The Cambridge guide to the 2012 elections
The upcoming election doesn’t just decide whether President Barack Obama is re-elected; there are state and local races as well, and in addition to who wins the White House, Cambridge voters will be asked to decide a dozen more political seats and three ballot questions. Click the above image for a full-size, printable PDF version.
Here’s a rundown of those votes. (This story includes some information relevant to the September primary election.)
For the U.S. Senate:
Incumbent Republican Scott Brown is running against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor and Cambridge resident who helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, only to find her appointment by Obama to lead it thwarted by Republicans. Brown won election in 2010 on a wave of tea party outrage, surprising many by taking the seat of the late Democratic lion Ted Kennedy over the lackluster campaign efforts of Attorney General Martha Coakley.
For the U.S. House:
Until last year, Cambridge had been a single Congressional District (apparently dating back some eight decades) represented since 1999 by Somerville’s Mike Capuano. But the 8th Congressional District became a victim of redistricting that splits it between the 5th and 7th districts, with the 5th cutting through the city from the southwest through the center.
That leaves the 7th as the area bordering Somerville to the west, albeit no closer than where Rindge Avenue meets Massachusetts Avenue; and nearly a third of the city to the east, including East Cambridge, Kendall Square, Area IV, Cambridgeport, most of Wellington-Harrington and a bit of Riverside. Capuano runs here, with no opposition this year.
The redistricting brings Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep Ed Markey to the 5th Congressional District as well as three potential Republican opponents. GOP voters get to decide Sept. 6 which candidate will take on Markey: Frank John Addivinola Jr.; Jeffrey M. Semon; or Tom Tierney.
Addivinola, 52, of Boston, teaches law and life sciences at local colleges, has a private law practice and manages a real estate investment fund. Semon, 35, is a financial systems analyst living in Lexington. Tierney, 69, is a consulting actuary and self-described consumer activist who lives in Framingham.
For the Governor’s Council:
There are no Republicans running in the 6th District for this office, an eight-member body that meets weekly to advise the governor’s office on such things as pardons and commutations and for appointments such as judges and clerk-magistrates and for members of such bodies as the Parole Board. Two Democrats will face off in the primary, though: incumbent Terrence W. Kennedy, an Everett lawyer; and Francis Xavier Flaherty Jr., once assistant district attorney for Essex County and assistant attorney general who moved on to be executive vice president and publisher at Walden Media, a media company most famous for the film version of C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” books. He is brother to one of the co-founders of the company, which was funded by billionaire Christian conservative Philip Anschutz and has corporate offices in Los Angeles and an “education, outreach, interactive and publishing” office in Boston.
For state senators:
There are three votes for state senate facing Cambridge, but only one race — in the First Suffolk and Middlesex District, where incumbent Democrat Anthony Petruccelli, of East Boston, faces Republican challenger Thomas J. Dooley III, a Beacon Hill real estate broker. Dooley’s platform speaks mainly in generalizations such as the need to be “more competitive and attractive to the business community by reducing regulation, ‘market hurdles’ and minimizing the cost of doing business in the Commonwealth [and] increase jobs by way of pro-active and business friendly policies.” He pins several policies on the creation of a casino at Suffolk Downs, including offsetting sales taxes and eliminating the excise tax, and wants to save money by cutting such things as the state Liquor Licensing Board, Governor’s Council and even the office of the lieutenant governor, which he says is “largely ceremonial” and could be “combined with other departments.”
Petruccelli, in office since 2007, beat Addivinola soundly in an election two years ago, winning about three-quarters of total votes despite having to retract claims he graduated from the University of Rochester. In Cambridge, Petruccelli won 10,215 to 1,470, according to the Cambridge Chronicle.
For state representatives:
There are five state rep seats in Cambridge coming up for votes in November, but only three with actual races and two with primaries. (There are no challengers for Democratic incumbents Jonathan Hecht in the 29th Middlesex District and Martha “Marty” Walz in the 8th Suffolk District.)
The primary races are for the 24th Middlesex District, occupied by Will Brownsberger until he took over Steven Tolman’s seat in the state Senate in January; and the 25th Middlesex District, where Alice Wolf announced in March that she would retire from the seat.
