With less than a month to go until the midterm elections, debates are underway, endorsements are flowing and candidates at the local, state and national levels are hitting the campaign trail hard.
There are several open seats in local races, as well as some incumbents facing challengers, while others are skating through unopposed.
Among the local races to watch in the run-up to Nov. 6: Democrat Lori Trahan of Westford takes on Republican Rick Green of Pepperell and unaffiliated candidate Mike Mullen of Maynard for the 3rd Congressional District.
Trahan has picked up a slew of endorsements since officially securing the Democratic nomination in September, following a 37-community recount called by Dan Koh, who finished second in the Democratic primary.
They include some big names – former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by Giffords and her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
“Lori Trahan is fed up with Congress failing to take action to address America’s gun violence crisis. Born and raised in Massachusetts, a state with some of the strongest gun laws in the nation, Lori knows that strong gun safety measures save lives,” the Giffords’ group said of Trahan.
In a statement addressing the endorsement, Trahan said: “There is no compromising on this issue — we need common sense gun reform and we need it now.”
Healey touted Trahan's background in the district.
“We know the girl who delivered the local newspaper, the young woman who waited tables at the local diner, the mother and businesswoman will be a Congresswoman who never forgets where she came from and who she represents in Washington,” Healey said in a statement.
Other politicians and groups who have recently lent their support to Trahan include state Rep. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen; state Rep. Andy Vargas, D-Haverhill; state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton; state Sen. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer; state Rep. Jennifer Benson, D-Lunenberg; Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts; International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 35; United Food and Commercial Workers Local 791; the Armenian National Committee of the Merrimack Valley; and NARAL Pro-Choice America, a national advocacy group dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom.
Earlier this week, Trahan met with members of the New England Innovation Alliance to discuss grants and funding for defense research in the district. Her campaign also released a statement on Domestic Violence Awareness Month, providing contact information for resources for victims.
Trahan then spent her Saturday traversing the district, with stops at Methuen Day and the Andover Block Party, as well as campaign events in Fitchburg and Clinton.
Methuen Democrat Diana DiZoglio, who is running for state Senate in the 1st Essex District against Republican Alexander Leighton Williams of Amesbury, received support from the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
“Educators in the 1st Essex District want more funding, less testing, and policies that support public education and our students,” said MTA President Merrie Najimy. “As a state Representative, Diana DiZoglio has been a committed advocate for our students, public schools, colleges and universities. As a state Senator, she will do all she can to help working families and communities throughout the Commonwealth.”
North Andover resident Ryan Losco, running as a Republican against Democrat and North Andover businesswoman Christina Minicucci for the 14th Essex District state representative seat being vacated by DiZoglio, also announced a slew of endorsements. The 14th Essex District includes portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill.
His endorsements include North Andover Selectwoman Rosemary Connelly Smedile and former Selectwoman Wendy Wakeman; former North Andover Selectmen Jim Xenakis and Dan Lanen; former North Andover Moderator Charles Salisbury; Lawrence City Councilor Marc Laplante; former Lawrence Mayor Michael Sullivan; former Methuen City Councilor Dan Grayton; former Haverhill Mayor and state Rep. Bill Ryan; Haverhill School Committee member Maura Ryan; state Reps. Jim Lyons, R-Andover; Lenny Mirra, R-Haverhill; Brad Hill, R-Ipswich; Marc Lombardo, R-Billerica; Hannah Kane, R-Shrewsbury; Minority Leader Brad Jones of Reading; and state Sens. Ryan Fattman R-Webster; and Donald Humason R-Westfield.
“Ryan will bring a fresh outlook and new ideas to the job. Now is a great time to mix things up on Beacon Hill,” Wakeman said.
In Andover, Tram Nguyen, who is running as a Democrat against incumbent state Rep. Jim Lyons, R-Andover, in the 18th Essex District, now has the backing of former President Barack Obama, who endorsed several Massachusetts Democrats in their political bids.
She also has more than 60 union and organization endorsements according to her campaign, including the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, Planned Parenthood, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, American Federation of Teachers and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.
Big names, big races
The latest UMass Lowell-Boston Globe poll of likely voters shows incumbent Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Democratic U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren with big leads over their opponents.
Baker topped Democrat Jay Gonzalez by 39 points, or 66 percent to 27 percent, in the poll.
Warren was polling with 56 percent of voter support compared to 31 percent for her Republican challenger Geoff Diehl and 8 percent for independent candidate Shiva Ayyadurai.
Diehl recently picked up an endorsement from the Association of Plymouth County Employees, the union of Plymouth County Correctional Officers.
As the November election looms, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin is reminding voters who need absentee ballots to apply now. Those eligible for absentee ballots include voters who will be out of town on Election Day, who have a disability, or who have a religious belief that prevents them from voting at their polling location.
Absentee ballots must be requested in writing, with the voter's signature. Family members may also apply for a ballot on a voter’s behalf.
Ballots may be returned to the voter’s city or town hall by mail or they may be hand-delivered by the voter or the voter’s family member. Ballots being mailed from within the United States must arrive back at city or town hall by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Voters need to allow mailing time for the application, as well as a minimum of one week to return their ballots, according to the U.S. Postal Service.
Contact Galvin’s office at 1-800-462-VOTE (8683) for more information or visit http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele to apply for an absentee ballot.
Follow Lisa Kashinsky on Twitter @lisakashinsky.