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Western Massachusetts primary, general elections taking shape

A polling location with a sign reading vote here.
File photo
A polling location with a sign reading vote here.

The Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office has released an unofficial list of candidates for the state primary and general elections.

The deadline for challenges to be filed over a candidate’s eligibility or to withdraw from a race is 5 p.m. on Friday.

Primary election day in Massachusetts is Sept. 6 with the general election Nov. 8.

Berkshire County

State Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, Massachusetts.
Kevin Gutting
Daily Hampshire Gazette /
State Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, Massachusetts.

There’s an open seat for the Berkshire-centric state Senate district currently held by Adam Hinds, who isn’t seeking re-election after a failed bid for lieutenant governor. State Rep. Paul Mark, of Peru, is running for the seat since his current House district is being eliminated due to redistricting. He is due to face Huff Templeton III in the Democratic primary. Unenrolled candidate Brendan Phair is due to face the winner of that contest.

Elsewhere in Berkshire County, incumbent North Adams state Rep. John Barrett is facing a primary challenge from fellow Democrat Paula Kingsbury-Evans in the 1st Berkshire District. Meanwhile, in the 3rd Berkshire District, Democrat Smitty Pignatelli, of Lenox, is unopposed in the primary, but will face a challenge in November from unenrolled candidate and current Becket Select Board member Michael Lavery.

Franklin County

 State Rep. Susannah Whipps is an unenrolled candidate from Athol, Massachusetts.
File photo / The Recorder /
The Recorder /
State Rep. Susannah Whipps, I-Athol, Massachusetts.

In Franklin County, there’s a three-way race in the 2nd House District. Incumbent Susannah Whipps, a former Republican who is now unenrolled, will face a November challenge from Republican Jeffrey Raymond, a retired firefighter, and unenrolled candidate Kevin McKeown.

Hampden County

State Sen. Eric Lesser, from Longmeadow, Mass.
Nik Nadeau
Creative Commons
State Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow, Massachusetts.

Hampden County features an open state Senate seat, after Longmeadow Democrat Eric Lesser opted to run for lieutenant governor instead. Current state Rep. Jake Oliveira, of Ludlow, will face former congressional aide Sydney Levin-Epstein in the Democratic primary. There will also be a Republican primary between Attorney John Harding and business owner William Johnson. The winners will oppose each other in November.

One incumbent state senator from Hampden County, Democrat John Velis, of Westfield, is being challenged. His opponent is Agawam City Councilor Cecilia Calabrese, a Republican.

Oliveira’s Senate run opened up his House seat in the 7th Hampden District. Republican James “Chip” Harrington, who narrowly lost to Oliveira two years ago, will take on Democrat Aaron Saunders, a business owner, for the seat in November.

Another open House seat is in the 8th District after longtime state Rep. Joe Wagner, of Chicopee, decided not to run for another term. Chicopee City Councilor Joel McAuliffe will face educator Shirley Arriaga in the Democratic primary. The winner will face unenrolled candidate Sean Goonan in November.

Two Hampden County state representatives are being challenged. In the 3rd Hampden District, Republican incumbent Nick Boldyga, of Southwick, is opposed by Democrat Anthony Russo. In the 11th Hampden District, Democrat Bud Williams is challenged by Jynai McDonald in the primary.

Several legislators from Hampden and Hampden counties are running unopposed this year.

Governor's Council

Governor's Councilor Mary Hurley speaks at a council assembly on Feb. 16, 2022, about her reasoning behind voting for a pair of commutations. Hurley is not seeking another term in the 2022 election.
Sam Doran
Governor's Councilor Mary Hurley speaks at a council assembly on Feb. 16, 2022, about her reasoning behind voting for a pair of commutations.

Beyond the Legislature, one race with a relatively large field of candidates is the western Massachusetts seat on the Governor's Council, which confirms judicial appointments.

The region's incumbent councilor, Mary Hurley, is not running for reelection. There will be a four-way primary between three attorneys — Shawn Allyn, Jeffrey Morneau and Springfield City Councilor Michael Fenton — and North Adams School Committee member Tara Jacobs. The winner will face Republican John Comerford in the general election.

District attorney and sheriff races

Andrea Harrington.
Nancy Cohen
Andrea Harrington is the district attorney in Berkshire County.

Across western Massachusetts, two incumbent sheriffs are being opposed. Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas Bowler has a Democratic primary challenge from Alf Barbalunga, the chief probation officer for the Southern Berkshire District.

In Hampshire County, Sheriff Patrick Cahillane, a Democrat, has two primary rivals. They are Yvonne Gittelson, the corrections program specialist for the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Caitlin Sepeda, a nurse with a background working in correctional facilities.

There is also one contested district attorney race in the area. Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington has a challenge from Attorney Timothy Shugrue.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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