Berkshire lawmakers have had winning streaks, unopposed runs in past
Since the 1970s, the Berkshire legislative districts have seen electoral winning streaks and a number of uncontested races.
Today, the trend is toward fewer and fewer challenges, no matter how established an incumbent might be. This could mean the county now has the equivalent of the 1960s Celtics representing it in Boston, but the voters will have to determine that over time.
Notable Berkshire streaks over the past five-plus decades include the following:
Republican John H. Fitzpatrick of Stockbridge won tough general election races in 1974, 1976 and 1978 in the Berkshire Senate district, then gave his endorsement to his aide, Peter C. Webber of Pittsfield, who defeated Democratic candidates for the Senate post in 1980, ‘82 and ‘84, and ran unopposed in 1986 and ‘88.
Webber then handed his support to his office aide, Jane M. Swift of North Adams, who served in the Senate from 1990-96 before stepping down. She later became lieutenant governor and acting governor of the state.
Democratic Sen. Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. was elected to terms from 1996 to 2004, twice unopposed. His father, Andrea F. Nuciforo Sr., also served as senator from Berkshire County, during the 1970s.
Current Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, of Pittsfield, is heading into his fourth unopposed race.
In the 1st Berkshire District, Rep. Daniel E. Bosley, of North Adams, served from 1986-2010 and was elected eight times without opposition.
In the 2nd District, Republican Shaun P. Kelly, of Dalton, ran for terms from 1990 through 2004, twice unopposed. And Sherwood Guernsey, of Williamstown, won a special election in 1983 and elections in 1984, ‘86, and ‘88, once running unopposed.
In the 3rd District, Democrat Peter J. Larkin, of Pittsfield, won eight elections beginning in 1990, five of those unopposed.
In the 4th District, Democrat Christopher J. Hodgkins, of Lee, won elections every two years from 1982-2000, six of those unopposed, before stepping down. He was succeeded by William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox, who now is finishing his sixth term.
Dennis Duffin, D-Lenox, was elected to terms from 1970-1980, twice unopposed.
More information on legislative and other races may be found on the Secretary of State’s website, at www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleidx.htm.
Note: Berkshire House districts were reduced from six to four in 1978 when the House of Representatives was reduced from 240 to 160 members, and district boundaries in both the House and Senate districts have shifted with population changes and redistricting over time.
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