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Primary Elections Yield Victories for Pro-Equality Legislative Candidates

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 07:53 AM
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Primary Elections Yield Victories for Pro-Equality Legislative Candidates

Primary Elections Yield Victories for Pro-Equality Legislative Candidates

9/19/2006 10:58:00 PM

To: State Desk, Political Reporter

Contact: Marc Solomon of MassEquality, 617-283-8237

BOSTON, Sept. 19 -- Continuing a trend begun with the 2004 elections, pro-equality candidates for the Massachusetts State House and Senate scored important victories in today's party primary elections. "Quite simply, candidates who support marriage equality win in Massachusetts elections," said MassEquality Campaign Director Marc Solomon.

Eight incumbent pro-equality legislators faced opposition in today's balloting. All with reported results won handily (results are still pending for the write-in election in the Second Suffolk Senate district). These races were dominated more by local issues than by legislators' votes against a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Additionally, voters chose party nominees in twelve elections for open seats, nine of which are held by retiring anti-equality legislators - eight Democrats and one Republican. Pro-equality candidates won Democratic primaries in eight.

Among the victories is the MassEquality-supported pro-equality Democratic candidate vying to replace the most vociferous opponent of marriage equality in the legislature, retiring Rep. Phil Travis (D-Rehoboth). Community leader Steve D'Amico won the Democratic nomination in a crowded four-way field.

"The symbolism of these races could not be more powerful," said Solomon. "Even in conservative districts where seats were held by strong opponents, pro-equality candidates triumphed. This confirms what we know - voters throughout the state are comfortable with marriage equality and simply want to move on."

Some highlights from today's voting:

-- Incumbent legislators beating back primary challenges were Senators Harriette Chandler (D-First Worcester) and Bob Havern (D-Fourth Middlesex), and Representatives Tony Cabral (D-13th Bristol), Mark Falzone (D-9th Essex), Smitty Pignatelli (D-4th Berkshire), Marie St. Fleur (D-5th Suffolk), and Ben Swan (D-11th Hampden). Results are not yet available in the write-in re- election campaign of Senator Dianne Wilkerson (D-Second Suffolk);

-- Victorious pro-equality candidates emerging from party primaries include nominees for the House Willie Mae Allen (D-6th Suffolk), Steve D'Amico (D-4th Bristol), Stephen DiNatale (D-3rd Worcester), Claire Naughton (D-1st Bristol), Sarah Peake (D-4th Barnstable), Rosemary Sandlin (D-3rd Hampden), and Stephen Stat Smith (D-28th Middlesex); and Senate nominee Chris Hodgkins (D- Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin).

-- The victory by Democrat Willie Mae Allen in the 6th Suffolk district guarantees pro-equality representation for residents of Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park and Roslindale. There is no Republican candidate in this race to succeed Representative Shirley Owens-Hicks (D-Boston).

Since the November 2003 Supreme Judicial Court ruling on marriage equality, no pro-equality legislator has been defeated at the polls, while two anti-equality legislators have lost to pro-equality challengers.

Prior to today's balloting, pro-equality candidates have won twelve of fifteen open seat elections in which a pro-equality candidate faced an anti-equality candidate.

MassEquality once again played a critical role in these races. Among the highlights:

-- Hundreds of MassEquality members volunteered on campaigns

-- MassEquality volunteers and staff completed more than 10,000 voter ID and get-out-the-vote telephone calls

-- MassEquality sent more than 250,000 pieces of mail in support of pro-equality candidates

-- MassEquality volunteers worked 130 of 600 volunteer shifts on election day to help re-elect State Senator Dianne Wilkerson

"We unleashed a tremendous effort statewide to re-elect our allies and win new seats in the State House," said Solomon. "We will continue working diligently through the November elections to ensure an even larger pro-equality majority in the next legislative session."

"Today's elections showed once again that standing for equality is not only the right thing to do, it is politically astute," said MassEquality Political Director Matt McTighe.


MassEquality was founded as a coalition dedicated to protecting the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's decision on marriage equality and to defeating any discriminatory amendment to the Massachusetts state constitution.


11 Beacon St., Ste. 1125
Boston, MA 02108
617.482.1600 (main)
617.878.2333 (fax)

Dear Ian,

Yesterday primary results showed that Massachusetts stands for equality and our efforts ensured that our allies won victories throughout the Commonwealth.

In January we joined Deval Patricks campaign for Governor and with our support Deval won a resounding victory in the Democratic Primary. We now have a great opportunity to place a passionate advocate for equal marriage in the Corner Office. Deval Patrick is joined on the Democratic ticket by the pro-equality mayor of Worcester Tim Murray.

Additionally pro-equality legislators facing challenges yesterday easily won reelection in eight races. Senators Harriette Chandler (1st Worcester), Robert Havern (4th Middlesex), and Diane Wilkerson (2nd Suffolk, pending confirmation) and Representatives Tony Cabral (13th Bristol), Mark Falzone (9th Essex), Smitty Pignatelli (4th Berkshire), Marie St. Fleur (5th Suffolk), and Ben Swan (11th Hampden) all beat their Democratic opponents ensuring their continued support in the Statehouse.

In open races pro-equality candidates were nominated in eight of twelve races. Democratic nominees for the House include Willie Mae Allen (6th Suffolk), Steve DAmico (4th Bristol), Stephen DiNatale (3rd Worcester), Claire Naughton (1st Bristol), Sarah Peake (4th Barnstable), Rosemary Sandlin (3rd Hampden), and Stephen Stat Smith (28th Middlesex) and for the Senate nominee Chris Hodgkins (Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin).

The results continue to be clear; the voters of the Commonwealth support pro-equality candidates. Since the Goodrige decision in 2003, no pro-equality incumbent has lost reelection and victories continue to amount in contested and open races. With our continued support we can secure marriage equality and increase our majority in the Statehouse in November.

Rob Henry
Co-Chair, The Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts

PS. Stay tuned for our General Election endorsements at

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for Freedom to Marry Coalition of MA.
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