Democrats Open North County Campaign Office |
By Andy McKeever On: 11:47PM / Thursday September 27, 2012 ||
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North County Democrats celebrated the opening of a new campaign office Thursday night.
The Ashland Street office has been opened but Thursday Democratic leaders held a grand opening.
The Ashland Street office will serve as headquarters primarily for canvassers for the Elizabeth Warren campaign for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Scott Brown but will be open for any campaign.
"It'll be for whoever needs it for the Democrats," Joyce Wrend, a member of the North Adams Democrat City Committee member, said. "We really want this to be for the Northern Berkshires."
There is already a Democratic Party office in Pittsfield.
Campaign volunteers have been using homes to organize canvasses, which have already knocked on more than 3,000 doors, said Ed Sedarbaum, who is organizing canvassing efforts for Warren. Sedarbaum hopes to turn the new storefront office into a call center as well.
"This is going to be a great place to work out of," Sedarbaum said.
Outside of special organizational meeting, the office is expected to be opened for two hours in the afternoon and two hours in the evening.
North County has no races for the November election, with state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing running unopposed.
Neal recently visited the new office to thank his supporters for helping him win the primary election. His campaign donated $500 toward the office last week, with Neal saying it was important to support grass roots efforts. City Committee Chairman Greg Roach said at the time that the party existed to get Democratic politicians elected and to support Democratic policies. It was important for it to be involved at the local level, he said, whether or not there was Republican or other opposition.
The office will also make available placards, lawn signs and bumper stickers for President Barack Obama and Warren.
With Massachusetts being a notoriously blue state, the presidential race is not much of a focus locally — despite former Gov. Mitt Romney heading the Republican ticket. For Sedarbaum, the Warren election is the primary race.
Some Democratic leaders showed up early to check out the new office.
"I think she is focused, inspiring and will make a big difference," he said.
So far he has nearly 450 volunteers for the campaign and while not all of them will actually donate time, groups of up to 22 have been rallying support for Warren throughout the county since July.
That campaign has really picked up steam recently picked up with the airing of debates and increase in political advertising. Berkshire Brigade's President Lee Harrison said the turning point was at the recent debate. While Brown pulled ahead in polls prior to last week's debate, Harrison is confident that her performance there "turned the corner."
"She will be a national figure when she's elected," Harrison said.
Laugenour Preparing For At Least Three Debates |
Laugenour Campaign On: 12:29PM / Thursday September 13, 2012 ||
LENOX, Mass. — Lee Scott Laugenour said he is preparing for at least three debates with his only opponent, William "Smitty" Pignatelli, prior to the Nov. 6 election for state representative in the 4th Berkshire District.|
Larry Kratka, Donna Todd Rivers and Holly Troiano have each expressed a desire to host debate forums to help educate voters. Kratka is news director of Vox Communications, which broadcasts programming on WSBS in Great
Barrington. Rivers hosts "Berkshire Viewpoint" on WBRK in Pittsfield. Troiano is on the faculty of Berkshire Hills Regional School District as a teacher of politics who often invites public officials to speak before her classes.
The Laugenour campaign has not yet received formal invitations for 2012 debates.
Voters in the 4th Berkshire District are the only ones in Berkshire County with a choice this year for whom they elect to represent them on Beacon Hill. Incumbents in other districts have faced no party primary or general election competition.
"I applaud groups who take seriously the important task of voter education," said Laugenour, who is the Green-Rainbow Party candidate. "Even non-profit groups that cannot make actual endorsements can host candidate forums and circulate candidate questionnaires on issues of concern to them as long as all ballot-qualified candidates are offered the opportunity to participate."
Laugenour has made public the questions and answers to all candidate questionnaires that he has received.
"In preparing for these debates my opponent will know in advance all of my answers to questionnaires that were posed by advocacy groups representing a wide range of political ideologies. Neither I nor anyone else in the general public knows how my opponent answered these questions," Laugenour recently told Kratka while discussing the issue of transparency on the air.
"Transparency is good politics and so is setting the example of it to a higher bar."
Willingness to debate was the issue raised in question No. 4 of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance questionnaire, which read, "Some candidates run for public office, win, and refuse to debate their future opponents. If you are facing a challenger this election, will you publicly debate your opponent? If elected, will you pledge to publicly debate your future opponent(s) once elected?"
