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Mass. Democrats, Republicans Seeing Enthusiasm Ahead Of Super Tuesday

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Massachusetts is one of about a dozen states holding nomination contests on Super Tuesday and both major parties are seeing enthusiasm heading into tomorrow.Both Democratic presidential candidates are holding rallies in Massachusetts Monday, while Ohio Governor John Kasich is the lone Republican hopeful visiting the commonwealth the day before Super Tuesday. In addition, President Bill Clinton is making a late night campaign stop in Worcester Monday in hopes of boosting support for his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Pat Beaudry is the communications director for the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

“The Democratic Party here in Massachusetts is neutral until we have a nominee, but that being said we are really excited to see our activists and elected officials across the state really energized and engaged with Senator [Bernie] Sanders’ and Secretary Clinton’s campaigns,” Beaudry said. “Both sides realize that their candidate has given a lifetime of service to making working Americans’ lives better and they have a vision to improve the quality of life and access to opportunity here in the United States.”

The latest polling of likely Bay State voters from WBUR shows Donald Trump with a 21-point lead over Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Kasich in the Republican primary. Berkshire County GOP head Jim Bronson says people on the Republican side are more excited than they have been in recent elections at the possibility of a Republican president.

“I think some of that buzz comes from the fact that people on both sides of the aisle are certainly disappointed with the current direction of the country and maybe politicians in general and want a real change,” Bronson said. “Very different than the change promised by the current president. That said, I think Donald Trump is going to win the Bay State and probably win fairly convincingly.”

Like the Massachusetts Republican Party, the Berkshire GOP is neutral until a national nominee is picked. Bronson says he doesn’t like the public personal attacks between the Republican candidates, which continue to escalate especially between Rubio and Trump of late.

“Going back to the last cycle, I think the Republicans did more damage to Mitt Romney than the Democrats did,” Bronson said. “Perhaps that was another nail in his electoral coffin was the way his own party treated him, which is kind of what’s happening between the guys now. When they disagree on policy, that’s fine to say ‘Here’s why this person is wrong in my opinion.’ Hair color, place of birth and all those other nonsense things to me make great parlor, but don’t have a good place in a real election.”

The WBUR poll shows Clinton with a 5-point lead over Sanders, with a 4.9 percent margin of error. Beaudry says the visits by both Democratic candidates and the close polling show that Massachusetts is up for grabs.

“Massachusetts is a special commonwealth in a lot of ways,” Beaudry said. “The fact that this is one of the first times in a while that we don’t actually have a Massachusetts person running for office on either side says a lot about how active we are in national politics. We’re certainly a prize. We have 116 delegates up for grabs here and they want to make sure that they show that respect to our voters.”

Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, won the state’s Republican primaries in 2008 and 2012. In 2008, Clinton won the Democratic primary against then-Senator Barack Obama 56 to 41 percent.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin is predicting Tuesday’s voter turnout could be as high as 2 million. There are more than 4 million registered voters in the state. Galvin, a Democrat, predicts votes in the Republican primary could surpass the 502,000 cast in 2008, but says there could be fewer Democratic voters than the 1.26 million in 2008. In Massachusetts, people can vote only in the presidential primary of the party they are registered in. Unenrolled voters can choose to vote in any primary. More than half, about 53 percent, of Massachusetts voters are unenrolled. Just 11 percent of voters are registered Republicans and 35 percent are Democrats.

There are also five presidential candidates listed on the Green-Rainbow Party ballot in Massachusetts. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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