Voters in several cities and towns throughout the region go to the polls Thursday to select party nominees in several state legislative races, including contests to replace veteran lawmakers.
In the Third Middlesex state Senate race, five Democrats and two Republicans are vying to replace Senator Susan Fargo, who has represented the district for eight terms.
Fargo recently endorsed Concord Democrat Joe Kearns Goodwin. But the race between Kearns Goodwin, Mike Barrett of Lexington, Alex Buck of Chelmsford, Mara Dolan of Concord and Joe Mullin of Weston, has drawn some national-level attention.
Kearns Goodwin has the support of US Senator John Kerry, Barrett is backed by US Representative Barney Frank and Dolan was endorsed by US Representative Michael Capuano. On the Republican side, Greg Howes of Concord and Sandi Martinez of Chelmsford are facing off for their party’s nomination.
The district represents Bedford; Carlisle; Chelmsford; Concord; Lincoln; Waltham; Weston; and parts of Lexington and Sudbury.
In the 24th Middlesex District House race, three Democrats are seeking a chance to face-off against Republican candidate Tommasina Anne Olson in November. The state representative seat has been vacant since incumbent William Brownsberger stepped down earlier this year after being elected to state Senate.
The Democrats include Margaret A. Hegarty, Robert Paul Reardon Jr. and David M. Rogers. The candidates say that funding for education and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority are the most important issues facing their district, which includes Belmont and parts of Arlington and Cambridge.
Elsewhere in the region, state Republicans are hoping that Thursday’s primary will set them up to pick up two Democrat-held districts, the First Essex Senate and Second Essex House seats.
Among the GOP contenders for the First Essex Senate seat – which was held by Methuen Democrat Steven A. Baddour until he resigned in April – are Sam S. Meas of Haverhill, who lost a 2010 special election for a congressional seat, and Shaun P. Toohey, a Haverhill School Committee member.
Toohey enjoys name recognition as an elected official in Haverhill, and Meas has been an active community volunteer. Toohey may benefit from the support of his father-in-law, Haverhill City Councilor and former mayor William H. Ryan.
In the district’s Democratic primary, three candidates are fighting for the party nomination. They include, former three-term Methuen mayor mayor William M. Manzi III, former three-term Newburyport city councilor at large Kathleen A. O’Connor Ives; and Timothy J. Coco, a business owner from Haverhill. The primary winners will vie in the final election with two unenrolled candidates, Amesbury City Councilor James M. Kelcourse and Haverhill School Committee member Paul A. Magliocchetti.
State GOP officials also like their chances at taking the the Second Essex District House seat. Three Republicans, Bob Cronin of Boxford, Georgetown Selectman Gary C. Fowler, and Lenny Mirra of West Newbury, are contending in the primary. Harriett L. Stanley, a West Newbury Democrat, is retiring after eight terms as a legislator for the district.
The winner of the Republican primary will match up against West Newbury Democrat Barry P. Fogel in November.
The Second Essex District state Senate seat of retiring Peabody Democrat Frederick E. Berry is likely to remain in his party’s control and has sparked a spirited nominating contest between four candidates.
The Democratic primary features well-known political figures: Joan B. Lovely of Salem, and Mary-Ellen Manning and John P. Slattery, both of Peabody. Lovely is an eight-term member and current president of the Salem City Council. Manning is a six-term governor’s councilor. Slattery is a former four-term state representative and city councilor who has lost bids for lieutenant governor and mayor.
The three are vying in the Democratic primary with former governor’s councilor Edward J. Carroll of Salem. Richard A. Jolitz of Beverly, who lost to Berry two years ago, is unopposed in the GOP primary.
Voters in the 10th Norfolk District, representing Franklin and part of Medway, will pick the Democrat and Republican nominees for a House seat, with both parties holding nominating contests Thursday.
On the Democratic side, two lawyers, Peter E. Padula and Jeffrey N. Roy, are seeking an opportunity to get on the November ballot.
The GOP contest features John S. Jewell, a quality manager at a healthcare firm and member of the Franklin School Committee, Richard Eustis, who has a private law practice and C. Stolle Singleton, who left a position as a policy adviser for the state’s House Republican Caucus, to run full time.
In the Fourth Middlesex District, two Democrats are vying for a chance to face incumbent Republican Representative Steven L. Levy in November.
Joseph Paul Richard Collins Sr., who works in the finance department at a Boston law firm, and Danielle Gregoire, a lawyer, are seeking the Democratic nomination. Gregoire is hoping for a rematch with Levy, since she lost to him in 2010 by 100 votes. The district represents most of Marlborough and parts of Northborough and Westborough.
It is unclear what turnout might be for the unusual Thursday primary election. The state shifted the election from the usual Tuesday so that it would not conflict with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana.
Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org