Election Day: What You Need to Know — Rep, DA, Congressional Races and More

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This is going to be a very busy Election Day! There are several hotly contested races at the state, county and congressional levels. The polls open at 7 am and close at 8 pm so you've got lots of time to vote!

Let's start with where to vote. Not sure where to vote? Then click here, plug in your address and the Secretary of State's website will tell you where you vote, your current elected officials and show you Democratic, Republican and Libertarian ballots for your location. (Spoiler: There are two Libertarian candidates in the entire Commonwealth for this election cycle.)

Also, Tuesday is just the party primaries. November is the big enchilada, although winners will be decided in many races on Sept. 4th because most candidates are part of the Democratic Party and will be unopposed come fall.

Secretary of State

Back to the Secretary of State. Current Secretary of State William Galvin actually has a challenger in District 7 Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim. Galvin has been in the position since 1995, and barely been challenged in two decades. Zakim was 12 in 1995.

These two have been battling it out in a snippy manner. Zakim has accused Galvin of not fulfilling his responsibilities, and funneling close to $1 million to "Beacon Hill insiders" in the last two years from non-bid contracts. Galvin's political ads have pointed out that Zakim didn't vote in 16 elections, and Zakim responded by saying he's voted in every Boston election since moving to the city.

Many elected officials have come out in support of Zakim, including Mayor Marty Walsh.

Here's another tidbit. Zakim retweeted someone alleging that Galvin tried to stop ballots from being translated into Chinese. Galvin pointed out the obvious -- ballots are currently available in Chinese and he supported it.

Either Galvin or Zakim will face Republican candidate Anthony Amore in November, who is unopposed.

State Representative Races

Sánchez vs. Elugardo

In Jamaica Plain there are two state representative races. One has drawn statewide attention and the other...not-so-much.

Incumbent state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez (D-15th Suffolk) has faced a very tough opponent Nika Elugardo, a senior policy advisor to state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-2nd Suffolk), who has run a very admirable campaign. In turn, Sánchez has also run a very spirited campaign, as one would expect and hope from the first-term chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

While Sánchez is regarded as a progressive Democrat for Massachusetts, Elugardo has tried to paint him as otherwise, seizing upon his inability to stop immigration provisions being stripped from the state budget during House-Senate negotiations. Sánchez fought for the provisions and was disappointed they were not included in the House budget.

Also, apparently a reason to vote for Sánchez is because he's a great salsa dancer. Although we have no video proof at this time -- and Elugardo has wondered about having a dance off between the two.

Malia vs. Muhammad vs. Turnbull

State Rep. Liz Malia (D-11th Suffolk) was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1998. Since then she has climbed the ladder into a leadership position, and is currently the assistant vice chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. She has been a staunch advocate for behavioral health and often attends neighborhood events.

Charles Clemons Muhammad, who has run for numerous positions in the last several years, including state rep, city council and mayor.

Ture Turnbull has come at Malia for not supporting term limits for speaker of the house, as well as not pushing through immigration protections in the state's budget. Turnbull's biggest agenda items are Medicare for all and a single-payer healthcare system.

A Congressional Battle and Not Much of a Congressional Battle

7th Congressional District: Ayanna Pressley vs Michael Capuano 

At-Large Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley said she didn't wait for Congressman Capuano, a 10-time incumbent, to vacate his seat. Both candidates have said they are similar and seem to have great respect for one another, but Pressley has said it's not just about being a Democrat and one's voting record. It's about leadership and she feels she will be more of a leader in the nation's capital.

"I was taught, from an early age, that if you believe you have something to contribute, that you ought never to be afraid to raise your hand and be counted. I’m running for Congress because the issues facing this district and this country could not be more urgent -- and I have a proven track record for delivering meaningful policy solutions to our most pressing problems," said Pressley to Jamaica Plain News.

Capuano believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege and supports Medicare for all as a single-payer healthcare system. Like Pressley, Capuano has denounced much of what President Trump's administration has tried to do, such as trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act, separated immigrant families from each other and a host of other things.

