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The Boston Globe



With unopposed races, Mass. shortchanges democracy

It doesn’t speak well of Massachusetts, which likes to think of itself as the cradle of American democracy, that more than half of the state’s lawmakers will be elected to new terms by margins of victory even greater than the 88.7 percent that Bashar Assad claimed in Syria’s recent presidential election.

Five of the Bay State’s nine US representatives — Richard Neal, James McGovern, Joseph Kennedy, Michael Capuano, and Stephen Lynch, all Democrats — are running unopposed in this fall’s midterm contests, with no challengers in either the primary or general election. A similar ratio applies in the state Senate, where 20 of the 40 incumbents face no opponent, Republican or Democratic. The lack of competition is just as glaring in the state House of Representatives, where more than 80 candidates (out of a total of 160) face no opponent at all, and barely a dozen are being challenged for renomination within their own party.

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