In each seat there is a three-way Democratic scramble to run in November, but only the 24th Middlesex District has a Republican challenger on the ballot in Tommasina Anne Olson, a Belmont resident whose biography says she worked for the state Department of Education as an administrator for special education, attended Babson College and earned an MBA, worked at a boutique financial brokerage and opened her own firm, LifeVest Financial. The Democrats are Margaret A. Hegarty, a Belmont resident whose supporters cite her work as a public defender, prosecutor and as a member of legislative counsel in the State House and who has endorsements from DiDomenico as well as former state Rep. Anne Paulsen, the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus and various unions; Robert Paul Reardon Jr., a Belmont resident just graduated by Bentley University with a bachelor’s degree in business management and a minor in law; and David M. Rogers, a Cambridge lawyer.
Reardon lists transportation, education, environment and ethics as his priorities, but aside from “promoting the development of clean energy industries” and promising to be a full-time representative, he names no specifics plans. Rogers has similar priorities save for where he focuses on health care instead of ethics, suggesting one idea “is to move away from a traditional fee-for-service cost structure and toward a so-called ‘global payments system’ where health care providers are not paid based on each individual test or procedure, but a flat fee based on the type of condition being treated.”
The 25th Middlesex District race has a Republican challenger, but as a write-in candidate: Hasson J. Rashid, a Cambridge Republican running a write-in campaign. Rashid hosts two programs on Cambridge Community Television, cites a bachelor’s degree in human services from Lesley University and is active with the Alliance of Cambridge Tenants. The Democratic candidates are Marjorie C. Decker, a one-time legislative aide for Wolf and longtime city councillor who touts more than three dozen endorsements of fellow politicians — including Capuano and Wolf herself — advocacy organizations such as the Sierra Club and unions; Gayle E. Johnson, a community activist with experience as a House and Senate aide on Beacon Hill and as an assistant to the president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, where she was responsible for special events, conference planning and the Catalyst Fund; and Lesley Rebecca Phillips, chairwoman of the Ward 6 Democrat Committee and a founder of the Progressive Democrats of Cambridge who holds economics and law degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University.
Decker touts her experience in special education and labor issues; as a blind, African-American woman, Johnson has a focus on issues facing minorities with disabilities; Phillips cites her work on health care, education, jobs and affordable housing.
The 26th Middlesex District race needs no primary to winnow down candidates of the same party, but looks to be the only three-way race in the general election. Longtime Democratic incumbent Timothy J. Toomey Jr., a 59-year-old Cantabrigian first elected to the district in 1992, is running against Republican Thomas Michael Vasconcelos, 25, of Somerville, and Mike “No Money” Connolly, 32, also of Cambridge.
Toomey is a Suffolk University graduate who has served on the School Committee and has been on the City Council since 1989; he calls the environment, health care, public safety, transparent elections and transportation as his key issues and highlights his work to undo the Citizens United campaign funding decision by the Supreme Court, work advancing the MBTA urban ring and extending the T’s green line through Somerville into Medford and to lower Cambridge’s speed limit to 25 mph. Vasconcelos studied finance and philosophy at Bentley University, worked in finance and is now a financial analyst at Education First, in Cambridge; he shares the traditional Republican goal of shrinking government, but favors extension of the green line extension and told the Somerville Patch that “There are many in the Republican Party I’m not too happy with. In fact, the majority of them. I’m trying to reform the Republican Party as well.” Connolly, a project manager for Autonomy Corp., is another interesting candidate in that his campaign accepts no financial contributions and subsequently spends little. “By focusing exclusively on our community, we are building a local network of people who are interested in setting a better example for our democracy,” he says on his campaign website. He asks people to formally donate no money to his campaign, an effort that has even drawn a classic big check from Massachusetts Institute of Technology academic and political dissident Noam Chomsky. He also agrees with Toomey on single-payer health care and, obviously, clean elections, while putting some blame on Toomey for the fiscal problems bogging down the MBTA and the green line extension itself.
There are three statewide ballot initiatives: to make car diagnostic and repair information more widely available; let doctors prescribe medication to end the life of certain terminally ill patients who ask for it; and end state criminal and civil penalties for medical marijuana, letting some patients get it from state-regulated centers or even (for some hardship cases) grow their own.
An earlier version of the voting graphic included information from the September primary: