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U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, seen here in Pittsfield last month, has won against U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III.

Markey, Neal Win Democratic Primaries

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Congressman Neal's win in the primary means he will serve another term since there is no challenger in the general election. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal have won their primaries by large margins against U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, respectively.
The progressive senator had been down in the polls earlier this summer and there had been speculation the storied Kennedy name would aid in putting the 4th Mass District representative into the Senate chamber. 
Each racked up a long list of endorsements, with the younger Kennedy getting a late boost from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi while Markey had been backed from the start by rising star U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 
But Kennedy's bid fell short, making him the first in the Massachusetts dynasty to lose a race here. 
With just under 74 precincts reporting, Markey was leading about 54 percent to 46 percent, according to the Associated Press.
Kennedy made inroads into the Berkshires, particularly North County, winning in Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Florida and Savoy, along with picking up Hinsdale and Peru. 
Markey took North Adams 1,174 to 1,065, a margin of only 109 votes. The number of votes cast was 2,485, around by early or mail-in balloting. By 1:30 p.m., the turnout was 22 percent.
In Pittsfield, Kennedy picked up only one ward out of seven, losing to Markey 5,209 to 4,460.
Several town clerks reported steady voting but no lines. 
"It has been a constant trickle. Not a raging river," said Town Clerk Christine Emerson in Cheshire, where 476 out of possible 2,455 ballots had been cast by 3 p.m.
Lanesborough had a 33 percent turnout, with 753 out of 2,302 votes being cast. Markey garnered 377 votes to Kennedy's 269.
Markey took Williamstown by a margin of 76 percent over Kennedy. In November, Markey will face Kevin O'Connor, winner of the Republican Senate primary over Shiva Ayyadura.
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal also held onto his seat in a Democratic primary battle that determined the 1st Mass District's congressman for the next two years. 
Neal, who's been in office since 1989, bested challenger Alex Morse by nearly 2-1 so far in reported totals. 
The race between the incumbent and the Holyoke mayor was marred in the last weeks by a questionable scandal around Morse that his supporters believed was tied to certain Democratic leaders trying to protect Neal. 
But there was also Neal's long career and his chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means Committee that had to be overcome.
In North Adams, Neal one four out of five wards with 1,333 votes to Morse's 900. Morse did win Ward 3 by 6 votes. 
The results weren't much different in other Berkshire towns: Clarksburg went Neal 176-120, Lanesborough 394-249 and Williamstown 1,140 to 896.
Both races split Democrats -- both mayors had joined with Markey while the district attorney strongly supported Kennedy. In Pittsfield, a majority of the Pittsfield City Council backed Morse but many local Democratic leaders lined up with Neal. 
But his Pittsfield support wasn't enough: Neal won the city 5,696 to 3,960. Morse didn't come close in any wards. 

Tags: election 2020,   primary,   

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North Adams Schools Fully Open Beginning Next Week

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — High school seniors will be returning to classrooms full time beginning next week on May 17, following the return of Grades 7 and 8 on April 28.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in March voted to give the commissioner discretion to require in-classroom instruction to count as learning time. Most elementary children returned to classrooms April 5, although some students and schools were allowed to remain remote. 
"It looks as if about 75 percent of our seventh- and eighth-grade population returned for full in person, and we are currently processing the data for the high school return," Superintendent Barbara Malkas told the School Committee last week. An earlier survey to parents got very little response so a second was issued the week before. "We really needed to make sure we had a full complement of data."
She noted that the federal government was expected to approve use of the Pfizer vaccine to ages 12 and up; those 16 and older can already receive the shot. The more members of the school community are vaccinated, she said, the less disruption in learning since vaccinated people are not required to quarantine after contact with someone who has COVID-19.  
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