Q&A #5: State Leg. Races

"Anonymous" asks:

In 2010 elections, are all state senators up for reelection or just half of them?

And "Shady_Milkman" asks, via Twitter:

Will there be any competitive races against incumbents for Staterep/senate this year?

All 40 Massachusetts state senators -- and all 160 state reps -- are up for re-election every two years. There will be a bunch of open seats in both chambers, due in a few cases to retirements, and in more cases due to incumbents choosing to run for other seats.

In the Senate, we know that Republican Richard Tisei is running for lietenant governor in 2010, so his seat is open. Senators Baddour, Montigny, Morrissey, and Pacheco are among those considering running for other offices. The House will have members running for those open senate seats, and for likely county openings where DAs, sheriffs, and treasurers take shots at statewide seats.

It's too soon to say how much of this domino effect will really play out. Often it appears that an open seat -- say, state Auditor, or AG -- will attract a swarm of candidates; but in the end it shakes down to just one or two people giving up their seats to run. Three months ago, some thought we'd have four or five congressmen in the Senate race, but ultimately we had one. What looked like a crowded field for Middlesex DA in 2006 narrowed as Leone began to look invincible.

As for challenges to incumbents seeking re-election, I think there are some legit Republican challenges shaping up, especially targeting some of the freshmen elected in 2008. I suspect there may be a couple of high-profile intra-party challenges as well. (Sen. Marian Walsh, perhaps?) It's too early for me to really give a full run-down yet, but I'll be writing much more in the coming months.

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