Incumbents Nangle, Welch defeated in legislative primaries

Cambodian immigrant, Afro-Latino score victories

INCUMBENTS GENERALLY cruise to victory in Beacon Hill races, but there were a couple exceptions on Tuesday as a state rep from Lowell facing fraud charges and a senator from Springfield were defeated by challengers in the Democratic primary.

Vanna Howard, an immigrant from Cambodia who leads the government relations department at Lowell Community Health Center, defeated incumbent Rep. David Nangle, who was indicted in February on charges of using campaign funds to cover personal expenses, filing fraudulent tax returns, and submitting false information to obtain loans.

Nangle asked voters to return him to office while he fights the charges, but Howard garnered 44 percent of the vote, edging Nangle, who had 32 percent, and Lisa Arnold, a progressive activist, who received 24 percent.

Springfield City Councilor Adam Gomez unseated Sen. James Welch of West Springfield, who has held the office since 2010. With 87 percent of precincts reporting, Gomez led Welch 60 to 40 percent.

In a virtual victory speech, Gomez said he will use his position in the state Senate “to uplift all people of color,” adding, “this is why representation matters.” The district is more than two-thirds people of color and about 40 percent Hispanic, according to 2010 census numbers.

Gomez, who is Puerto Rican, said in his speech that he will be the first Afro-Latino in the state Senate.

In a Progressive Massachusetts candidate questionnaire, Gomez mentioned that he was “a victim of the school to prison pipeline.” He said he is a supporter of legislation ending qualified immunity and the establishment of an independent review board for police shootings. Gomez advocated for COVID-19 testing sites for Springfield, and said he believes the state’s response “has been a slow reaction,” pointing to the beleaguered Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

Sen. Michael Brady of Brockton held on to his seat, despite a strong challenge from Moises Rodrigues, a native of Cape Verde who currently serves as a city councilor in Brockton and is a former mayor of the city. Brady lost his post as Senate chair of the Committee on Public Service after being arrested for drunk driving less than a year ago.

In other races, Reps. Daniel Ryan and Kevin Honan of Boston and Rep. David Rogers of Cambridge all beat back challengers from the left. Ryan defeated Damali Vidot of Cheslea, Honan topped  Jordan Meehan of Boston, and Rogers beat Jennifer Fries of Cambridge.

In Boston, former city councilor Rob Consalvo scored a big victory over Gretchen Van Ness of Boston in the race to fill the seat being vacated by Rep. Angelo Scaccia and Brandy Fluker Oakley edged out two other candidates to win the Democratic primary for the seat being vacated by Rep. Dan Cullinane of Boston. Since no Republican is running for either seat, Consalvo and Fluker Oakley are expected to become members of the House. Fluker Oakley’s victory means another black woman will take a seat in the Legislature, bringing the total to four.

Patricia Duffy beat out Patrick Beaudry and David Bartley in a race for the seat currently held by Rep. Aaron Vega of Holyoke. Duffy is Vega’s aide.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Meet the Author

Sarah Betancourt

Reporter, CommonWealth

About Sarah Betancourt

Sarah Betancourt is a bilingual journalist reporting across New England. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Sarah was a reporter for The Associated Press in Boston, and a correspondent with The Boston Globe and The Guardian. She has written about immigration, social justice, and health policy for outlets like NBC, The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and the New York Law Journal. Sarah has reported stories such as a national look at teacher shortages, how databases are used by police departments to procure information on immigrants, and uncovered the spread of an infectious disease in children at a family detention center. She has covered the State House, local and national politics, crime and general assignment.

Sarah received a 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for her role in the ProPublica/NPR story, “They Got Hurt at Work and Then They Got Deported,” which explored how Florida employers and insurance companies were getting out of paying workers compensation benefits by using a state law to ensure injured undocumented workers were arrested or deported. Sarah attended Emerson College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communication, and Columbia University for a fellowship and Master’s degree with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.

About Sarah Betancourt

Sarah Betancourt is a bilingual journalist reporting across New England. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Sarah was a reporter for The Associated Press in Boston, and a correspondent with The Boston Globe and The Guardian. She has written about immigration, social justice, and health policy for outlets like NBC, The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and the New York Law Journal. Sarah has reported stories such as a national look at teacher shortages, how databases are used by police departments to procure information on immigrants, and uncovered the spread of an infectious disease in children at a family detention center. She has covered the State House, local and national politics, crime and general assignment.

Sarah received a 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for her role in the ProPublica/NPR story, “They Got Hurt at Work and Then They Got Deported,” which explored how Florida employers and insurance companies were getting out of paying workers compensation benefits by using a state law to ensure injured undocumented workers were arrested or deported. Sarah attended Emerson College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communication, and Columbia University for a fellowship and Master’s degree with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.

Erika Uyterhoeven defeated Catia Sharp in the Democratic primary race to succeed Rep. Denise Provost of Somerville. Uyterhoeven is a co-founder of the Act on Mass organization that has pushed for more transparency on Beacon Hill.

Despite being heavily outspent, Paul DePalo of Worcester crushed political newcomer Padraig Rafferty in the Democratic primary race for an open seat on the Governor’s Council. DePalo ran for the position two years ago against an entrenched Republican nincumbent and narrowly lost.

In a fairly rare Republican primary battle, Jeffrey DuFour of Tewksbury soundly defeated Shishan Wang of Andover for the right to challenge Rep. Tram Nguyen of Andover in November. Nguyen won the seat two years ago, ousting Jim Lyons from the Legislature. Lyons currently heads the state Republican Party.