Around New England

Massachusetts Republican Party Says It Will Prioritize Competitive State Legislature Seats Over Races For Congress This Year

May 29, 2024

The Massachusetts Republican Party plans to focus on the races where party officials believe they have the best opportunities to make gains this year — which means the state legislature over Congress.

“We do have limited resources. So we’ll be focusing on a lot of the legislative seats, where we have openings and we have strong candidates running,” Carnevale said during an interview by Jon Keller of CBS Boston Channel 4 broadcast Sunday, May 26.

Democrats hold all nine of the state’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and both of the state’s seats in the U.S. Senate.

Keller noted that Republicans aren’t challenging six of the nine U.S. House incumbents, including Lori Trahan (Third Congressional District, Merrimack Valley), Jake Auchincloss (Fourth Congressional District, west and southwest of Boston), Katherine Clark (Fifth Congressional District, north and northwest of Boston), Seth Moulton (Sixth Congressional District, northeastern Massachusetts), Ayanna Pressley (Seventh Congressional District, Boston and parts north and south of the city), and William Keating (Ninth Congressional District, South Shore, South Coast, and Cape Cod and the Islands). (A map of Massachusetts congressional districts for the 2020s can be seen here.)

Carnevale noted that presidential election years — such as 2024 — are tough for Republicans in Massachusetts. Higher turnout of voters in the state means a higher percentage of voters who vote for Democrats.

As party chairman, Carnevale said, “We need to make small gains and walk before we can run.”

She identified state-funded migrant shelters and the unaffordability of life in Massachusetts as the two major issues for Republicans this year. She she said they are related.

Democrats hold overwhelming majorities in the Massachusetts Senate (36 to 4) and the Massachusetts House of Representatives (133 to 25).

In recent months, Republicans have won two special elections for the state legislature. Peter Durant (R-Spencer), who at the time was a state representative, won a special election for state Senate in central Massachusetts on November 7, 2023, becoming the fourth Republican in the chamber. A Republican, John Marsi (R-Dudley), won Durant’s vacated state representative seat on March 5, 2024.

Asked by Keller to make a prediction for November 2024, Carnevale said she expects to see gains in both the state Senate and in the state House of Representatives, “and build up on the gains that we made last year.”


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