BOSTON (AP) -- In cumbents running in redrawn congressional districts scored victories in primary elections across Massachusetts on Thursday, while a member of the Kennedy family running for public office for the first time passed his initial test at the polls with ease.
The primary elections were the first under a new political map which reflects the loss of one of the state’s 10 seats in the U.S. House due to population shifts.
Turnout was light in most areas of the state, in part due to the absence of any contested statewide races. U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, were unopposed in their respective primaries.
Freshman U.S. Rep. William Keating defeated Bristol District Attorney Sam Sutter in the primary in the 9th District, which include much of the South Shore and Cape Cod.
Keating, who also celebrated his 60th birthday on Thursday, will face the winner of the Republican primary between Christopher Sheldon, a business consultant from Plymouth, and Adam Chap rales, a former Sandwich selectmen.
U.S. Rep. James McGovern, of Worcester, the other only incumbent who faced a primary challenge, easily defeated Worcester resident William Feegbeh and does not have a Republican opponent in November.
In the one congressional district where there was no incumbent running, Joseph Kennedy III easily swept to victory in the 4th District over two little-known Democrats, setting the stage for a November contest against the Republican nominee, Sean Bielat, in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Barney Frank.
Unofficial returns showed Kennedy with more than 90 percent of the Democratic vote.
"I promise that no one will work harder than our campaign to earn every vote," Kennedy said in a statement Thursday night. "I look forward to having a real conversation over the next two months about the issues that matter to the people of the 4th."
Kennedy, 31, is the son of former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy.
Bielat, who defeated two other Republicans, is a businessman from Norfolk who ran a spirited but unsuccessful campaign against Frank two years ago. He acknowledged Kennedy’s huge fundraising advantage but said the Democrat had a "thin resume."
"For us, this is going to be very much an outreach campaign, knocking on doors," Bielat said Thursday.
The 4th District stretches from the Boston suburbs of Newton and Brookline to the southeastern Massachusetts cities of Taunton, Attleboro and part of Fall River.
Neither candidate in what could be the most hotly contested November congressional race in Massachusetts faced primary opposition on Thursday.
Incumbent Democrat John Tierney of Salem and Richard Tisei, a former state senator and the 2010 Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, have already been sparring for months in the 6th District. Many in the GOP view Tisei as the party’s best hope to capture its first U.S. House seat in Massachusetts since 1994.
In other contested Republican primaries Thursday:
n In the 3rd district, Carlisle businessman Jon Golnick earned a rematch with Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas by defeating Tom Weaver of Westford in the GOP primary. Golnick lost to Tsongas, the widow of former U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas, in 2010.
n Tom Tierney, of Framingham, won a three-way Republican primary in the 5th District and will challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, the dean of the state’s congressional delegation, in November.
n In the 8th District, Joe Selvaggi, a Boston resident, defeated Matt Temperley of Quincy for the Republican nomination to face Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep Stephen Lynch.