Massachusetts Legislature Could Have More Self-Identified Socialists Next Year

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How many socialists will there be in the Massachusetts Legislature next year?

At least two, for sure, but there could be more.

State Representatives Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge) and Nika Elugardo (D-Jamaica Plain) are self-identified democratic socialists. They are essentially guaranteed re-election. Neither faces a Democratic primary challenger this year. No Republican is not running in the 26th Middlesex District, which Connolly represents. It includes parts of Cambridge and Somerville. No Republican is running for the 15th Suffolk District that Elugardo represents, which contains parts of Brookline, Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain, and Roslindale.

First elected in 2016, Connolly upended in the primary a longtime pro-life liberal Democrat, Timothy Toomey, who was also and remains a Cambridge city councilor.

It was a case of replacing left with lefter. Toomey, the incumbent four years ago, had a 4 percent lifetime American Conservative Union rating (out of a possible 100) and an 87 percent Progressive Massachusetts rating in 2016 (out of a possible 100 percent, tied for 10th most left-wing rating that year).

Connolly supports abortion, and his 2019 Progressive Massachusetts rating was 96 percent — meaning there was one bill or issue where he differed from the left line. 

First elected in 2018, Elugardo took down then-state representative Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain) in the primary; Sanchez had held the office since 2003, and was the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, a key position in Speaker Robert DeLeo’s leadership team. Elugardo is to the left of Sanchez, who had a 77 percent Progressive Massachusetts rating in 2018. Elugardo had a perfect 100 percent rating from the group in 2019.

However, Connolly and Elugardo are not the only democratic socialists running for a seat this year in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

New Boston Post examined the list of Democratic candidates who will be on primary ballots on Tuesday, September 1, and found that Connolly and Elugardo are two of six self-identified democratic socialists in the state’s majority party making a bid.

The other four live in or a little north of Boston.

These candidates are:



Of the four newcomers, three are running against incumbents, and one is seeking an open seat.

In each of the three races where Democratic incumbents are fending off a challenge, the incumbent is a liberal, but not as far left as the democratic socialist challenger.

Callahan is challenging state Representative Christine Barber (D-Somerville) in the 34th Middlesex District. Barber was first elected in 2014. Barber’s 2019 Progressive Massachusetts rating was 76 percent. Her lifetime American Conservative Union rating is 1 percent.

Mossalam is running against state Representative Paul Donato (D-Medford) in the 35th Middlesex. Donato was first elected to the seat in 2000. Donato’s 2019 Progressive Massachusetts rating was 76 percent. His lifetime American Conservative Union rating is 2 percent.

Donato told New Boston Post in a telephone interview on Thursday that he knows Mossalam is to his left, but he doesn’t think that’s what the people in his community want.

“This is a republic, we encourage people to seek public office,” Donato said. “I’m going to stand on my past experience and accomplishments. I feel I have a number of things I can provide for the people of this district on education, health care, and housing. Those are the three major components of what my campaign is about.

“I think that my district is somewhat more moderate than the rest of the surrounding communities, and I represent that view in the State House.”

Meehan is challenging incumbent state Representative Kevin Honan (D-Boston), first elected to the State House in 1987. Honan’s 2019 Progressive Massachusetts rating was 76 percent. Honan’s lifetime American Conservative Union rating is 1 percent.

Meanwhile, in the 27th Middlesex District, state Representative Denise Provost (D-Somerville), who had a 100 percent Progressive Massachusetts rating in 2019 and has a 3 percent American Conservative Union rating,  is not seeking re-election. Uyterhoeven’s opponent is Catia Sharp of Somerville, who worked in the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance under Governor Deval Patrick, a liberal Democrat.

All are heavily Democratic districts. No Republicans are running in these districts — unless someone puts together a sticker campaign to get on the general election ballot this November.

As for fund raising:

In the open seat in Somerville, the two candidates have raised similar amounts. As of the end of June, Uyterhoeven’s campaign had raised $39,499.25 and had $20,254.85 cash on hand. Conversely, Sharp’s campaign had $33,076.82 cash on hand as of the end of June and had raised $35,459.64.

As of July 14, Meehan’s campaign had raised $30,792.66 and, according to the most recent formal campaign filing, had $9,998.35 cash on hand as of the end of June. That was far less than Honan. From the start of 2019 through the end of June 2020, the incumbent had raised $106,944.31; Honan also had $85,957.59 cash on hand as of June 30.

Barber, another incumbent, had a dominant grip on the fund-raising game as well. Through July 6, 2020, she had raised $126,993.70 since the start of 2019. At the end of June, her campaign had $68,389.96 cash on hand.

And Donato’s campaign trounces Mossalam’s in fund raising. From the start of 2019 to July 27 of this year, the campaign had raised $124,229.28; the incumbent’s campaign had $118,364.25 cash on hand as of the end of June. As of July 29, Mossalam’s campaign had raised $37,919.59; and on June 30 the campaign had $5,383.49 cash on hand.

All of these candidates are far behind where Elugardo’s left-insurgent campaign against Sanchez was at the same point in the 2018 election cycle. As of the end of June 2018, she had raised $74,512.00. In total, her campaign raised $134,527.70 through election day.  However, even she got greatly out-fund-raised by her opponent. Sanchez’s campaign raised $418,549.84 from the start of 2017 to the September 4, 2018 primary day; by the end of June 2018, he had raised $336,102.11.

No self-identified democratic socialists are running for seats in the Massachusetts Senate in this election.

The offices of state Representatives Barber and Honan could not be reached for comment. Challengers Uyterhoeven, Callahan, Mossalam, and Meehan also could not be reached for comment late last week.