Few Tight Races Across State

Despite what could be a momentous election tomorrow—control of the U.S. House and Senate are up for grabs—Massachusetts and Cambridge voters have only a handful of important choices apart from the marquee gubernatorial race.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy ’54-’56 (D-Mass.) is expected to easily win an eighth term over Republican Kenneth Chase, a lawyer and businessman who ran against Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) in 2004 and took 21 percent of the vote. A member of the Senate since 1962, Kennedy won 73 percent of the vote in his last election.

Apart from the governorship, the attorney general is the only statewide office that is likely to change hands tomorrow.

Republican Larry Frisoli, a former Cambridge vice mayor, and Democrat Martha Coakley, the veteran Middlesex County district attorney, are vying to replace outgoing Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly. Coakley, who is heavily favored in the race, may continue the trend of Middlesex district attorneys becoming state attorneys general. Both Reilly and his predecessor, Scott Harshbarger, served as the top prosecutor in Middlesex County—the state’s largest—before becoming attorney general.

Massachusetts voters also have to decide on three ballot initiatives. The first would expand liquor licensing in the state, allowing food stores to sell wine; the second would allow for “fusion voting,” where multiple parties can sponsor a single candidate; and the third would allow unions to organize childcare workers at day-care centers throughout the state.

Closer to home, City Councillor Michael A. Sullivan—the patriarch of the Cambridge political family—is running unopposed for Middlesex County Clerk of Courts, a position that has been held for the last 48 years by his uncle, Edward J. Sullivan. The younger Sullivan has said that he will serve out the remaining year on his city council term, and will determine if he wants to seek reelection as a city councillor sometime before next November’s local elections.

Though state law permits Sullivan to hold both jobs simultaneously, if he decides to not seek reelection as a city councillor, it will mark the first time since 1936 that no one from the Sullivan clan serves on the council. That year, Michael A. “Mickey the Dude” Sullivan, the grandfather of the current councillor, won a seat.

—Staff writer Paras D. Bhayani can be reached at pbhayani@fas.harvard.edu.