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Candidates for Fargo's state Senate seat at odds over campaign claims

Posted by Brock Parker  September 4, 2012 05:06 PM

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With only days until the election, charges are flying between two candidates running for Susan Fargo's state Senate seat over claims in last-minute campaign mailings.

Senate candidate Mike Barrett is firing back at what he called “misleading claims” about his record made by fellow challenger Joe Kearns Goodwin’s campaign literature.

But Kearns Goodwin’s campaign said Tuesday that it is just presenting the facts and there is nothing misleading in the Concord Democrat's campaign literature.

The candidates are two of the five Democrats who will square off in the Democratic primary for the Third Middlesex District state senate seat this Thursday, Sept. 6.

Barrett, a Democrat from Lexington, has taken exception to a mailing sent out by Kearns Goodwin days before the Democratic Primary election urging voters to consider Barrett’s record, including a history of accepting campaign contributions from political action committees during years he spent as a state representative and state senator.

The Kearns Goodwin campaign literature also said Barrett ran as the most conservative Democrat for governor in 1994 and was called a “Republi-crat” in his failed bid for that office.

But in a letter to voters, Barrett said Kearns Goodwin “sent out misleading claims,” about his record in the legislature.

“Criticize an opponent maybe, but I have been careful about the way I use information,” Barrett said. “I had hoped to be treated the same way by others.”

Three other candidates, Alex Buck, of Chelmsford, Mara Dolan, of Concord, and Joe Mullin of Weston, are also running for state Senate seat. Republicans Sandi Martinez, of Chelmsford, and Greg Howes of Concord, are seeking their party’s nomination for the seat.

Responding to Kearn Goodwin’s claims, Barrett said he only accepted campaign contributions from labor union political action committees in the 1980s and 1990s when he was first a state representative for Reading and then a state senator out of Cambridge.

Barrett said he is not accepting any money from political action committees and lobbyists in his present campaign because of his opposition to the growing influence of money in politics.

Kearns Goodwin’s campaign literature also said Barrett supported federal trade policies that resulted in the outsourcing of thousands of Massachusetts manufacturing jobs and led to his last place finish in his race for governor.

Barrett said that during his 1994 campaign for governor he supported the North American Free Trade Agreement because he supported former president Bill Clinton, who argued that freer trade with Mexico would alleviate poverty in a southern neighbor and fuel demand for American goods.

Barrett said late US Senator Ted Kennedy also supported the trade agreement.
“This did not make me a conservative candidate for Governor or a “Republi-crat,” any more than it made Ted Kennedy a conservative candidate,” Barrett’s letter stated.

Kearns Goodwin’s campaign manager Cayce McCabe said Tuesday that the statements on the campaign literature were facts and are part of Barrett’s record.

“Joe stands by his record and I think that Mr. Barrett should stand by his,” the Kearns Goodwin campaign manager said.

Brock Parker can be reached at

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