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Mass. Democrats on track to cancel May state convention

Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman Gus Bickford is moving to cancel the state party convention in May.
Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman Gus Bickford is moving to cancel the state party convention in May.The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

The chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party is moving to cancel its upcoming convention in response to the continued threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak.

“While it is unfortunate that the current circumstances do not allow for our annual gathering of Democrats, this is the right decision for the Party to make,” said Gus Bickford, the party chairman, in a statement announcing his decision to ask the party’s state committee to cancel the convention scheduled for May 30.

“Our duty to protect one another, to protect our friends, family, neighbors and strangers, requires that we all make changes to the way we live.”

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The decision is supported by the two candidates facing off in a high-profile primary for US Senate, incumbent Senator Edward J. Markey and Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III. The two men were vying for the nomination at the convention, and each needed at least 15 percent support among the elected delegates to qualify for the ballot.

“The Massachusetts Democratic Party has been responsive and responsible in each of its decisions during this difficult time, prioritizing the protection of the health and safety of all involved. On behalf of the Markey and Kennedy campaigns, we support the solution that the party has proposed," campaign managers for Markey and Kennedy said in a joint statement.

Kennedy and Markey agreed that Markey, who enjoys strong support among the party activists who make up the majority of delegates, would win the convention and that Kennedy would qualify for the ballot, the party said.

Bickford will make his recommendation to the Democratic State Committee, which will meet virtually on April 4 and vote on the request.

The party said that if the state committee adopts its recommendation, the 102 local causes that were postponed earlier in March because of the coronavirus outbreak would be cancelled.

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Victoria McGrane can be reached at victoria.mcgrane@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @vgmac.