Friday September 7, 2012

The surprise in Thursday’s Demo cratic primaries for the 1st Congres sional District and Middle Berk shire register of deeds is not that Repre sentative Richard Neal and Patsy Harris won the two races respectively but that Ms. Harris won so decisively. With no Republican opposition in either race this November, they have claimed both seats.

The veteran Representative Neal dominated his home town of Springfield and populous neighboring communities and essentially ran neck and neck with Pitts field’s Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. in the Berk shire communities where Mr. Nuci foro needed to roll up votes. Mr. Nuciforo and Alford’s Bill Shein campaigned aggressively and brought important local and national issues to the foreground.

Ms. Harris, a political neophyte with a campaign largely run by friends and family, dominated the three-way race with Jody Phillips of Pittsfield and Scott Pigna telli of Lenox. Ms. Phillips, the respected former city clerk, had the backing of much of the city’s political establishment, which may have been more hindrance than help as the machine is not what it used to be. Ms. Harris’ solid performance across the middle district indicates that her experience in the Registry office and the backing she received from professional groups who work regularly with her hugely impressed voters.

The Registry office is an important one for anyone with a home or land, and its public profile is low unless there is a contested election. The campaigns of the three candidates were valuable in casting a light on the Registry.