Rayla Campbell’s Seventh Congressional District Write-In Campaign Comes Up Short

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/09/09/rayla-campbells-seventh-congressional-district-write-in-campaign-comes-up-short/

Rayla Campbell’s virtually unprecedented bid to get 2,000 write-in votes to get on the November general election ballot against U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Dorchester) came up short.

The Randolph Republican got 1,202 votes in the Republican primary for the Seventh Congressional District, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office told New Boston Post on Wednesday — almost 800 short.

Campbell isn’t giving up yet. She had herself taped on Facebook Live arguing with an official from the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office, which announced the results Wednesday — eight days after the September 1 primary.

Campbell maintains that since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in April that because of the coronavirus emergency candidates only needed half the normal amount of signatures to make the primary ballot, then she should only need half the amount of votes in the primary to make the general election ballot.

For example:  a candidate for the federal U.S. House of Representatives in Massachusetts would ordinarily need 2,000 signatures to make a party’s primary ballot, or the same amount of votes in the primary to make the general election ballot. But in April the state’s highest court ruled that because of the extraordinary public health situation, candidates for the U.S. House would only need 1,000 signatures to make the primary ballot.

If that reasoning were extended to the primary election, then the the 1,202 votes Campbell got in the primary would qualify, since the figure exceeds half of the 2,000 signatures she theoretically needed to make the GOP primary ballot.

The court did not address the number of votes needed in a primary election to make the general election ballot, however, and the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office says Campbell needed 2,000 votes to get there and didn’t get what she needed.

Campbell would be the first Republican candidate to run in a general election in Massachusetts’s Seventh Congressional District since it became a minority-majority district following the 2010 U.S. Census and redistricting in the state. She would also be the first non-Democrat to run in the general election in district since 2012. Karla Romero, an unenrolled candidate, ran against then-incumbent U.S. Representative Michael Capuano D-Somerville) in 2012 and lost 83.4 percent to 16.3 percent.

Although write-in campaigns are used in local elections, it’s rare for that method to be used to secure a party’s nomination in a U.S. House race in Massachusetts.

The last time a U.S. House candidate won a party’s nomination using a write-in campaign was Silvio Conte, who represented western Massachusetts, in 1982. An incumbent Republican at the time, he got 9,258 votes in the Democratic primary while also winning his party’s nomination. Records from the Clerk of the House of Representatives list Conte as a Republican and Democrat in the 1982 general election, although he stayed with the Republican Party. 

Other noteworthy efforts include Republican Steven Adam in the state’s First Congressional District in 2004 and Louise Hart in the state’s Fifth Congressional District in 1982. They were both Republicans. Adam got 660 votes and Hart got 1,230 votes.


Massachusetts Seventh Congressional District — known a the ‘Minority-Majority District.’ Source: Massachusetts Legislature web site

Massachusetts Seventh Congressional District towns and cities:

Middlesex County:

city of Cambridge (Wards 1, 2, and 3; Ward 4, Precinct 1; Ward 5; Ward 10, Precinct 3; Ward 11) (which includes East Cambridge and parts of North Cambridge)

cities of Everett and Somerville


Norfolk County:

town of Milton (Precincts 1, 5, and 10); town of Randolph


Suffolk County:

city of Chelsea

city of Boston (Wards 1 and 2; Ward 3, Precincts 7, 8; Ward 4; Ward 5, Precincts 1, 2, 2A, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10; Ward 7, Precinct 10; Wards 8, 9, and 10; Ward 11, Precincts 1–8; Ward 12; Ward 13, Precincts 1, 2, 4–6, 8, 9; Wards 14 and 15; Ward 16, Precincts 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11; Wards 17 and 18; Ward 19, Precincts 7, 10–13; Ward 20, Precinct 3; Wards 21 and 22);


City of Boston Wards

Matching Wards With Neighborhood

Ward 1:  East Boston

Ward 2:  Charlestown

Ward 3, Precincts 7 and 8:  South End and Chinatown

Ward 4:  Fenway and Kenmore Square

Ward 5, Precincts 1, 2, 2A, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10:  Back Bay and Bay Village

Ward 7, Precinct 10:  small southern portion of South Boston

Wards 8 and 9:  South End

Ward 10:  Mission Hill

Ward 11, Precincts 1-8:  Roxbury

Ward 12:  Roxbury

Ward 13:  north Dorchester

Ward 14:  Mattapan and south Dorchester

Ward 15:  Dorchester

Ward 16, Precincts 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11:  south Dorchester

Ward 17:  south Dorchester

Ward 18:  Hyde Park, south Mattapan

Ward 19, Precincts 7, 10-13:  Roslindale

Ward 20, Precinct 3:  small portion of Roslindale

Ward 21:  Allston

Ward 22:  Brighton