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Berkshire Democrats weigh in on Senate primary

Democrats in western Massachusetts have mixed opinions on which candidate running in the primary to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat left by Secretary of State John Kerry they’ll support. 

While Fourth Berkshire District State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli may not be able to decide to support either Democratic U.S. Senate candidates, Congressmen Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, he knows what he wants to see in Washington.

Pignatelli said that he’d like to see more of either candidate communicate more with the voters in his district before he’ll make a decision.

For First Berkshire District State Representative Gail Cariddi, though, the choice was clear. She offered her opinion at a community meeting in North Adams on Friday morning.

As for state Senator Benjamin Downing, he announced that he is leaning towards supporting Congressman Markey, but he hasn’t made a final decision yet, and would also like to see more of the candidates in the region.

Markey, the dean of the state’s Congressional delegation, is seen as the frontrunner. Recent polling shows him well ahead of his House colleague with the April 30th primary approaching. The two have agreed to several debates in their race to face the winner of the Republican three-way primary.

On the GOP side are former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, businessman Gabriel Gomez (gabe-ree-ul) and state Representative Dan Winslow. The winner is hoping to build on the off-year electoral success of fellow Republican and ex-Senator Scott Brown, who beat Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley before being ousted by Elizabeth Warren in his bid for a full term.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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