The odd timing — one day after Memorial Day — of the May 28 Democratic primary to fill the state representative vacancy in the 8th Suffolk district practically assures a marginal turnout. But voters in the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and parts of Cambridge can choose between two substantive candidates: attorney Jay Livingstone and Joshua Dawson, a former legislative aide who also served as the executive director of state Treasurer Steve Grossman’s campaign committee.
The candidates have similar positions on many major issues. Each has committed time to local civic organizations and worked diligently on behalf of the Democratic Party. But their political styles are a study in contrasts. Dawson, 30, is a strategic thinker who speaks broadly of the need to create an environment that encourages young innovators to stay in the city and raise their families. The Ohio native speaks of arriving in Boston in 2005 with just a few dollars in his pocket. By force of personality, he worked his way quickly into the political establishment on Beacon Hill. Livingstone, 39, is analytical and process-oriented, serving as clerk of the zoning committee for Beacon Hill Civic Association. The North Attleborough native vows to make sure residents’ concerns are fully met before green-lighting development projects.