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Most Beacon Hill incumbents from Western Massachusetts are running unopposed

Most candidates for Western Massachusetts state legislature seats are running unopposed in this year's election, but there are a handful of contested races.

The deadline to submit candidacies for the elections was Tuesday. The Secretary of State's office released a provisional list of candidates on Wednesday.

There is a competitive Senate race in the Hampden District. Two-term incumbent Adam Gomez is being challenged by current Springfield City Councilman Malo Brown. The Democrats will face off in the September primary.

Meanwhile, Republican Kelly Pease, who is seeking a third term, is facing opposition in the House from Democrat Bridget Matthews-Kane, a city councilor from Westfield.

In Springfield, Democratic incumbent Bud Williams faces a primary election against Johnnie McKnight, a former mayoral candidate.

And in the third Franklin District, veteran state Rep. Susannah Whipps of Athol, who is unregistered to vote, will face Republican Jeffrey Raymond in a rematch of the race from two years ago. Whipps defeated Raymond 63% to 31%. Raymond is also from Athol.

There are now two seats in the state House of Representatives that need to be filled, but only one of them is currently contested.

In the second Hampshire district, which includes Easthampton, South Hadley and Hadley, incumbent Dan Carey is not running for re-election. Instead, he is running for the position of clerk of court.

Only one candidate has entered the race to replace Carey in the House: Democratic Easthampton City Councilman Homar Gomez. It is possible that a candidate could make it onto the ballot.

Meanwhile, in Berkshire's Third District, which includes the southern and central parts of the county, three Democrats are running to replace outgoing State Representative Smitty Pignatelli. They are Leigh Davis, a member of the Great Barrington Special Board, and two members of the Stockbridge Special Board: Jamie Minacci and Patrick White. They will face off in the September primary election.

A fourth candidate, Marybeth Mitts, who is not on the voter roll and is a member of the Lenox Select Board, would face the winner in November.

According to the Foreign Ministry, candidates have until Friday to withdraw their candidacy. Any objections to a person's eligibility must also be submitted by then. In all parliamentary elections, candidates who are not elected to the legislature can still start campaigns.

Across Massachusetts, all 160 seats in the House of Representatives and 40 seats in the Senate are up for election every two years. This time, voters have more than one choice in only 54 House districts and 14 Senate districts.

The lack of competition virtually guarantees that most incumbent representatives seeking another term will stroll back into office. This election cycle, there are 104 incumbent state representatives and 26 incumbent state senators without a declared challenger. That's an increase from the 92 representatives and 16 senators who were the only candidates on the ballot in their districts in 2022.

This report uses material from the State House News Service.

Anna Harden

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