out this four-term Republican incumbent.

Candidate List

 

Tanya Neslusan's photo

Tanya Neslusan
State Representative, 1st Hampden

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th

 

Tanya comes from a family of immigrants and veterans. On her mother's side, her grandfather is from India and her grandmother was a Mayflower descendant. On her father's side, her grandfather, her father, her brother and her wife are all veterans. She grew up believing in the US and in serving your country.

 

She graduated from college in 1996 when there weren't women in office let alone WOC or queer WOC. She went into health IT to make a difference, believing that if she did her job properly, she could make sure health insurance claims were paid.

 

Becoming a single mother during her 20's made her evaluate her life and look at the kind of world she wanted to leave her son. In 2016, her state representative was on the ballot uncontested. Again.  He voted against trans protections and against maintaining birth control under the state version of the ACA. He voted for the constitutional amendment banning equal marriage. As a soccer coach, Tanya often tells her players: “Don't come complaining if you don't have a suggestion.” She decided to take her own advice.

 

Rep. Smola is one of the legislators who voted against the public accommodations law. It's one of the reasons she's running. It's not just about bathrooms, as opponents like to say. It's also about things like medical care.

 

Tanya has a long history of social justice activism in her community. She has co-produced The Vagina Monologues in Worcester for several years. She's on the leadership team for Showing up for Racial Justice in Worcester where they do stand-outs for the Muslim community, racial justice rallies, and also work with mayor's office and city council in Worcester to develop better policy.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Challenging sitting Republican State Rep. Todd Smola

 

Analysis of Race: Tanya has a tough race ahead of her but this is the year for Democrats to be taking on Republicans. The district voted for Trump, but, reflecting the national trend, Democrats in the area are energized in this post-Trump era. She is working hard and focused on running a grassroots campaign. The district is spread out among seven towns, making fundraising and infrastructure more important than in other state representative races.  Investing in her campaign financially will make a big difference.

Candidate List

website: Jay Gonzalez

Jay Gonzalez's photo

Jay Gonzalez
Governor

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th

 

Jay Gonzalez was the former Secretary of Administration and Finance under Governor Deval Patrick during the Great Recession. While in the Administration, he also served as Chairman of the Board of the Massachusetts Health Connector, where he oversaw implementation of Massachusetts' health care reform, and he co-chaired the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. Afterwards, Gonzalez was chair of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care and, most recently, was President and CEO of CeltiCare Health and New Hampshire Healthy Families, leading the turn-around of an ailing health insurance provider that serves low-income people in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Challenging incumbent Governor Charlie Baker.

 

Analysis of Race/Campaign: Undoubtedly, Jay faces an uphill battle. Incumbent Republican Charlie Baker remains the most popular governor in the country; according to a July 2018 Morning Consult poll, Governor Baker has a 69% approval rating. A separate June 2018 WBUR poll found that Governor Baker is more popular among Democrats (65%) and Independents (69%) than even Republicans (64%). Jay also struggles to contend with Governor Baker's $4.5 million war chest. Jay has less than $700k on hand in a race where money matters to get your message across the state.

 

Nonetheless, as progressive State Senator Pat Jehlen lays out in her most recent newsletter, defeating Governor Baker is crucial. [T]he Supreme Judicial Court voted 5-2 in June to keep [the Fair Share constitutional amendment] off the ballot. Four of the five justices who voted against the amendment were appointed by Gov. Baker. In the next two years, another justice will have to retire (mandatory retirement for Mass. judges is 70). If Gov. Baker is re-elected, he will be able to appoint 6 out of 7 justices. The first Republican appointee to retire will be in 2029, so there'll be a solid Baker super-majority for at least a decade. With potential lawsuits heading to the SJC like the fair school funding suit Brockton and Worcester are exploring, the make-up of the SJC couldn't be more important.

 

What makes Jay a strong candidate is his extensive experience in government, healthcare and education, his bold proposals like the endowment tax and his level of detail when talking about policy. His resume actually resembles Charlie Baker's; both were budget chiefs and led health insurers, which has allowed Jay to go head-to-head with Governor Baker without Baker being able to cite experience and know-how as differentiators. Though defeating Baker seems challenging, if we can turn out our voters – non-traditional, community of color voters - across the state in this untraditional year, we can make great progressive gains with another progressive Governor leading our state.

Candidate List

Ayanna Pressley website

Ayanna Pressley photo Ayanna's Video Bio

Ayanna Pressley
MA-07

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th

 

Ayanna Pressley is an advocate, a policy-maker, an activist, and survivor. Raised in Chicago, as the only child of an activist mother who instilled the value of civic participation, Ayanna understands the role that government should play in helping to lift up communities that are in need of the most help. Her focus as a City Councilor - stabilizing families and communities, reducing and preventing violence and trauma, combating poverty, and addressing issues that disproportionately impact women and girls - is a reflection of her 25 years in public service.

 

 

On the Issues

  1. Economic Growth and Opportunity for All — despite a growing economy across the region, income inequality is a persistent problem that is pushing out longtime residents. Councilor Pressley wants to focus on creating fair economic policies that give tax relief to lower and middle-income workers, not the wealthy and big corporations. She supports expanding the earned income tax credit, social security, improving infrastructure, reforming Wall Street, supporting small business and aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering women to succeed, seeking fair and comprehensive immigration policies or fighting for family paid leave and LGBTQ right. She also wants to create good-paying jobs, that’s why she supports increasing the minimum wage to $15, major investments in workforce training, including apprenticeships and vocational education in advanced manufacturing and technology to help young people find careers.

