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Berkshire Congressional Candidates On Campaign Trail
By Joe Durwin On: 09:36PM / Monday February 06, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire County's two Democratic challengers to Springfield incumbent U.S. Rep. Richard Neal are diving actively into the 2012 contest for the newly redrawn 1st Massachusetts District.

Pittsfield's Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. and Alford's Bill Shein have both been keeping busy as they launch efforts to raise their profile around Western Massachusett's newly redrawn district of 82 towns and cities.

Shein, a writer, humorist and seasoned campaign veteran, has made public and media appearances in North Adams, Westfield, Springfield, Pittsfield and Great Barrington in the past week.

Nuciforo, a former state senator, whose intent to run has been commonly known since 2009, will finally formally announce candidacy this week, according to his campaign. The current Central Berkshire register of deeds has invited supporters and press to a bus tour series of press conferences in Holyoke, Southbridge, Easthampton, Charlemont and Pittsfield this Wednesday.

Campaign Sites
Rep. Richard Neal   (Not updated)

Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr.

Bill Shein
According to an email appeal from his campaign Friday, Nuciforo hoped to raise an additional $15,000 in small donations in advance of Wednesday's bus tour. The Pittsfield native had $155,256 in funds at the end of September, according to the most recent data available from the Federal Election Commission.

Neal, by contrast, entered 2012 with a war chest of some $2.45 million, according to a report in The Republican.

Campaign funding has been one of the dominant issues in the race thus far. At a rally in Pittsfield last month, Nuciforo decried "corporate domination" and the "Washington status quo," in comments indirectly aimed at the 12-term congressman from Springfield. In a Jan. 18 statement, the candidate called for an end to Super PACs and adoption of public election funding.

Shein, however, suggests that both of his opponents will have a hard time claiming independence from corporate influence in this year's race.

The political activist points out that while a state senator, Nuciforo voted to repeal the Massachusetts' Clean Elections law, and received significant funding from PACs and lobbyists

"I'm thrilled that he's finally getting on board with getting the corporate money out of our democracy," Shein told iBerkshires, then described Nuciforo's anti-PAC statement as an one "early victory" for his campaign, coming just the day following Shein announcing his run.

As part of his platform, Shein has said he will not accept campaign contributions greater than $99.

For his part, Neal keeps insisting he's not thinking about the politics of this year's election (he hasn't updated his campaign site), though he has been engaging in a whirlwind schedule of exploratory visits outside of his current 2nd Mass district to some of the Western Massachusetts towns with which his native Springfield will be joined in 2013. While reticent to talk campaigning issues, Neal has stated on several occasions that his financial contributions do not influence his vote on issues in the House.

The Democratic nominee will be decided in a Sept. 6 party primary held on the unusual day of Thursday.


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Where to vote in Berkshire County

Town Elections
& Meetings

Adams:

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.

 
Municipal Elections

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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