While he carried the towns of Whitman and Hanson, U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III lost the Massachusetts state primary to U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
Election officials in both towns said early and mail-in ballot activity was heavier than ususal, as was in-person voting on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
“We had almost 2,000 mail-in ballots,” said Hanson Town Clerk Elizabeth Sloan. “Everything is going very smoothly today.”
Whitman saw 31 percent of the town’s 10,800 registered voters cast ballots in the primary. There were 68 absentee ballots and 1,772 early voting ballots cast. In Hanson, where election workers had been counting votes until after midnight, there had not yet been information on the percentage of the town’s 7,769 registered voters who cast ballots.
Kennedy garnered 1,385 votes to Markey’s 1,133 in Whitman and eaked out a narrow margin 909 to Markey’s 899 in Hanson.
“We may have lost the final vote count tonight, but we built a coalition that will endure,” Kennedy told supporters.
In other races on the primary ballot, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch won his Whitman primary vs. challenger Robbie H. Goldstein 1,783 to 679. He took the 8th Congressional district with 66 percent of the vote over Goldstein’s 34 percent with 76.5 percent of the votes counted Tuesday night.
The other contested race on the ballot, state Sen. Mike Brady topped Brockton City Councilor Moises Rodrigues 1,581 to 793 in Whitman and 1,173 to 510 in Hanson on the way to a district-wide win in the 2nd Plymouth & Bristol.
“The age of incrementalism is over. Now is our moment to think big,” Markey told supporters Tuesday night. “This election is an undeniable mandate for action, and it is our young people who will lead the way,” Markey said.
He noted that progressive issues such as universal health care, an end to systematic racism and passage of the Green New Deal are among the urgent issues requiring bold action.
“The time to be timid is past,” he said.
Congratulating Markey after conceding Tuesday night, Kennedy pledged his support for Markey in the months ahead of the Nov. 3 general election. For his part, Markey committed to “talking with and working with Kennedy to make the lasting, meaningful change that I know that we are both committed to.”
“The senator is a good man, you have never heard me say otherwise,” Kennedy said of the contentious primary contest. “It was difficult at times between us … elections often get heated.”
Local Markey supporters — W-H School Committee member David Forth and Finance Committee member Rosemary Connolly — spoke about the Senate race while sign-holding for Markey in Whitman Tuesday morning.
“I’m feeling good right now,” Forth said. “I think we have the momentum on our side — hopefully, things turn out well.”
Forth said he thought recent online negativity between supporters of the two candidates would motivate people to vote no matter who they support.
“The polls have shifted to Markey right now, but before it was pretty close,” he said. “I do think, whether it’s negativity going to Kennedy or going to Markey, I feel their voter base is going to feel motivated to come out because the want to prove the other side wrong.
Forth, 19, spoke about political veteran Markey’s appeal to younger voters.
“He has been there for awhile, and I think that’s one of the things that’s discouraged some people that have a progressive outlook … but, for the most part, I think he’s supported young people, he’s supported what’s best for the community, he’s supported older people.”
Forth said the bottom line is that Kennedy has never given a reason why he should be supported over Markey other than the latter not being visible in Massachusetts, but Markey’s legislative record speaks to progressives.
“If you’re a Sanders supporter or something like that, you would align yourself with Markey,” Forth said. While both candidates accept super PAC money, but the sources of Markey’s funds are not connected with oil companies or other other sources that “go against progressive ideals.”
Connolly said, as a town official as well as a constituent, she finds Markey’s accessibility a plus.
“When I have an issue with things, I can call up Markey,” she said. “[He] picks up the phone and listens.”