  2. Education — to build a more inclusive and sustainable 21st century economy, Councilor Pressley will prioritize improving public schools by guaranteeing universal pre-kindergarten, debt free college, investing in school buildings, school food programs and in life-oriented education program. She believes that if we’re going to arm our teachers it’s with well-rounded support staff, students who are ready to learn, an environment that enables focus, the tools to teach and the salary that honors their craft

  3. Health Care and Public Safety — protecting the Affordable Care Act and push further by-passing Medicare for all. Councilor Pressley will continue her fight for women’s reproductive justice health, lead on ending the addiction crisis, and enabling health systems to succeed whether it addressing the mental health component of gun violence or streamlining patient data for better treatment. Unlike her opponent, she will go further on public safety by demanding gun control, improving local law enforcement, and eliminating human trafficking.

     

Status of Race: District is located in Greater Boston and includes two-thirds of the City of Boston, all of Everett, Chelsea, Randolph, and Somerville, as well as half of Cambridge and a few precincts in Milton. This is a safely held Democratic seat and the primary will determine winner.

 

Dynamics of Race: Head to head Democratic Primary against 18-year incumbent, Michael Capuano, who is generally well-like by the establishment. Recent polls show a competitive race between Ayanna Pressley and Mike Capuano even though a large swath of voters have not yet heard of Ayanna. She already leads Capuano among those who know her, and we can expect her support to continue to expand as more voters become familiar with her and her story. The current political environment will also boost Ayanna, as Democrats are fed up with Congress and hungry for change. This sentiment is especially strong among women, younger voters and voters of color, all core constituencies for Ayanna. Capuano’s support is below 50%, a concerning sign for any incumbent, especially in a change environment like this one. His only real election was in 1998, in a crowded field, where he earned only 23% of the vote. Her legislative achievements resulted in her being the top vote getter in three consecutive elections, making her the first woman in 30 years to achieve this distinction and the first person of color to top the ticket.

 

Pressley's Campaign: Pressley has launched a bold and aggressive multi-ethnic communications, grassroots, and fundraising program led by leading local and DC strategists, who raised $100,000 one week after the campaign’s launch and a total of $364,000 by the end of first quarter. With a tough primary ahead, Councilor Pressley faces an incumbent, who closed out 2017 with $700,000, therefore fundraising is the biggest challenge she faces. Her second challenge is that as a well-liked former mayor and Congressman, Capuano retains a solid reservoir of goodwill and institutional support. Explaining how AP’s vision for the office—and what role a Congresswoman can and should play in today’s politics—will be vital to winning this primary.

Candidate List

website: Rachael Rollins

Rachael Rollins' photo

Rachael Rollins
Suffolk County District Attorney

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th

 

Rachael is the oldest of five children in a working-class, multi-cultural family. She attended Buckingham Browne and Nichols on a full scholarship and received a Division I scholarship to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has a law degree from Northeastern, and a Master of Laws from Georgetown University.

 

Rachael’s brother is currently in jail. She is also a foster mother to two of her young nieces (ages 5 and 9) whose parents are incarcerated due to mental health and addiction issues. If Rachael had not taken custody of her nieces, they would have gone into the DCF system.

 

Rachael served as a state Assistant District Attorney and a federal Assistant U.S. Attorney, prosecuting cases involving civil rights violations, fraud, sexual predators, narcotics, violence and weapons. She was also the first woman general counsel for the MBTA and the first person of color to be general counsel for MassDOT. In those roles, she managed over 150 employees. She later served as chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority.

 

Rachael was appointed by Attorney General Maura Healey to serve on her Advisory Council on Racial Justice and Equity. Additionally, she was a former Governor Deval Patrick appointee to the Commonwealth’s Judicial Nominating Commission, was former President of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, and was elected by her peers to serve on the Boston Bar Association Council.

 

On the Issues

Candidate List

website: Andrea Harrington

Andrea Harrington's photo

Andrea Harrington
Berkshire County District Attorney

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th

 

Growing up the daughter of a carpenter and housekeeper in Western Massachusetts, Andrea remembers, in the third grade, cleaning houses with her teen mom because they couldn't afford childcare. She was the first in her family to go to college, and the first to go to law school. She spent her years right after law school fighting death penalty convictions in Florida and came back to Western Massachusetts to start a family and worked to defend poor defendants in the criminal justice system.

 

Andrea is running because Berkshire County is stuck in the past. The DA’s office is stuck on the 1980’s war on drugs. Meanwhile, there’s been a sharp increase in opioid deaths in the last seven months. They have high crime rates; North Adams has the highest crime rate per capita and higher rates of domestic violence than anywhere else in the state. From her experiences in the courtroom and representing people on death row, she knows the criminal justice system fails people of color and poor people. This DA’s office only has a myopic view of criminal justice and operates with a law enforcement mentality.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Challenging incumbent DA Paul Caccaviello, who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker in March 2018 after long-time DA David Capeless retired.

 

Dynamics of Race: DA Caccaviello was former DA David Capeless’ 1st Deputy DA, who stepped down halfway through his final year in office and asked Gov. Baker to appoint Caccaviello to the seat. Caccaviello was a registered independent and switched his party registration to Democrat in February before he was appointed. A Supreme Judicial Court ruling found that Caccaviello violated a defendant’s civil rights by removing the one POC from the jury because of race. Perennial candidate Judy Knight is also running against Caccaviello in the primary.

 

Maria’s List endorsed Andrea’s first run for State Senate two years ago. As with the other DA races, Andrea’s endorsement by the Justice for Mass coalition was a big boon that continues her momentum. She has a great shot to win.

Candidate List

website: Nika Elugardo

Nika Elugardo's' photo

Nika Elugardo
State Representative, 15th Suffolk

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th

 

The oldest of seven kids, Nika grew up in Columbus, Ohio in poverty. Her father was a construction worker who dealt drugs when he couldn’t find construction work, bringing Nika with him from Columbus to Miami on drug deals when she was a child. Growing up, her family was oftentimes evicted from their home or had to move because of her dad’s dangerous lifestyle.

 

Nika changed schools nine times until she got a scholarship to attend the Columbus School for Girls. It changed the trajectory of her life. She went to MIT for college, got a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School and graduated from BU Law School. Along the way, she trained leaders across the country to fight foreclosures at the National Consumer Law Center’s Foreclosure Prevention Project and worked on gender justice, community health and youth development at the Emmanuel Gospel Center. After law school, she served as a Senior Advisor for Policy and Planning for State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, was the founding director of MassSaves.org where she worked to promote asset development and economic justice in low-income communities, and then returned to work at Emmanuel Gospel.

 

On the Issues

Status of Seat: Challenging incumbent State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez.

 

Dynamics of Race: Nika is challenging incumbent State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, who as House Ways and Means Chair is the highest ranking Latinx in the state. Asked often why she’s running against him, Nika says she took a look at his record. Last session, he had a B- rating on the Progressive Mass Scorecard. Since becoming House Ways and Means Chair, his rating has fallen to a C+. “We need progressive champions in the House,” Nika says on the trail. “I’m challenging this incumbent because I believe the ‘leadership team’ he belongs to – that of House Speaker Bob DeLeo – is the greatest obstacle to bold progressive change in Massachusetts.”

 

In a three-minute clip of a July 2018 debate circulating on social media, Nika and Rep. Sanchez are shown disagreeing on a number of key progressive issues. Nika supports independent review boards for police shootings, eliminating all mandatory minimums and raising the juvenile age beyond 18. Rep. Sanchez does not. Nika supports single payer healthcare. Rep. Sanchez does not. Nika supports same-day voter registration. Rep. Sanchez does not. Additionally, as House Ways and Means Chair, Rep. Sanchez was sharply criticized for passing a final budget this year that dropped the Senate-backed Safe Communities Act provision. “We just did not find consensus on those provisions,” he told reporters. “There are some issues where consensus should not be your measure of success,” Nika responded, arguing that we should never be “using our tax dollars to aid the terrorizing of our residents.”

 

Rep. Sanchez hasn’t had a primary since 2010.

 

Elugardo Campaign: Of the two campaigns, Nika has the momentum. Challenging a powerful, well-resourced incumbent is never easy, but Nika has been running an energizing, grassroots campaign on a bold, progressive platform that has effectively distinguished her as the progressive choice in the race.

Candidate List

website: Liz Miranda

Liz Miranda's photo

Liz Miranda
State Representative, 5th Suffolk

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th

 

Liz grew up in the Dudley Triangle neighborhood of Boston, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Boston and a neighborhood that knows a lot about tragedy and transformation. Liz's mom was a teen mom; she was a junior at Madison Park High School and a new immigrant from Cape Verde when she gave birth to LizLiz's mom dropped out of high school to raise her and has worked as a cook at the Sheraton for over 30 years. Liz running for office has inspired her mom to become an activist; she recently picketed with other Marriott hotel workers to demand better pay and better working conditions.

 

Liz is one of 11 kids. She is the first in her family to graduate from high school and college. She credits early involvement in community organizations like Teen Empowerment and the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), where she became one of their youngest board members at 13 years old, and early mentors for getting her to where she is now.  Her mentors pushed her to apply to top tier schools like Wellesley, where she ultimately attended.

 

When she started at Wellesley, all the men in her family -- her birth father, her stepfather, and her two oldest brothers --- were incarcerated at the same time.  She talks about that disconnect and the pain she felt throughout college. She worked two to three jobs to put herself through school and what got her through was that she felt she was making something happen not just for herself but for her family and community as well. When she graduated, she worked at the Boston Foundation, ran youth networks but ultimately her heart was in working in youth development and out of school time, because she believes that's what saved her. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Hawthorne Youth and Community Center (HYCC), a Roxbury nonprofit organization that provides quality affordable programming for low and moderate-income youth and families.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Democratic nominee for open seat facing soon-to-be Boston City Councillor Althea Garrison.

 

Analysis of Race: Liz open September primary by ignoring traditional wisdom to only focus on supervoters. She also knew that she wasn't going to get people to vote by telling them to vote but rather by allowing them to see themselves as powerful in their own democracy. She was one of four black women, dubbed the Fantastic Four, elected on September 4th, including other Maria's List-endorsed candidates Congresswoman-Elect Ayanna Pressley, Suffolk County District Attorney-Elect Rachael Rollins and State Representative-Elect Nika Elugardo.

 

Liz faces perennial candidate Althea Garrison in the general election who is running as an independent progressive and who becomes Boston City Councillor At-Large when Ayanna Pressley steps down to join Congress. Liz is not taking the race for granted and has an aggressive door knocking, texting, robocall and mail plan. For the primary, through this same strategy, she touched the voters in her targeted universe seven to ten times, which included nontraditional voters.  Most of her team are people of color. Active in Deep Democracy, Liz is helping Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jay Gonzalez and Rachael Rollins reach Cape Verdean voters through nontraditional outreach based on her deep knowledge of this immigrant community.

Candidate List

website: Maria Robinson

Maria Robinson's photo

Maria Robinson
State Representative, 6th Middlesex

General Election — Tuesday, November 6th

 

Maria is an Asian-American adoptee and is in the process of adopting her two foster children. She attended MIT where she met her husband. When they were deciding where to settle down with their family, they made spreadsheets (because they’re engineers) and Framingham came out on top. It had everything they wanted: it was diverse, affordable, they could have a backyard. Last year, her parents moved from Philadelphia and moved in with them, in part because they couldn’t find a place in Massachusetts to live that was affordable. It’s clear to her that we’re pricing seniors out of our state.

 

Maria has spent the last decade working in nonprofits focused on clean energy. She’s worked on renewable energy and energy efficiency policy at the federal level and in 25 states.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Open seat following late Rep. Chris Walsh’s passing; will be a write-in primary election

 

Dynamics of Race: Following the late Representative Chris Walsh’s passing in mid-May, a write-in September 4th primary election is being held to determine which Democrat will appear on the November ballot as the party’s nominee. Including Maria, four people are running.

 

Robinson's Campaign: Maria has emerged as the progressive in the race and as the candidate running the strongest campaign. Progressive organizations (MassAlliance, Progressive Mass), LGBTQ+ rights organizations (MassEquality), women’s reproductive rights organizations (NARAL and Planned Parenthood), labor (SEIU 1199, 509 and 32BJ), and teachers (MTA) have all endorsed her. She’s raised the resources and is running the strong field program needed to win.

Candidate List

 

2018 PRIMARY RESULTS AND INVESTMENTS

Justice for Mass Coalition Right to the City Alliance Chinese Progressive Political Action Mass Alliance Progressive MA Funder Collaborative

2018 CANDIDATES
September


 

Gerly Adrien, State Representative 28th Middlesex
Francia Wisnewski, State Representative 1st Franklin
Nika Elugardo, State Representative 15th Suffolk
Maria Robinson, State Representative 6th Middlesex
Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County District Attorney
Donna Patalano, Middlesex County District Attorney

Andrea Harrington, Berksire County District Attorney
Jay Gonzalez, Governor
Josh Zakim, Secretary of State
Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, MA-01
Barbara L'Italien, MA-03
Ayanna Pressley, MA-07

 

 

website: Gerly Adrien

Gerly Adrien's photo

Gerly Adrien
State Representative, 28th Middlesex

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost challenge to incumbent Rep. Joe McGonagle with 39%

 

Gerly grew up in Everett, and always wanted to be mayor. She’s the daughter of immigrant parents from Haiti who never felt like they actually belonged. In high school, she was a youth organizer for Teen Empowerment and interned with Somerville Community Corporation where she learned about affordable housing. She went to Bentley for college and studied business, and then worked on Wall Street at JP Morgan. She moved to Philadelphia, bought a house and managed a city council race for a young, black man in his early 30’s because she had rarely seen black men/women in leadership positions doing community work. After that race, she moved back home to Everett to run. She worked as the finance director at United South End Settlements and now works in finance in the cancer department at Boston Medical Center.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Challenging incumbent Rep. Joe McGonagle in her second run for the seat.

 

Dynamics of Race: In her second run for this seat, Gerly is a stronger candidate who is applying lessons learned from her 600-vote loss for this same seat in 2016. Strategically, Gerly is doing two main things differently. She is targeting both Democrats and unenrolled voters, who voted in greater numbers than Democrats in her last election. She is also making an effort to differentiate herself from Rep. McGonagle, highlighting his anti-immigrant stances and lack of transparency. This time, it’s a three-person field. She is challenging the sitting state rep, Joe McGonagle. Stephen Stat Smith who formerly held this seat – but was forced to resign for voter fraud - is also running. Unlike her head-to-head race before, a three-person primary stands to benefit Gerly.

 

Gerly is running a strong, grassroots campaign and will herself have knocked every voter’s door from 2016 multiple times by September 4th. Instead of a traditional strategy of only talking to traditional “supervoters,” Gerly is engaging disenfranchised, immigrant and COC voters and has LGBTQ+, Latinx and Haitian community liaisons who meet weekly. She is in a strong position to win.

Candidate List

website: Francia Wisnewski

Francia Wisnewski's' photo

Francia Wisnewski
State Representative, 1st Franklin

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Came in 2nd in an 8-person field with 16% of vote

 

Francia grew up in Colombia and came to the US in her early 20’s to get her master’s degree in education at UMass Amherst. Her and her husband, a small business owner, first lived in Greenfield and now live in Montague and are raising two boys.

 

Francia was a biology and chemistry teacher. She went on to serve two terms on the Greenfield School Committee, including two terms as Vice-Chair. She is currently a Town Meeting member in Montague. She is also Chair of the Hampshire/Franklin Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

 

She works in non-profit support services and education. For 10 years, she worked at the Community Action Pioneer Valley, working in the food pantry and then creating programs for family centers. She is currently Senior Program Manager at Raising a Reader Massachusetts for the Pioneer Valley which focuses on literacy in Gateway cities. She was one of its first staff members and helped build the organization from the ground up, opening up branches in Springfield and Holyoke.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Open seat.

 

Dynamics of Race: With 19 towns in the district, this state rep district is one of the biggest and most spread out. Eight candidates are running for this open seat and four are women. Her opponents come from each of the five biggest towns in the district. Francia is the only POC and the first Latina to run for the seat. Along with Tahirah Amatul-Wadud who is challenging Congressman Richard Neal, she is one of only two POC running in Western Massachusetts.

 

Wisnewski Campaign: Francia is a passionate advocate for public education who speaks from deep experience as both a parent and former School Committee member. She is running a grassroots campaign but fundraising is also crucial so she can send mailings in a district that has less access to the internet and extends out to 19 cities and towns. Every dollar donated to this campaign will make a big impact in helping her reach more voters.

