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Primary races enter final week

Durant, Jaynes square off to face Alicea in November

September 06, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Political junkies often see primaries as almost more important than the general election. But, all too often, they attract minimal turnout.

Across the country this year, however, has been an exception, particularly on the Republican side, as Tea Party candidates challenge more established Republicans with mixed success.

That will be true in the 6th Worcester state representative's race here, too, as Southbridge resident Michael Jaynes, who has no elective experience, takes on Peter Durant, a five-year Spencer selectman, next Tuesday, Sept. 14. The winner faces Rep. Geraldo Alicea, a two-term Democrat from Charlton who has no primary opposition.

Jaynes sees the race this way — "a liberal, a moderate and a conservative," with himself being the latter.

"I've been repeatedly told this is not Arkansas or Mississippi and my politics won't fly here," but he's determined to try anyway, Jaynes said. To him, this district is "very conservative," particularly in Charlton and East Brookfield. Charlton has indeed given Republicans a large majority of its votes in recent presidential races, and Jaynes hopes that will advance him to the November election, where he feels "a lot of voter apathy on the left" will give him a chance to win.

"We're more conservative than other places," Durant agreed. "But if we're so conservative, why have we had Democratic representatives for the last eight years or more? This district is more center-right than the hard right Mike is."

Ironically, the two candidates have a significant philosophical overlap, at least in economics. They differ a fair amount, both agree, in their social policy views, but Durant argued those play only a small role in district politics.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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