Around New England

MassGOP Unhappy That There’s No Sixth Plymouth House District Special Election

February 16, 2024

The Massachusetts Republican Party wanted the state legislature to call for a special election in the Sixth Plymouth House District, but there won’t be one.

The state representative seat is vacant. The former occupant, Josh Cutler, a Democrat, was named as an undersecretary in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development on January 5, and subsequently resigned from the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

But the House speaker,  Ron Mariano (D-Quincy), says he will not schedule a special election in the race this year, saying he is concerned about the cost of holding a special election in the early part of the year and then another primary and general election in November, according to State House News Service.

“Given that candidates are already able to draw nomination papers for the regularly scheduled state election for the 6th Plymouth House District, the House will not call a special election, as doing so would burden communities with the added costs associated with holding a special election, only to hold another election a few months later for that same seat,” Mariano told State House News Service on Thursday, February 15.

Instead, the seat will remain vacant for nearly a year, leaving the district unrepresented until January 2025.

That leaves Republican Party officials fuming, as they are hoping to build on two recent pickups in the legislature, which have been rare for the GOP in recent years.

“Amidst the legislative session’s peak, Speaker Mariano apparently prioritizes politics over delivering tangible legislative outcomes for the residents of Pembroke, Duxbury, Marshfield, Hanson, and Halifax,” MassGOP chairman Amy Carnevale said in a press release from the party. “Should a constituent raise concerns regarding bills or community issues, Speaker Mariano and the Beacon Hill leadership bear full responsibility as those phone calls and emails are met with a limited response from staff or go unanswered altogether.”

“In the critical deliberations of budgetary matters, the Speaker has opted to leave these communities without representation,” she added. “Evidently, the notion of a Republican yielding positive outcomes for this district poses too great a threat for the Speaker. As November approaches, it will become unmistakably apparent that the majority party bears responsibility for the consequences resulting from the loss of representation to these South Shore communities.”

Hanson Republican Ken Sweezey, who serves on his town’s finance committee, is running to replace Cutler; he also ran against Cutler in 2022 but lost 56 percent to 44 percent. On the Democratic side, former Pembroke selectman Becky Coletta is also running.

The Sixth Plymouth District includes: Duxbury; Precinct 2 of the town of Halifax; Precincts 2, and 3 of the town of Hanson; Precincts 2A, and 4, of the town of Marshfield; and Precincts 1, 2, 3A, 4, and 5, of the town of Pembroke, all in Plymouth County.


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