Cindy Friedman captures Democratic nomination in state Senate primary election

Cindy Friedman (above) was the longtime chief of staff to state Senator Kenneth Donnelly, who died in April.
Cindy Friedman (above) was the longtime chief of staff to state Senator Kenneth Donnelly, who died in April.

A veteran Beacon Hill aide on Tuesday captured the Democratic nomination for the state Senate seat that was vacated when her boss died of brain cancer in April.

Cindy Friedman, the longtime chief of staff to the late Senator Kenneth Donnelly, clinched the party nomination for the Fourth Middlesex District seat, which represents Arlington, Billerica, Burlington, Woburn, and parts of Lexington.

The tally from all five communities was not immediately available. But her two rivals, state Representative Sean Garballey and Mary Ann Stewart, a member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, both congratulated her late Tuesday.


“I was incredibly awestruck and a little bit overwhelmed” as the results came in, Friedman said in a phone interview. “We came from absolutely no name recognition to winning and that feels really good.”

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Friedman said she plans to focus on mental health advocacy as well as “ensuring that people have a fair shot at making a good living” if she wins the general election on July 25.

Gus Bickford, chairman of the state Democratic Party, congratulated Friedman in a statement.

“Cindy Friedman has been a strong progressive champion through out her career and will continue to stand up for the working families of the Fourth Middlesex District in the Massachusetts Senate,” Bickford said.

“The people of Arlington, Billerica, Burlington, Lexington, and Woburn were fortunate to have three strong Democratic candidates running to fill the seat held for eight years by the late Senator Ken Donnelly.”


Stewart thanked her campaign volunteers and also congratulated Friedman.

“The campaign is over but I’ll continue to be an effective advocate for the people of the district and the Commonwealth,” Stewart said in a statement. “I enthusiastically support the next State Senator for the 4th Middlesex District, Cindy Friedman.”

Garballey said in a brief phone interview that he called Friedman to offer his congratulations and “let her know that I’m excited to support her in her effort to win the general election.” He also said he was “proud of the campaign we ran.”

No Republicans are currently on the ballot.

Friedman squares off against Green-Rainbow Party candidate Ian Jackson, a software engineer from Arlington, in the general contest.

Globe correspondent Felicia Gans contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.