Focus on state Senate primary
In a rare endorsement for a state Democratic primary election, US Senator John Kerry has become the latest member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation to weigh in on a race to succeed state Senator Susan Fargo.
Kerry last week endorsed Joe Kearns Goodwin, an Army veteran from Concord who is one of five Democrats seeking the party’s nomination in the primary election on Sept. 6.
US Representatives Barney Frank and Michael Capuano have endorsed different Democratic candidates in the state Senate race.
“I’ve known Joe almost all of his life and I’ve seen up close the character and commitment he brings to life’s big decisions, whether it was volunteering to serve in the military or committing himself to the cause of public service when he came home,” Kerry said in an announcement on his endorsement of Kearns Goodwin. “He’s a tremendous advocate who brings courage and passion to this endeavor, and I know he’s animated by the values that really make a difference in peoples’ lives.”
Jodi Seth, communications director for Kerry, said the senator rarely endorses candidates in primary elections because of the number of friends he has in the Democratic Party, and because he respects that voters like to make up their own minds and don’t need a push from anyone.
“But in this case, he’s known Joe almost his entire life, and grew particularly close to Joe in the days after 9/11 when Joe came to him to talk about his decision to volunteer for the military,” Seth wrote in an e-mail.
Capuano, who is from Somerville, has endorsed Mara Dolan, a social worker and public defender from Concord, and Frank, who lives in Newton, has endorsed Lexington resident Michael Barrett, who was a state senator from Cambridge from 1987 to 1994, when he left the seat to run for governor and lost.
Other Democrats running for the Third Middlesex District seat are Alex Buck, a Town Meeting member from Chelmsford, and Joe Mullin, a former Weston selectman.
Greg Howes of Concord and Sandi Martinez of Chelmsford are vying for the Republican Party’s nomination.
Fargo, who lives in Lincoln, announced in February that she would not seek reelection to her Third Middlesex seat, which represents Bedford; Carlisle; Chelmsford; Concord; Lincoln; Waltham; Weston; precincts 3, 8, and 9 in Lexington; and precincts 1, 4 and 5 in Sudbury.
Frank said last week that it is rare for him to endorse a candidate in a state Senate primary, but that is how highly he thinks of Barrett.
Before Frank was elected to Congress in 1980, he served in the Massachusetts House, and during his last term served alongside Barrett, then a state representative for Reading, he said. Frank said he followed Barrett’s career in the state Senate, and was pleased to see he is running for public office again this fall.
“He was an excellent legislator,” Frank said of Barrett. “He’s a very effective advocate for progressive causes.”
Frank said he thinks the number of endorsements from the state’s congressional delegation indicates the quality of the Democratic candidates seeking the seat, which he said is not surprising.
“It’s a district that has a significant, sophisticated electorate,” Frank said.
Jon Lenicheck, a spokesman for Capuano, said the congressman has endorsed in state Senate races in the past, and he respects all of the candidates running to succeed Fargo.
“He feels strongly that Ms. Dolan is a long-time advocate in her community who will work tirelessly to represent the residents of that district,” Lenicheck said.
Brock Parker can be reached at email@example.com.