WORCESTER — The state senator representing Berkshire County lost his bid this weekend to win to right to compete for the post of lieutenant governor.
State Sen. Adam Hinds’ campaign for lieutenant governor began last October in Pittsfield, but it ended over the weekend in Worcester.
Sen. Hinds received 12.4 percent of the delegate vote at the Democrats’ state convention, falling just short of the 15 percent needed to secure a spot on the ballot for September’s primary.
In the race to see who will win the No. 2 seat in the state’s executive branch, what little Berkshire County representation there was has dropped to none.
It’s a tough break for Sen. Hinds, who passed up a reelection bid for the county’s only state Senate seat to run for LG. It also underscores the uphill battle facing experienced, capable candidates from Western Massachusetts and particularly the Berkshires who seek statewide office.
Before winning election to the state Senate in 2016, Sen. Hinds served on U.S. Rep. John Olver’s 2000 reelection team and John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, spent nearly a decade working for the United Nations, and held leadership positions in a couple notable Berkshire nonprofits. That a candidate of that caliber can’t even keep his name in the mix for the lieutenant gubernatorial primary is a sad political reality for our overlooked and underserved region and anyone from it who would seek to bring leadership and vision to an elected statewide position.
The Democratic primary for lieutenant governor will still feature one name from the greater Western Mass. region: state Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow. Still, while Sen. Lesser surpassed the 15 percent delegate threshold at the Democratic convention, his 21 percent was the lowest of the three candidates to make the cut; Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll topped the LG field with 41 percent of delegates, securing the state party’s endorsement.
Based on the results of the Democratic convention, it appears that Sen. Lesser will be the only candidate from west of I-495 who will appear on the Democratic primary ballot for any major statewide contest — governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general or state auditor. The Republican primary ballot does not appear to be significantly more geographically representative, either.
While Western Massachusetts’ population is smaller than that of the other half of the state, we aren’t nonexistent. The commonwealth has plenty of constituents in our neck of the woods who often feel unseen and unrepresented by the decision-making on Beacon Hill. The Democratic state convention’s outcome at least partly speaks to why, and that regional inequity will worsen in the near future when redistricting reduces the number Berkshire seats on Beacon Hill and further dilutes the county’s state Senate representation, not to mention the eastward expansion of Massachusetts’ 1st congressional district.
After much speculation and wait, state Sen. Adam Hinds on Wednesday officially announced his bid for lieutenant governor.
When Sen. Hinds announced his run for lieutenant governor, we welcomed the chance for a statewide race to bring some visibility to the issues most affecting Berkshire County residents and Western Massachusetts in general. His candidacy did not survive the convention, but the priorities on which he ran — expanding housing access, addressing economic inequality, improving public transportation — still resonate deeply here in the Berkshires and throughout the commonwealth.
Sen. Hinds ran for lieutenant governor because he has much of substance to say about these important matters, and while it was cut short, we appreciate that his issues-oriented campaign focused on the things impacting his constituents. We need more of that — in Boston, D.C. and everywhere in between.
Whatever Sen. Hinds’ next move is, we wish him luck and hope he continues speaking up on these issues and what we can do about them.