Two state reps defeated in primary contests

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CAMBRIDGE — Rep. Tim Toomey of Cambridge announced Thursday night that he lost his Democratic primary to challenger Mike Connolly.

In Lawrence, political newcomer Juana Matias toppled Rep. Marcos Devers in the Democratic primary in the 16th Essex district that represents parts of that city, the Lawrence Eagle Tribune reported.

Toomey made the announcement less than an hour after the polls closed at his East Cambridge campaign headquarters, just down the street from his district office.

“We came up short unfortunately,” said Toomey, who was first elected to the House in 1992. He said, “Changing demographics, changing city . . . We’ve held our head up high through all those years.”

Toomey, who plans to hold onto his seat on the Cambridge City Council, told the News Service it was his first electoral loss since he first ran for school committee in 1983. Saying he has no plans to challenge the results, Toomey estimated he was lost by around 300 votes and said he announced his defeat even before the last precinct came in.

Connolly lost a blowout in 2012 when he ran against Toomey as an independent on a pledge that he would not accept monetary donations to his campaign. Connolly describes himself as a “proud progressive” and “community organizer.”

Matias, who came to the United States from the Dominican Republic with her family in the late 1980s, is the CEO of Matias Enterprises LLC, a residential and commercial construction services company, and previously worked as a legal advocate for unaccompanied children at Central West Justice Center and Affiliate of Community Legal Aid, and as a social worker in Lawrence, according to her campaign website.

Devers, a one-time interim mayor of Lawrence and former chairman of the city council there, has served in the House since winning a special election in 2010 to replace William Lantigua, who gave up his House seat amidst criticism over him serving as both mayor and state representative while the city sought fiscal relief from the state.

Matias could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday night.

On her campaign website, Matias lists transitioning the Lawrence school system from state receivership back to local control as one of her top priorities, along with advocating for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and implementing criminal justice reforms.

— Written by Andy Metzger and Colin Young

Copyright State House News Service