Candidate List

website: Nika Elugardo

Nika Elugardo's' photo

Nika Elugardo
State Representative, 15th Suffolk

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 52% of the primary vote

 

The oldest of seven kids, Nika grew up in Columbus, Ohio in poverty. Her father was a construction worker who dealt drugs when he couldn’t find construction work, bringing Nika with him from Columbus to Miami on drug deals when she was a child. Growing up, her family was oftentimes evicted from their home or had to move because of her dad’s dangerous lifestyle.

 

Nika changed schools nine times until she got a scholarship to attend the Columbus School for Girls. It changed the trajectory of her life. She went to MIT for college, got a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School and graduated from BU Law School. Along the way, she trained leaders across the country to fight foreclosures at the National Consumer Law Center’s Foreclosure Prevention Project and worked on gender justice, community health and youth development at the Emmanuel Gospel Center. After law school, she served as a Senior Advisor for Policy and Planning for State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, was the founding director of MassSaves.org where she worked to promote asset development and economic justice in low-income communities, and then returned to work at Emmanuel Gospel.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Challenging incumbent State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez.

 

Dynamics of Race: Nika is challenging incumbent State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, who as House Ways and Means Chair is the highest ranking Latinx in the state. Asked often why she’s running against him, Nika says she took a look at his record. Last session, he had a B- rating on the Progressive Mass Scorecard. Since becoming House Ways and Means Chair, his rating has fallen to a C+. “We need progressive champions in the House,” Nika says on the trail. “I’m challenging this incumbent because I believe the ‘leadership team’ he belongs to – that of House Speaker Bob DeLeo – is the greatest obstacle to bold progressive change in Massachusetts.”

 

In a three-minute clip of a July 2018 debate circulating on social media, Nika and Rep. Sanchez are shown disagreeing on a number of key progressive issues. Nika supports independent review boards for police shootings, eliminating all mandatory minimums and raising the juvenile age beyond 18. Rep. Sanchez does not. Nika supports single payer healthcare. Rep. Sanchez does not. Nika supports same-day voter registration. Rep. Sanchez does not. Additionally, as House Ways and Means Chair, Rep. Sanchez was sharply criticized for passing a final budget this year that dropped the Senate-backed Safe Communities Act provision. “We just did not find consensus on those provisions,” he told reporters. “There are some issues where consensus should not be your measure of success,” Nika responded, arguing that we should never be “using our tax dollars to aid the terrorizing of our residents.”

 

Rep. Sanchez hasn’t had a primary since 2010.

 

Elugardo Campaign: Of the two campaigns, Nika has the momentum. Challenging a powerful, well-resourced incumbent is never easy, but Nika has been running an energizing, grassroots campaign on a bold, progressive platform that has effectively distinguished her as the progressive choice in the race.

Candidate List

website: Maria Robinson

Maria Robinson's photo

Maria Robinson
State Representative, 6th Middlesex

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won a four-way write-in race with 56% of the vote

 

Maria is an Asian-American adoptee and is in the process of adopting her two foster children. She attended MIT where she met her husband. When they were deciding where to settle down with their family, they made spreadsheets (because they’re engineers) and Framingham came out on top. It had everything they wanted: it was diverse, affordable, they could have a backyard. Last year, her parents moved from Philadelphia and moved in with them, in part because they couldn’t find a place in Massachusetts to live that was affordable. It’s clear to her that we’re pricing seniors out of our state.

 

Maria has spent the last decade working in nonprofits focused on clean energy. She’s worked on renewable energy and energy efficiency policy at the federal level and in 25 states.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Open seat following late Rep. Chris Walsh’s passing; will be a write-in primary election

 

Dynamics of Race: Following the late Representative Chris Walsh’s passing in mid-May, a write-in September 4th primary election is being held to determine which Democrat will appear on the November ballot as the party’s nominee. Including Maria, four people are running.

 

Robinson's Campaign: Maria has emerged as the progressive in the race and as the candidate running the strongest campaign. Progressive organizations (MassAlliance, Progressive Mass), LGBTQ+ rights organizations (MassEquality), women’s reproductive rights organizations (NARAL and Planned Parenthood), labor (SEIU 1199, 509 and 32BJ), and teachers (MTA) have all endorsed her. She’s raised the resources and is running the strong field program needed to win.

Candidate List

website: Rachael Rollins

Rachael Rollins' photo

Rachael Rollins
Suffolk County District Attorney

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won in a 5-way field with 39% of primary vote

 

Rachael is the oldest of five children in a working-class, multi-cultural family. She attended Buckingham Browne and Nichols on a full scholarship and received a Division I scholarship to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has a law degree from Northeastern, and a Master of Laws from Georgetown University.

 

Rachael’s brother is currently in jail. She is also a foster mother to two of her young nieces (ages 5 and 9) whose parents are incarcerated due to mental health and addiction issues. If Rachael had not taken custody of her nieces, they would have gone into the DCF system.

 

Rachael served as a state Assistant District Attorney and a federal Assistant U.S. Attorney, prosecuting cases involving civil rights violations, fraud, sexual predators, narcotics, violence and weapons. She was also the first woman general counsel for the MBTA and the first person of color to be general counsel for MassDOT. In those roles, she managed over 150 employees. She later served as chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority.

 

Rachael was appointed by Attorney General Maura Healey to serve on her Advisory Council on Racial Justice and Equity. Additionally, she was a former Governor Deval Patrick appointee to the Commonwealth’s Judicial Nominating Commission, was former President of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, and was elected by her peers to serve on the Boston Bar Association Council.

 

On the Issues

Candidate List

website: Donna Patalano

Donna Patalano's photo

Donna Patalano
Middlesex County District Attorney

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost challenge with 47% of the primary vote

 

Donna started her career in healthcare management and didn’t attend law school until she was in her 30’s. She likes to explain that her son went off to the 1st grade and she went off to law school. She is the first person in her family to go to college (and then to law school).

