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Neal wins three-way Democratic primary for 1st District

September 06, 2012
BOSTON (AP) — Veteran U.S. Rep. Richard Neal has fended off two challengers to win the Democratic primary in the state's redrawn 1st Congressional District.

Neal, a Springfield Democrat in his 12th term, handily defeated former state Sen. Andrea Nuciforo Jr. and humorist and activist Bill Shein.

The win means Neal is all but assured of heading back to Congress, since there's no Republican candidate on the November ballot.

The district is geographically the largest in the state and includes 87 cities and towns that stretch from Williamstown in the northwest corner to Dudley on the border of Connecticut in central Massachusetts.

Neal represents the state's current 2nd District. That district includes about half the area of the new 1st District, created after population losses cost the state a congressional seat.

U.S. Rep. John Olver, a Democrat who represents the current 1st District, is retiring at the end of this term.

Neal, a onetime Springfield mayor who was first elected to the House in 1988, serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which works on issues including taxes, tariffs, trade and Social Security.

He's also the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures. Tax policy, economic development, higher education, energy costs and manufacturing were top issues for his campaign.

Nuciforo, a Pittsfield native who served in the state Senate for a decade, had focused his campaign on restoring regulations on Wall Street, creating economic opportunities and confronting what he called "tea party extremism" on issues like Medicare and Social Security.

Shein, who helped organize Occupy events in the Berkshires, had been going door-to-door to meet with voters. He said his campaign also relied on networking among voters and social media.

The Alford writer's campaign had focused on corporate money in politics, environmental issues and economic development.

Savinis Pomodoro
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