By Cary Shuman
Beacon Hill residents will head to the polls Tuesday (March 1) to cast their ballots in the Massachusetts Presidential Primary.
Massachusetts joins 11 other states in Super Tuesday voting, following up on the excitement generated by caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.
Locally the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee led by Chair Ross Levanto, has endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary. Clinton recorded a big win over Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucuses Saturday. In 2008 Clinton won the Mass. Presidential Primary with 56 percent of the vote, defeating then U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, who received 40 percent.
“We’ve endorsed Hillary Clinton and we’re joining forces with Mayor Walsh’s team canvassing the Beacon Hill neighborhood in support of her candidacy,” said Levanto. “Members of our committee will be participating in those canvases alongside the Mayor’s team.”
Levanto anticipates a large turnout among Beacon Hill Democrats for the primary.
“Because of what happened in the New Hampshire Primary and its proximity to Massachusetts and also because of the timing of the Massachusetts Primary on the calendar, voters here realize that this primary matters,” said Levanto. “I do expect a high turnout.”
The Ward 5 Committee, which has been very active lately, elected 20 delegates (10 men and 10 women) Saturday for the State Democratic Convention June 4 in Lowell. Last week, the Ward 5 Committee endorsed Beacon Hill’s State Rep. Jay Livingstone in the First Suffolk and Middlesex State Senate race.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump has emerged as the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination following wins in the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries. Presidential candidate Jeb Bush suspended his campaign following his fourth-place finish Saturday in the South Carolina Primary.
Brad Marston, former chair of the Boston Ward 5 Republican Committee and a professional political consultant, said the Ward 5 Committee as a whole is not working for a specific candidate in the State Presidential Primary but individual members are involved in different campaigns.
Marston himself is the Suffolk County chair for the Ted Cruz for President Campaign. “We have been going door to door but not on Beacon Hill,” said Marston. “There are other areas in the state that have a stronger Republican presence so we’ve been meeting up with other groups to campaign and make phone calls in those areas.”
Marston does not expect a large turnout among Beacon Hill Republicans for the primary.
“Donald Trump has been driving turnout – in Iowa, there was a record turnout, in New Hampshire, there was a record turnout, in South Carolina there was a record turnout. But I don’t see Beacon Hill as an area where there would be a Republican electorate that would support Donald Trump. I don’t think he will do well in Beacon Hill so I’m not expecting a high turnout from Republicans.”
Races for Democratic and Republican State Committee seats in the First Suffolk and Middlesex District will also be on the March 1 ballot. Tino Capobianco and Gabriela Coletta are running opposed for the Democratic State Committeeman and Committeewoman seats respectively. Paul J. Ronukaitis is unopposed for the Republican State Committeeman seat. Joyce Kelly is seeking re-election as Republican State Committeewoman for the district while Laura Rigas is also a candidate for the position.
David Kazis announced in last week’s Beacon Hill Times that he will be a candidate for Democratic State Committeeman in the Second Suffolk and Middlesex Senatorial District.