Special Election: Donahue Wins Massachusetts 16th District Seat
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
The 26-year-old Donahue will take over the Massachusetts House seat vacated by Democrat John P. Fresolo, who resigned earlier this summer amid a House Ethics Committee investigation.
Donahue brings a political background to elected office, having worked with former Lt. Governor (and current head of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce) Tim Murray as well as on staff of Worcester Mayor Joe Petty.
GoLocalWorcester spoke with political experts for perspective on tonight's result.
Paul Giorgio, Member of the Democratic State Committee, Executive Committee
What does tonight's result tell us? I think it's a shift in the district. It's much more progressive than people thought. The make-up of that district has also changed in terms of ethnicity. When I grew up just across the street from that district, in Grafton Hill, it was an Italian American, French-American, Irish-American, Polish-American. Now it's a district made up of new immigrants—voters from Ghana, Vietnam. I think that Dan [Donahue] is going to be a extraordinary state representative, and he will be tireless in advocacy for the people in the district's neighborhoods.
What is Carol Claros's takeaway? It's not a Republican district. She ran against government, she ran against poor people, I don't think there's any takeaway for her. Where does she go? This is a Ron Paul Republican. Is she done? That's the great thing about American politics--no one is never done.
Robert Eno, Red Mass Group
Carol ran a phenomenal campaign, againt the odds and the machine. Twitter today was filled with pictures of left wing groups out in full force for Donahue. Machine politics is alive and well. It would take a finish in the mid 30s for a Republican to win the Senate Seat this district encompasses. Carol did that and built an organization. The person who should be very scared this evening is State Senator Michael Moore.
David LeBoeuf, Ward 6 Chair, Worcester Democratic City Committee and Democratic State Committee member
This is a well-deserved victory after a hard fought campaign. The end of this race marks a new chapter in the direction of this district a new conversations about what really matters in our community. Congrats to Dan and congratulations to the entire district.
David Schaefer, Professor of Political Science, College of the Holy Cross
There were no surprises in the special election for representative in the 16th Worcester district, with Democrat Dan Donahue swamping Republican Carol Claros by 1,606 to 910, or 63.38% to 35.9% of the vote. The overall turnout of just over 2,500 (out of 21,465 registered voters) was substantially below the turnout of 3,244 in the Democratic primary, doubtless reflecting voters' belief that victory in the primary in this heavily Democratic district was tantamount to victory in the general election - as well as a general lack of voter interest in a special election for a single legislative seat.
As the former assistant chief of staff to Worcester Mayor Joe Petty, and as the son of the head of the local carpenters' union (which pushed heavily for Worcester's unconstitutional "Responsible Employer Ordinance," designed to exclude nonunion contractors from bidding on public construction projects), Dan Donohue can be expected to support conventional Democratic party policies in the legislature. Ms. Claros at least deserves recognition for making an effort against long odds, thus contributing to preserving at least the forms of a two-party system in the Commonwealth.
Martha “Marty” Walz, president of Planned Parentood Advocacy Fund of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts, released the following statement:
I am proud to congratulate Dan Donahue on his successful bid to become State Representative. Mr. Donahue understands that we must expand access to comprehensive sexuality education and invest in essential programs like family planning that save money over time and protect the health of women, men and young people. Given Worcester’s rising teen birth rate, which is a leading cause of high school dropout, it is especially important that the district is represented by someone who will support policies and programs aimed at preventing unintended pregnancy and empowering young people to make healthy decisions.
The election of Donahue, who supports women’s access to a full range of health care options, is a particularly important victory since former State Representative John Fresolo opposed access to safe, legal abortion. Donahue will help advance the health of women and young people in our state.
The State House has been stagnant on bills championed by women’s health advocates since 2007, when the buffer zone legislation was passed. This legislative session, An Act Relative to Healthy Youth is enjoying strong community support and we are hopeful that new State House champions like Dan Donahue will strengthen momentum so that we can expand access to comprehensive sexuality education in Massachusetts public schools.
PPAF endorsed Dan Donahue for State Representative after Donahue won a five-way Democratic primary on August 13. The 16th Worcester District, which covers portions of the city of Worcester, was previously represented by John Fresolo, who resigned from the House of Representatives earlier this year after facing an ethics investigation. In the general election, Dan Donahue defeated Republican Carol Claros, who opposes access to safe, legal abortion.
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