 

When she went to law school, she had two interests: appeals and urban planning/ land use. After law school, she first worked at Goodwin Proctor in real estate law and then clerked for Judge Elspeth Cypher (who is now a Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice). After that, she worked as a prosecutor in the Suffolk County DA’s office for six years in appeals and homicides. She left to be a defense attorney for several years, specializing in appellate litigation (appealing convictions). Most of her clients didn’t look like her, and through her work as a defense attorney, she learned to see the process through their eyes. In 2011, she returned to the Suffolk County DA’s office as Chief of Professional Integrity and Ethics and built the Conviction Integrity Unit, which hasn’t been maintained since she left.

 

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court appointed her to be the chair of the Board of Bar Overseers, which is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the law profession. As Chair, she hired an Executive Director for the first time and instituted a new IT system and mandatory online registration for all lawyers.

 

Donna says she’s running because we have a broken criminal justice system and criminal justice is finally part of the national conversation. We have someone in the White House who is trying to destroy the rule of law. People should take hope in their local DA because no one has jurisdiction over the DA except for the voters. “The justice system should be the moral backbone of our society, not a black hole,” Donna says, noting the system’s lack of transparency, including in DA Marian Ryan’s office.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Challenging incumbent DA Marian Ryan, who has held the seat since April 2013

 

Dynamics of Race: Donna is challenging DA Marian Ryan who was appointed in April 2013 and then elected in November 2014. On the campaign trail, Donna argues that DA Ryan leads an office that lacks transparency and that her dated approach and limited perspective come from having been a prosecutor for too long. Donna says the time is ripe for new, progressive leaders to come forward and that she wants to bring a data-driven approach to the office focused on transparency, accountability and equity. Donna has been endorsed by Justice for Mass, a group of 30+ local progressive organizations that came together this year for the first time to collectively endorse district attorney candidates. This hefty endorsement has sealed her status as the progressive in the race and brings ground game troops heading into the final stretch.

 

In running against an incumbent, Donna’s biggest challenge is keeping up in fundraising. With a district that spans 54 cities and towns, more resources would help her reach more voters through multiple, diverse channels (traditional mail, social media, radio, and field).

Candidate List

website: Andrea Harrington

Andrea Harrington's photo

Andrea Harrington
Berkshire County District Attorney

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won challenge with 40% in a 3-way primary

 

Growing up the daughter of a carpenter and housekeeper in Western Massachusetts, Andrea remembers, in the third grade, cleaning houses with her teen mom because they couldn't afford childcare. She was the first in her family to go to college, and the first to go to law school. She spent her years right after law school fighting death penalty convictions in Florida and came back to Western Massachusetts to start a family and worked to defend poor defendants in the criminal justice system.

 

Andrea is running because Berkshire County is stuck in the past. The DA’s office is stuck on the 1980’s war on drugs. Meanwhile, there’s been a sharp increase in opioid deaths in the last seven months. They have high crime rates; North Adams has the highest crime rate per capita and higher rates of domestic violence than anywhere else in the state. From her experiences in the courtroom and representing people on death row, she knows the criminal justice system fails people of color and poor people. This DA’s office only has a myopic view of criminal justice and operates with a law enforcement mentality.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: Challenging incumbent DA Paul Caccaviello, who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker in March 2018 after long-time DA David Capeless retired.

 

Dynamics of Race: DA Caccaviello was former DA David Capeless’ 1st Deputy DA, who stepped down halfway through his final year in office and asked Gov. Baker to appoint Caccaviello to the seat. Caccaviello was a registered independent and switched his party registration to Democrat in February before he was appointed. A Supreme Judicial Court ruling found that Caccaviello violated a defendant’s civil rights by removing the one POC from the jury because of race. Perennial candidate Judy Knight is also running against Caccaviello in the primary.

 

Maria’s List endorsed Andrea’s first run for State Senate two years ago. As with the other DA races, Andrea’s endorsement by the Justice for Mass coalition was a big boon that continues her momentum. She has a great shot to win.

Candidate List

website: Jay Gonzalez

Jay Gonzalez's photo

Jay Gonzalez
Governor

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 64% of the primary vote

 

Jay Gonzalez was the former Secretary of Administration and Finance under Governor Deval Patrick during the Great Recession. While in the Administration, he also served as Chairman of the Board of the Massachusetts Health Connector, where he oversaw implementation of Massachusetts’ health care reform, and he co-chaired the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. Afterwards, Gonzalez was chair of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care and, most recently, was President and CEO of CeltiCare Health and New Hampshire Healthy Families, leading the turn-around of an ailing health insurance provider that serves low-income people in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Seat: With a 69% approval rating in a July 2018 Morning Consult poll, incumbent Republican Charlie Baker remains the most popular governor in the country.  The Democratic primary field to take him on, as a result, has been shallow.  Citing anemic fundraising that would make it hard for him to unseat Baker, former Mayor of Newton Setti Warren dropped out of the primary race in April, leaving just two primary challengers: Jay and Bob Massie, an environmentalist and entrepreneur. Setti Warren’s exit highlights the challenges facing any Democratic nominee taking on this moderate, well-liked Republican governor in November.  Governor Baker officially launched his re-election campaign this month with over $8 million on hand. Jay Gonzalez reported having $431,660 at the beginning of August and Massie $109,057.

