The results of the Massachusetts Democratic primaries are in, and incumbent Congressman Richie Neal has won the seat 1st Congressional District seat held by retiring Congressman John Olver. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…
Springfield Congressman Richie Neal faced off in a three-way race for the democratic nomination against former state senator Andrea Nuciforo, Jr. of Pittsfield, and Alford writer & activist Bill Shein. With all 277 precincts in the newly drawn 1st Congressional District reporting, Neal won handily with roughly 65% of the vote.
Neal spoke to WAMC after it was affirmed by the Associated Press that he would win the democratic primary.
After the polls closed and the results were in, Neal gave a simple message to voters
Neal also mentioned that in the years ahead he would work together with Congressional republicans, referencing President Bill Clinton’s Democratic National Convention speech delivered Wednesday night.
With no announced Republican challenger, Neal is presumed to serve a 13th term representing Western Massachusetts, and first in the 1st Congressional District – the seat currently held by Representative John Olver. Olver announced earlier this year that he would be retiring, and endorsed Neal early in the race. Neal spent much of the campaign season introducing himself to new voters in Berkshire County.
Neal’s challengers, Andrea Nuciforo, Jr. and Bill Shein, received roughly 24% and 11% of the vote respectively. While Neal did very well in areas located in his former district, including huge wins in the Springfield area, in the Berkshires, he did meet some resistance. Mr. Nuciforo picked up wins in Dalton, Hinsdale, Otis, New Ashford, and his home city of Pittsfield. Nuciforo also tied Neal in Lee. Shein won Great Barrington, Sheffield, Stockbridge, Egremont, and Monterey.
Neal’s opposing candidates often criticized Neal’s campaign fundraising and acceptance of large donations, especially Bill Shein, whose campaign ran only on individual donations of $99 or less. After the results were in on Thursday evening, Shein told WAMC that although he came in third place, he believed his campaign raised important discussion topics throughout the race.
Andrea Nuciforo congratulated Congressman Neal on his win and told WAMC that he will offer his services in any way he can. He thanked his volunteers, staff, and supporters, and said he also hoped his involvement in the race will have an impact.
In the closely watched race for the Middle Berkshire District register of deeds, Patsy Harris bested Jody Phillips and Scott Pignatelli. Harris will replace Andrea Nuciforo in that position if no challengers step forward.
In the 2nd Congressional District, Congressman Jim McGovern won over William Feegbeh.