It was a slow week for Lowell city politics, so Mimi Parseghian today takes a look at the Congressional race:
It was a slow political week in Lowell so my attention has turned to the Congressional race for the 3rd District of Massachusetts. The “open seat” vacated by retiring Congresswoman Niki Tsongas has attracted 10 candidates for the Democratic nomination and one for the Republican.
Given the election history of the now 3rd District (previously the 5th), it would be safe to say that the Democratic candidate will win the general election. So the focus in on who are these 10 people and how do they differ in policies, origins, experience, personality and character. I have to admit that I am also interested in who supports them. Not that it will determine how I will vote but it helps me to understand the candidate better and in a crowded field I will need all the information I can gather to make an educated choice.
After reviewing the web sites of the candidates who have one, it quickly became obvious that there is a lot of agreement on the major issues that are impacting us these days. Whether it be gun control, health care, education, immigration, the positions are basically the same.
Although there was rumbling about the fund raising efforts of a couple of the candidates, I am not sure that money alone will be the determining factor in this race.
It is a challenge to evaluate all of them and make an informed choice. The Trump administration and its policies are the clear opponents in this race. As far as I can tell, to date none of the candidates have openly questioned the Democratic House leadership. That would be one way to distinguish yourself from the rest. It may create a backlash among the Democratic establishment but if a candidate has doubts that the current Democratic House leadership has the skills to fight for the issues you support, this would be a good time to express yourself.
I have not seen any recent polls for this race. But back in April, a poll conducted by UMass Lowell and the Boston Globe indicated that 59% of likely voters were undecided and only 12% were following the race closely. There are 60 hot summer days left until the primary election to sway the undecided.
And on the other hand, voters need to educate themselves on the nuances that differentiate these candidates. We the undecided should seek information and not wait until it is presented to us at our convenience.
With the changing habits of television viewing, we cannot rely on that medium to provide needed information. With the shrinking printed press, we also cannot rely on that medium to provide extended coverage of this race.
One suggestion that might be helpful, if the local cable access stations in the 36 towns and cities that make up the 3rd District pooled their resources and did interviews with all the candidates and broadcast throughout the summer. That would be one way to reach the undecided.