BOSTON - Despite a lack of contested races that is likely to drive down turnout, broad swaths of Massachusetts today will feature contested primaries for Congressional and legislative seats up for grabs this year.
According to Secretary of State Galvin, there are nearly 4.2 million registered voters for the primary of which 52.6 percent are not enrolled in a party, 35.56 are Democrats and 11.39 percent are Republicans. Unenrolled voters can vote in any party primary and remain unenrolled going into the general election while voters registered in a political party may only vote in that party’s primary.
The voting today begins at 7 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m., when the contours of the Nov. 6 ballot will become clearer. Turnout in November is expected to jump in large part due to the draw of the presidential race between President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney and a tight contest between U.S Sen. Scott Brown and Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat.
Republicans are waging contested primaries in five of the nine Congressional districts with Democrats competing in four of those districts. There are several interesting races to fill open seats in the Legislature, but only four senators and 14 state representatives will face intra-party challenges during the primaries, making it extremely unlikely that a large batch of incumbents will be turned down by voters today.
For most Beacon Hill lawmakers, today will just be another day with their positions secure and some down in Charlotte soaking in the Democratic National Convention.
In the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, the winner of a contest between Republicans Sean Bielat of Norfolk, Elizabeth Childs of Brookline and David Steinhof of Fall River will likely face Joseph Kennedy III, who is expected to defeat Democrats Rachel Brown of Quincy and Herb Robinson of Newton and is looking to return the Kennedy family’s name to the Congressional roster.