 

Dynamics of Race: There are few policy differences between Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie. Jay is running a better campaign and is the stronger candidate. Jay has extensive experience in government, healthcare and education and is very detailed when talking about policy.  His resume actually resembles Charlie Baker’s; both were budget chiefs and led health insurers, allowing Jay to go head-to-head with Governor Baker without Baker being able to cite experience and know-how as differentiators. Though Bob Massie has an impressive background, concerns about his health have dogged his campaign and prevented him from being considered a serious candidate for Governor.

Candidate List

website: Josh Zakim

Josh Zakim's photo

Josh Zakim
Secretary of State

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost challenge with 33% of the primary vote

 

Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim is an attorney who was elected to the City Council in 2013. Josh began his career at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) where he represented working families facing foreclosure on their homes. He also worked in the Public Finance group of the law firm Mintz Levin, specializing on municipal bond transactions for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, MassPort and the MBTA.

 

Josh currently chairs the City Council’s Committee on Civil Rights and previously chaired the Committee on Housing & Community Development and the Special Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, Planning & Investment. In his first term on the Council, Josh authored the Boston Trust Act, prohibiting the Boston Police Department from detaining residents based on immigration status. He also successfully introduced an ordinance extending protections for tenants whose homes are converted to condominiums or co-ops, including increased financial safeguards for elderly, disabled, and low-income tenants.

 

Josh’s father is the late civil rights activist Lenny Zakim who the famed Zakim Bridge in Boston is named after him.

 

Josh is running because, in Massachusetts, the birthplace of American democracy, both registering to vote and voting itself have become too difficult for too many people. He’s running to be a champion of voting rights and voting access.

 

On the Issues

 

Analysis of Campaign: Josh is taking on 24-year entrenched incumbent Bill Galvin whose nickname is “the Prince of Darkness.” In a surprise and consequential upset, Zakim won the endorsement of the Democratic Party at the state convention, garnering 55% of delegate votes.

 

The Boston Globe deemed the Secretary of State race “the state’s most nasty and personal race of 2018.” Both campaigns are running negative ads.  Zakim’s ad highlights Galvin’s record as a state legislator from 1975-1991 before he became Secretary of State: voting to ban abortion, to bring back the death penalty and to ban same-sex couple adoptions. Galvin’s ad calls Josh “No-Show Zakim,” saying he hasn’t voted in 15 elections.  Both candidates are trying to draw distinctions for voters, particularly because a June WBUR poll shows 34% of voters are undecided. The same poll showed Galvin had a comfortable lead: 46% to Josh’s 17%, with Galvin popular among older voters. Name recognition is Josh’s biggest challenge: 62% had never heard of him.  With a substantial fundraising haul, Josh’s ability to effectively use his resources to get his message out and turn out his (younger) voters will determine whether he wins on September 4th. 

Candidate List

website: Tahira Amatul-Wadud

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud's photo

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud
MA-1

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost challenge with 29% of the primary vote

 

A black Muslim mother of seven, Tahirah Amatul–Wadud is a Springfield, Massachusetts attorney who runs her own law practice focused on civil rights law and domestic relations. A strong defender of religious freedom, Tahirah is legal counsel to a number of religious congregations across Massachusetts and New York. She serves on the board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and as a Commissioner on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, which helped pass equal pay in the state. She also serves on the Family Advisory Council of Boston Children's Hospital, where her daughter received life-saving heart surgery as a newborn. 

 

Tahirah is running because, particularly in this post-Trump era, people are feeling hopeless and Congressman Neal has been missing for years. (Last year, Indivisible Williamsburg took out an ad in the Daily Hampshire Gazette with Congressman Neal’s face next to the words: “Has anyone seen this man?”) “I would always be responsive to the constituents,” Tahirah says. “I sincerely believe that you cannot be a defender of democracy when you have a divided loyalty between your constituents and your financiers,” she says in an interview with The Nation, referencing Neal. 75% of Neal’s $2.5 million campaign war chest is from PACs. Tahirah, meanwhile, has pledged not to accept any corporate campaign donations and advocates for the repeal of Citizens United.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race: Congressman Neal is currently the longest-serving member of the Massachusetts delegation, having held this seat since 1989. The biggest and most spread out Massachusetts district in area, MA-1 includes 87 cities and towns in western and central Massachusetts. This is a safely held Democratic seat and the primary will determine the winner.

 

Dynamics of Race: Endorsements from progressive organizations ranging from Indivisible and Progressive Democrats of America to Rise Up Western Massachusetts and Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR) show Tahirah’s strong grassroots support and the excitement among progressive activists about her campaign. Fundraising is Tahirah’s biggest challenge as she takes on Congressman Neal’s $2.5 million campaign war chest. At the end of the last fundraising quarter, Tahirah had brought in $72,047. This race will test the strength of Tahirah’s ground game, and her ability to channel the excitement surrounding her candidacy into foot soldiers that can reach and persuade voters across this vast district.

Candidate List

website: Barbara L'Italien

Barbara L'Italien's photo

Barbara L'Italien
MA-3

Democratic Primary — Thursday, September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Lost with 15.2% of vote in 10-way primary; came in 3rd

 

Barbara is currently a Massachusetts state senator and has been a state representative, a school committee member, an elder care social worker, and a mom on a mission to provide a better life for all, starting with our most vulnerable. When Rudy, the oldest of her four children, was diagnosed with autism, she fought for her son to get the basic services, care, and education he needed. She went on to run for the state House of Representatives in 2002, where she set out to make sure all kids with disabilities and their families are supported. She became the statewide leader on the issue, building the nation’s strongest safety net for people with autism and leading on landmark legislation to allow people on the autism spectrum to get health insurance. Barbara has also been a leader in the fights for single-payer health care, quality public education for all children, equal marriage, better services and supports for seniors, and jobs and a fair economy. She led the charge in Massachusetts against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, the NRA, and the school privatization industry. Barbara’s running because our country is facing some of the biggest challenges we’ve ever seen. She wants to take her experience and success in Massachusetts to Washington to make sure we have a system that works for all of us, and especially those who need extra support to thrive.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race: Ten candidates are running in this crowded Democratic primary to replace retiring Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. The Democratic nominee faces Republican Rick Green in an undoubtedly tough November general election. Rick Green has already been running paid negative ads against Barbara ahead of the Democratic primary, indicating that Republicans believe Barbara will win the Democratic primary. Though a Democrat is likely to win the seat, the district voted for Republicans Charlie Baker (Governor) and Scott Brown (US Senate).

