Field of battle

For the first time in more than a decade, voters in most Massachusetts communities will see a Republican candidate for state representative on their ballots this fall. (Also see State of the States). Republican candidates are filling in gaps where there had been no GOP candidates two years ago just about everywhere except the state’s major urban centers. (Our maps show county lines, but if we had included the boundaries of towns and legislative districts, we’d have to provide magnifying glasses with each issue of the magazine.) The GOP has candidates in all six Cape and Islands House districts, and in six of the seven districts that cover Berkshire and Franklin counties—the exception being the one entirely in Pittsfield. Gov. Mitt Romney’s “Team Reform” is particularly well represented in the I-495 suburbs where the governor ran so strongly when he was elected in 2002. For the first time in years, everyone in the multi-district municipalities of Framingham and Haverhill have the option of voting Republican, and GOP candidates are on the ballot in many smaller communities where Romney topped 60 percent in 2002 (including Bolton, Kingston, and Westford) but where Democratic legislative candidates were unopposed that same year. (In the races for the state Senate, the Republicans have an even stronger presence this year, with candidates in 28 of 40 districts, including three who have no Democratic opponents.)

Democratic representation in the House remains unchallenged in some territory in and around the state’s cities, however. There are Republican candidates on the ballot in only three of the 19 seats in Boston’s Suffolk County, and there are no GOP contenders at all in several large cities and towns with multiple districts, including Fall River, New Bedford, Taunton, Brookline, Malden, and Medford.