A sign reminding voters to cast ballots on Tuesday, Sept. 6 in Lexington Center
Tuesday's State Primary was a grey day in Lexington Center. (Sophie Culpepper / LexObserver)

All preliminary figures and percentages updated with final certified results Thursday, Sept. 8 at 2:29 p.m.

Though a dreary Tuesday brought much-needed rain to Massachusetts, fewer than one in three Lexingtonians turned out to vote in a state primary full of down-ballot surprises and close calls.

According to final election results certified Thursday, 29% of Lexingtonians turned out to vote in this year’s state primary. That’s a little over half of turnout in the 2020 state primary, which fell during a presidential election year and included a high-profile Democratic Senate primary challenge. In 2018, 35% of registered Lexington voters cast their ballots. Still, primary turnout this year was far higher than the 12% turnout in Lexington’s most recent local election to fund a $35.2 million new police station.

This election follows the state legislature’s expansion of mail-in voting and early voting this summer, which made many of the temporary absentee voting measures implemented during the pandemic permanent.

On the precinct level, only Precinct 6 had a contested state legislature nomination in this primary. Precinct 6 was relocated to the 21st Middlesex District due to redistricting in 2021, as previously reported. Bedford incumbent State Rep. Kenneth Gordon (D-21 Middlesex) bested challenger Timothy Sullivan of Burlington for the Democratic nomination. A majority of Lexingtonians in Precinct 6 supported Gordon.

Despite this contested race, Precinct 6 did not have the highest turnout across Lexington’s nine precincts. By precinct, turnout varied between about 26% and 31%. Precinct 4 had the highest turnout at 31.16%, while Precinct 5 had the lowest turnout at 26.21%, per the certified results.

All other Lexington precincts fall into the 15th Middlesex District, where State Rep. Michelle Ciccolo clinched the Democratic nomination without a challenge. 

In Precincts 3, 8 and 9, State Sen. Mike Barrett (D-3 Middlesex) earned the Democratic nomination uncontested, as did State Sen. Cindy Friedman (D-4 Middlesex) in all other precincts. No Republicans ran for any state legislature position across Lexington’s nine precincts.

Statewide races, rather than any race for Lexington representation in the state legislature, appeared to be the drivers of local turnout in this primary. 

Attorney General Maura Healey handily won Lexington’s support for the Democratic nomination for governor. She ran uncontested, though Sonia Chang-Diaz was still listed on the ballot despite having dropped out of the race in June.

As Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, Lexingtonians picked Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who also triumphed throughout the state. Driscoll received 41.26% of Lexington votes compared to 26.22% for Eric Lesser and 23.24% for Tami Gouveia.

In one of the closest-watched races statewide, former Boston mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell won the Democratic nomination for attorney general, besting Shannon Liss-Riordan with 50.3% of all votes to Liss-Riordan’s 34.0%. Campbell noted that she is the first Black woman elected nominee for any statewide office. Quentin Palfrey dropped out of this race last week, endorsing Campbell just days before Election Day and after early voting had already begun; he still earned 15.7% of statewide votes. Lexington results closely matched statewide results, with an even more decisive margin of support for Campbell: 56.71% of Lexington voters cast ballots for her, while 22.62% supported Liss-Riordan and 16.14% supported Palfrey. 

A total of 56.71% of Lexington voters cast ballots for Andrea Campbell in the Democratic primary for attorney general. (Sophie Culpepper / LexObserver)

Campbell will face James McMahon III in the general election, who ran uncontested for the Republican nomination.

Similarly, in the Democratic contest for secretary of state nominee, Lexington backed incumbent William Francis Galvin over challenger Tanisha Sullivan. Galvin earned 66.04% of Lexington votes to Sullivan’s 30.88%, closely mirroring the candidates’ statewide margins of support. Rayla Campbell ran uncontested for the Republican nomination.

But some of Lexington’s nominations for state-level positions did not reflect the statewide outcomes. 

On the Republican ballot, Lexingtonians picked entrepreneur Chris Doughty over Trump-endorsed candidate Geoff Diehl, but Diehl won the nomination with 55.7% of the vote statewide. Only a few hundred Lexingtonians cast ballots for either candidate: Diehl earned 371 votes while Doughty earned 500 votes. 

The Town followed the same trend for the Republican lieutenant governor nomination: While Leah Allen, another Trump-backed candidate, won her party’s nomination statewide, Kate Campanale was Lexington’s pick, with 418 votes to Allen’s 361.

On the Democratic ballot, District 3 Governor’s Council challenger Mara Dolan received 48.03% of Lexington votes compared to incumbent Marilyn Pettito Devaney’s 35.16% – with the other 16.79% of ballots left blank for their race. But at the state level, Devaney beat Dolan by barely a percent – with 50.9% of votes to Dolan’s 49.1%. There is no Republican challenger for District 3 of the Governor’s Council.

Similarly, for state auditor, Chris Dempsey bested Diana DiZoglio in Lexington, earning 53.09% of votes to her 34.51% for the Democratic nomination. But at the state level, DiZoglio secured the nomination with 54.4% of the vote. She will face Republican nominee Anthony Amore in the general election, who ran uncontested in Tuesday’s primary.

At the federal level, incumbent Assistant Speaker of the House Katherine Clark (D-MA5) earned her party nomination uncontested. Republican Caroline Colarusso, who also earned her party’s nomination uncontested, will challenge her in November.

There was no contest for state treasurer, sheriff of Middlesex County or district attorney of the Northern District; Democratic incumbents ran for all three positions without primary or Republican challengers, as previously reported.

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4 Comments

  1. Great election coverage, and thanks for the Lexington angle on results.

    A thought about elections going forward. In 1994 when I was a first-time candidate for the State Rep. position, the Lexington MinuteMan, then a great source of local news, published brief (I believe we were limited to 150 words) answers to weekly questions posed to us by the editors in the ten or so weeks leading up to the election. I found those questions and the chance to reflect on them to be incredibly valuable. Going forward, in contests for both local and state positions, I’d find those reflections from candidates most helpful as I strive to cast an informed vote. This would entail some work crafting good questions, and certainly mean some work for candidates. But no one ever said democracy was meant to be easy!

    1. I also found this election coverage to be fascinating and well done, and Jay’s suggestion of weekly questions would certainly be helpful for the voters.

    2. Thank you both! We can definitely consider doing something like weekly candidate questions leading up to future elections. Our general thinking for this state primary was we didn’t want to get super in the weeds on the many candidates’ positions for mostly state-level races and risk drifting too far from our hyperlocal focus — that said, it’s very helpful feedback to hear there’s an interest in having us cover these positions, and that interest can inform our future coverage!

    3. I agree with Jay. I would much appreciate having the chance to read what candidates said in response to several questions over the weeks preceding the election.

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