 

Dynamics of Race: An August Boston Globe/UMass Lowell poll showed Barbara to be tied for 2nd place (at 13%) and the leading woman in the race. Dan Koh, former chief of staff to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, polled higher (at 19%), and Barbara is tied with former Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford. Lori Trahan polled in 4th place (at 8%), Juana Matias in 5th (at 6%), Alexandria Chandler in 6th (at 4%) and Bopha Malone in the bottom tier (with less than 1%). The largest block of voters (29%) are still undecided with less than two weeks before the primary, meaning the race is still fluid and open.

 

Barbara’s field operation is strong and active in deep democracy practices. Her campaign fully coordinates with the Yes on 1: Safe Patient Limits ballot campaign. They share door-knockers, put up each other’s signs and Barbara even loans part of her campaign office to the Yes on 1 campaign.

 

Fundraising is Barbara’s biggest challenge. She is being out-raised by three other candidates in the top tier: Dan Koh, Rufus Gifford and Lori Trahan. Her strong field operation gives her a strong chance to win. In these final days, if she is able to raise additional resources to reach more voters through TV and bolster an already strong field operation, she will be hard to beat.

Candidate List

Ayanna Pressley website

Ayanna Pressley photo Ayanna's Video Bio

Ayanna Pressley
MA-07

Democratic Primary — September 4th, 2018

 

Update: Won with 59% of the primary vote

 

Ayanna Pressley is an advocate, a policy-maker, an activist, and survivor. Raised in Chicago, as the only child of an activist mother who instilled the value of civic participation, Ayanna understands the role that government should play in helping to lift up communities that are in need of the most help. Her focus as a City Councilor - stabilizing families and communities, reducing and preventing violence and trauma, combating poverty, and addressing issues that disproportionately impact women and girls - is a reflection of her 25 years in public service.

 

 

On the Issues

  1. Economic Growth and Opportunity for All — despite a growing economy across the region, income inequality is a persistent problem that is pushing out longtime residents. Councilor Pressley wants to focus on creating fair economic policies that give tax relief to lower and middle-income workers, not the wealthy and big corporations. She supports expanding the earned income tax credit, social security, improving infrastructure, reforming Wall Street, supporting small business and aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering women to succeed, seeking fair and comprehensive immigration policies or fighting for family paid leave and LGBTQ right. She also wants to create good-paying jobs, that’s why she supports increasing the minimum wage to $15, major investments in workforce training, including apprenticeships and vocational education in advanced manufacturing and technology to help young people find careers.

  2. Education — to build a more inclusive and sustainable 21st century economy, Councilor Pressley will prioritize improving public schools by guaranteeing universal pre-kindergarten, debt free college, investing in school buildings, school food programs and in life-oriented education program. She believes that if we’re going to arm our teachers it’s with well-rounded support staff, students who are ready to learn, an environment that enables focus, the tools to teach and the salary that honors their craft

  3. Health Care and Public Safety — protecting the Affordable Care Act and push further by-passing Medicare for all. Councilor Pressley will continue her fight for women’s reproductive justice health, lead on ending the addiction crisis, and enabling health systems to succeed whether it addressing the mental health component of gun violence or streamlining patient data for better treatment. Unlike her opponent, she will go further on public safety by demanding gun control, improving local law enforcement, and eliminating human trafficking.

     

Status of Race: District is located in Greater Boston and includes two-thirds of the City of Boston, all of Everett, Chelsea, Randolph, and Somerville, as well as half of Cambridge and a few precincts in Milton. This is a safely held Democratic seat and the primary will determine winner.

 

Dynamics of Race: Head to head Democratic Primary against 18-year incumbent, Michael Capuano, who is generally well-like by the establishment. Recent polls show a competitive race between Ayanna Pressley and Mike Capuano even though a large swath of voters have not yet heard of Ayanna. She already leads Capuano among those who know her, and we can expect her support to continue to expand as more voters become familiar with her and her story. The current political environment will also boost Ayanna, as Democrats are fed up with Congress and hungry for change. This sentiment is especially strong among women, younger voters and voters of color, all core constituencies for Ayanna. Capuano’s support is below 50%, a concerning sign for any incumbent, especially in a change environment like this one. His only real election was in 1998, in a crowded field, where he earned only 23% of the vote. Her legislative achievements resulted in her being the top vote getter in three consecutive elections, making her the first woman in 30 years to achieve this distinction and the first person of color to top the ticket.

 

Pressley's Campaign: Pressley has launched a bold and aggressive multi-ethnic communications, grassroots, and fundraising program led by leading local and DC strategists, who raised $100,000 one week after the campaign’s launch and a total of $364,000 by the end of first quarter. With a tough primary ahead, Councilor Pressley faces an incumbent, who closed out 2017 with $700,000, therefore fundraising is the biggest challenge she faces. Her second challenge is that as a well-liked former mayor and Congressman, Capuano retains a solid reservoir of goodwill and institutional support. Explaining how AP’s vision for the office—and what role a Congresswoman can and should play in today’s politics—will be vital to winning this primary.

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