Answering these questions in the affirmative, Laugenour reiterated the pledge that he made in 2010, to accept all debate invitations made in good faith to all candidates appearing on the ballot.
The campaign looks forward to working with these and other sponsors who come forward. During the 2010 election, the Laugenour campaign received two debate invitations and accepted both. Rep. Pignatelli participated in only one debate with Laugenour in 2010, which was hosted by Larry Kratka and co-moderated by Clarence Fanto and Dan Valenti.
Harris Elected Middle Berkshire Register of Deeds |
By Joe Durwin On: 11:02PM / Thursday September 06, 2012 ||
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Patsy Harris will ascend to register of deeds after attaining a majority of votes in a hotly contested three-way Democratic primary election with Jody Phillips and Scott M. Pignatelli.
Patsy Harris gets a congratulatory hug at her victory party at the American Legion on Thursday night.
"Thank you for all your time," said Harris to supporters at an election night reception at the American Legion Post 68. "It all paid off."
Harris swept every one of the 12 communities that comprise the Middle Berkshire District, with the exception of Pittsfield's Ward 7A, which went to Phillips. Harris captured 60.7 percent of the vote; Phillips had 22.5 percent and Pignatelli with 16.8 percent.
Becket's numbers were reported late in the evening, but Harris received statements of concession from both opponents by around 9 p.m.
The final count was Harris with 6,663 votes; Phillips with 2,446 and Pignatelli with 1,910.
Harris, a current assistant register of deeds, was seen a clear front-runner early on in the race, but seemed to face a growing challenge from her two opponents, particularly Phillips, a former city clerk, as their campaign visibility grew over the summer.
Harris lavished praise on and thanked an enthusiastic crowd of supporters and key campaign volunteers.
"When somebody runs for office, they're really saying 'Get ready everybody, I need everything you've got for a year,'" said Harris, calling it a "great race" in which the other candidates "were wonderful as well."
"I think it was a clean race, really, I do," she added, though this was greeted by skeptical laughter by many of her supporters. Earlier this summer complaints of missing or destroyed campaign signs aroused some level of controversy, and was addressed in a variety of letters by Harris' supporters.
The newly elected register particularly credited the financial support of the "legal community, really as a whole" in funding her campaign.
"They really came through, and I'm just so grateful," said Harris.
Harris moves into the general election unopposed. She will replace current Register Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. representative.
Neal Wins Primary Battle for 1st Mass Seat |
Staff Reports On: 09:49PM / Thursday September 06, 2012 ||
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Richard Neal cruised to victory in Thursday's Democratic primary in a tepid turnout in Berkshire County.
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal will move from the 2nd Mass District to the 1st in the next Congress after winning Thursday's primary.
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.
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.
For full results, see Boston.com.
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.
United Auto Workers Endorse Laugenour in Rep Race |
Laugenour Campaign On: 03:32PM / Thursday September 06, 2012 ||
LENOX, Mass. — The Campaign for Lee Scott Laugenour for state representative for the 4th Berkshire District is pleased to announce that the United Auto Workers has endorsed his campaign. |
President of the UAW Massachusetts State Cap Council, Willie Desnoyers, specifically told Scott in a letter dated Aug. 10, 2012, that the UAW is "looking forward to working with Scott on important issues that concern Massachusetts working families. These issues include quality health care and education, along with fair wages and worker's rights."
Laugenour is honored by this endorsement. "We are working hard to bring a choice for real progressive change to voters. I stand for fair taxes and health care for all residents in the Commonwealth. Without a good education and jobs-supporting infrastructure the quality of life for the average Massachusetts resident declines. I intend to continue to stand up to business as usual. The choice for the November 6th general election will be between voting to keep things the same or voting for real progressive change. I thank the UAW for recognizing this and for supporting my candidacy."
Laugenour, a Green-Rainbow Party candidate, is running in a two-way race for the seat currently occupied by Democrat William "Smitty" Pignatelli, who is seeking re-election. The Green-Rainbow Party does not solicit or accept corporate lobbyist contributions, unlike the political parties with which current Beacon Hill incumbents affiliate.
The answers that Laugenour submitted to the UAW 2012 Candidate Questionnaire can be viewed online.
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Cheshire: Election, May 5;
Clarksburg: Election, May 27, noon to 7; town meeting, June 18
Williamstown: Election, May 13, 7-8; town meeting, May 20, 7 p.m.
The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015
You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.
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