He visited Texas' border and an ICE detention center and saw children in cages, and led the legislative charge against Trump's border immigration practices.

"Bearing witness to this trauma isn’t enough – pointing out that what’s happening is wrong doesn’t stop it. That’s why we need policy change, and why I have introduced legislation to stop the deportation of families at the border and reunite separated families quickly. To be clear, it won’t be easy to pass anything in the Republican-controlled Congress. It will be a battle. But it is a battle we absolutely must fight," said Capuano in a column for Jamaica Plain News.

8th Congressional District: Stephen Lynch vs. Brianna Wu vs. Christopher Voehl 

This is the sleepy Congressional race for Jamaica Plain residents. The incumbent Stephen Lynch has barely been seen and that may be his strategy -- don't let people know there's a race. He didn't show up for a recent WGBH debate.

Nor did Brianna Wu. This is Brianna Wu's first time running for office and it's been a lesson for her. She told Jamaica Plain News she's already planning on running again in 2020. One thing she's learned is to higher seasoned political consultants. She co-founded the independent video game development company Giant Spacekat and then was harassed, sent death threats online as part of the sexist Gamergate.

Christopher Voehl did attend the debate. He told his background of being a U.S. F-15E fighter pilot and drone commander with six deployments including combat time in Iraq. He is now a jumbo jet pilot.

"My message is: Peace, Prosperity, Clean Air, and Health Care. I believe your money should stay in your wallet," wrote Voehl in a column for Jamaica Plain News, who is against Medicare for All. "More than almost any other area, JP depends upon the health care industry for jobs. Single moms, single dads, seniors, and families depend upon their paycheck, Medicare and Social Security. I am here to protect them for you."

Suffolk County Register of Deeds

Incumbent Stephen Murphy is facing Katie Forde in the Democratic Primary, who he barely beat two years ago in an open seat race.

"The job of the Register of Deeds is to keep the land records for Suffolk County accessible, reliable and secure. Since taking office in December of 2016, I have made real estate records more accessible in the following two ways: first, I have improved the Registry of Deeds website and, second, I have implemented the Traveling Tuesdays program," said Murphy to Jamaica Plain News.

Forde has made a point of expressing that Murphy is not qualified for the position and not done the job as well as she would do.

"The current Register of Deeds is a career politician who has not used his platform to increase education opportunities for prospective homeowners or provide consumer protection of any kind to residents of Suffolk County. I believe it is time for new leadership focused on expanding opportunities to every resident who wishes to own a home, and to protect those who already own their home. If elected, I will be the first female Register in Suffolk County history," said Forde to Jamaica Plain News.

Suffolk County District Attorney

For the first time in decades the Suffolk County District Attorney's race is wide open due to current DA Dan Conley not seeking reelection. There are five candidates in the Democratic Party and it more than likely that the winner of Tuesday's primary will be the next DA. There is also an independent candidate, Mike Mahoney.

Four of the Democratic candidates --  state Rep. Evandro Carvalho, Linda Champion, Shannon McAuliffe and Rachael Rollins -- have made criminal justice reform one of the most important issues in their campaigns.

Much of the Conley crew is supporting one of their own, Greg Henning, who has worked at the DA's office for the last 10 years and was leading the Gang Unit until he took a leave of absence to run for office. He will tell you that he is the most conservative of the five Democratic Party candidates.

Click here for more information about the Suffolk County District Attorney's race.

There Are More Races...

There are also three candidates vying to be the U.S. Senate Republican nominee who will face U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in November. State Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-7th Plymouth District), a Trump acolyte, has been battling with John Kingston and Beth Joyce Lindstrom.

Governor Charlie Baker is being opposed by fellow Republican Scott Lively in the primary. Baker is expected to easily win and will face either Jay Gonzalez or Bob Massie, who are the two Democratic Party nominees.

The Governor's Council Fourth District race has incumbent Christopher Iannella, Jr. being opposed by Mark Rooney.