It doesn't seem like Election Day, as the campaign for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry coasted under the radar for weeks before being overwhelmed by the Boston Marathon bombings. Every Senate race is important, however, and the first of two steps to choose a new senator comes today with the Democratic and Republican primaries.
After a U.S. Senate campaign between Republican incumbent Scott Brown and Democratic challenger and newly elected senator Elizabeth Warren that went on for more than a year, voters understandably didn't have much enthusiasm for yet another Senate race, a race that in its three months didn't give the candidates much opportunity to make their case. Ready or not, however, the polls are open.
The Democratic race pits two veteran U.S. congressmen, Edward Markey of Malden, a liberal, and the moderate to conservative Stephen Lynch of South Boston. Three Republicans are vying for their party's nod: Former prosecutor and ATF acting Director Michael Sullivan, state Representative Daniel Winslow, and political newcomer Gabriel Gomez, a private equity investor and former Navy SEAL. Today's winners will square off in the June 25 general election.
Secretary of State William Galvin seems resigned to a low turnout, but perhaps Berkshire County can buck conventional wisdom. The election of town officers in Dalton, Lee, Hancock, Richmond, Lenox and Williamstown, which wisely piggy-backed those elections with the primaries, may boost attendance in those communities.
From the Senate primaries to the town and city votes, this Election Day matters. Democracy relies upon participation.