Staff Reports On: 09:49PM / Thursday September 06, 2012
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal will move from the 2nd Mass District to the 1st in the next Congress after winning Thursday's primary.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Richard Neal cruised to victory in Thursday's Democratic primary in a tepid turnout in Berkshire County.
By 9:30 p.m., Neal was outpolling his opponents 3-1 with fewer than 100 precincts left to report in the race for the 1st Massachusetts District. With no opponent in sight for the November election, Neal is the representative for the newly redrawn congressional district.
The writing was on the wall early on as the veteran 2nd District congressman began pulling away from the Berkshires' two candidates — Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. and Bill Shein — when the results began coming shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m.
Both Nuciforo and Shein campaigned heavily in Neal's Springfield base, hoping to pull some votes there way but they failed to make significant inroads against the 10-term congressman.
Neal, who was endorsed by retiring U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, did as well as expected in Springfield, taking 9,883 to Nuciforo's 1,553 and Shein's 394. But he also did well in the Berkshires, easily outpolling both men on their home turf.
Only in Great Barrington South County was there a significant reversal. Shein, who was consistently trailing in third in many places, took Great Barrington by 613, outpolling Neal at 203 and Nuciforo at 124. He also won Monterey, Mount Washington, Stockbridge and his hometown of Alford (71 to Neal's 13 and Nuciforo's 11).
Nuciforo, who'd been planning his run since 2008, surpassed Neal in Dalton (483-379) and Hinsdale (150-111) and tied him in Lee at 297. He also won in Otis and New Ashford.
By 7:30, a half-hour before the polls closed in Clarksburg, only 129 of town's more than 1,100 voters had cast ballots. One of the election workers described the day as "steady slow."
Clarksburg voters cast 116 ballots in the Democratic primary, giving Neal 53 votes, Nuciforo 46 and Shein 11. Thirteen Republican primary ballots were cast, giving Michael F. Case nine votes and Michael Franco three votes in the Governer's Council race. Results for the Governer's Council on the Democratic side were Michael Albano 46, Gerry Roy 8 and Kevin Sullivan 42.
In Williamstown, the turnout was better at 22 percent but Town Clerk Mary Kennedy had forecast around 1,200 ballots being cast. The final number was 844.
"I thought we would at least break 1,000," she said.
Neal took Williamstown with 318 votes, 100 more than Nuciforo, a former state senator from Pittsfield. Shein, of Alford, polled 243.
Williamstown, not surprisingly, went blue with 791 votes in the Democratic primary and 49 in the Republican. One ballot was also cast in the Green-Rainbow primary, which had no races.
North Adams also went Neal with 366 votes, Nuciforo with 282 and Shein with 181. Only about 10 percent of registered voters turned out, with 872 out of 8,724 casting ballots.
Election Warden Ronald O'Brien said the low turnout at North Adams was expected but not by this much.
"There really isn't a big race for North Adams," O'Brien said.
Both he and City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau spoke highly of the city's election workers.
"I think voters should be very appreciative of the election workers of the city," Gomeau said. "They should be commended."
In the 8th District Governer's Council race, Michael Albano was holding a slim lead over Kevin Sullivan in the Democratic primary, with Gerry Roy a distant third. On the Republican side, Michael Franco was leading Michael Case by several hundreds votes with 15 precincts yet to report.
Updated Friday, Sept. 7, to note Shein's better showing in South County and that Michael Albano and Michael Franco will face off for the Governor's Council seat in November.Final unofficial numbers were Neal at 40,165 votes (65 percent); Nuciforo at 15,123 (25 percent) and Shein at 6,048 (10 percent) per Boston.com.
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The state is holding a special election to fill the seat vacated by John F. Kerry, who has been confirmed as U.S. secretary of state.
The state primary is Tuesday, April 30. The last day to register to vote or to change party affiliation for the primary is Wednesday, April 10. Enrolled voters may only vote in their party primary; unenrolled voters may select a primary to vote in without changing their status.
The special election is scheduled for Tuesday, June 25. The last day to register to vote in the election is Wednesday, June 5.
To register to vote, one must be at least age 18 by the date of the election, a U.S. citizen and a resident of the municipality in which you are voting.