Tuesday’s special primary elections for the Democratic and Republican nominations for the US Senate are only the latest events in an unusually active political period in Massachusetts. The special election to fill the seat of Edward M. Kennedy, who died in 2009, was the first hotly contested Senate race in Massachusetts in years, and was followed by another bruising campaign for the same seat in 2012. The other Senate seat opened up soon afterward, when John Kerry was named US secretary of state. Massachusetts voters were said to be weary even before the Marathon bombings April 15. Since then, the five candidates running for US Senate have struggled even more to get their message across, and on Monday Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin predicted lower turnout than in the 2009 Senate primaries.
Even so, it’s vital that voters statewide head to the polls Tuesday — and that voters in the First Suffolk Senate District turn out for a special Democratic primary election there, too. The candidates in these races differ significantly in style, experience, and priorities. Voters would be wise to make their voices heard now; once in office, incumbent lawmakers in Massachusetts seldom face stiff opposition. Moreover, elected officeholders benefit from a broader mandate than squeaking through a low-turnout election solely by turning out their political base.