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Hinds Takes Democratic Primary In Western Mass. State Senate Race

Adam Hinds bested two fellow Democrats Thursday in the race for an open state Senate seat in western Massachusetts.Hinds took about 55 percent of the primary vote, sending him into a general election against Republican Christine Canning. Democratic State Senator Ben Downing is retiring after 10 years representing the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden district. Hinds has worked in community development in Pittsfield and North Adams since returning to the area after 10 years of conflict negotiation with the United Nations.

“Philosophically in my mind we have a pretty chaotic scene at the national level,” Hinds said. “I want to show that right here we can do politics differently. That we absolutely need to be united as residents and in the political scene if we’re going to take on the challenges that we face in the district. To me we’re going to prove that despite what’s happening at the national level we can do it different here. We can do politics differently and we can be inclusive, collaborative and working together to solve our big challenges.”

Along those lines, Canning showed up at Hinds’ celebration in Pittsfield Thursday night to offer congratulations. Andrea Harrington, an attorney from Richmond, gave Hinds the best run for his money, garnering 38 percent of the vote.

“I think that we really focused the message on supporting working families and bringing more economic opportunity back to this district,” Harrington said. “That’s what my campaign was all about. It was a great race. I had a lot of fun. I have a lot of respect for all of my opponents.”

Rinaldo Del Gallo, a lawyer who calls himself a Bernie Sanders progressive, received 7 percent of the vote.

“Historically this is an extremely Democratic area,” Del Gallo said. “I really like Chris Canning. She’s a wonderful candidate. She’s very progressive. To me the race is over now in my opinion. It’s kind of political wisdom that whoever wins the Democratic primary is the next state senator, but Chris Canning is a great candidate.”

Harrington and Del Gallo say they will support Hinds in the general election. A native of the Franklin County town of Buckland, Hinds says his experience and his message is what set him apart in the Democratic primary.

“We’ve pretty consistent saying I’ve got deep roots in western Mass., I’ve been involved in the challenges, I’ve got the background that will allow me to be ready on day one to be a strong voice for western Mass.,” Hinds said. “We just kept it positive the whole time and focused on the issues.”

Hinds had the support of Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright and former Massachusetts Congressman John Olver leading up to Thursday. According to campaign finance reports released before the primary, Hinds raised nearly $75,000 and spent about $55,000 while Harrington raised nearly $21,000, spending more than $15,000.

“We’re proud of the fact that we have one of the largest numbers of individual contributions to a state Senate candidacy in this district ever,” Hinds said. “We’re very happy that that shows that we did put together a broad coalition with wide grassroots appeal.”

Without facing a Republican primary challenge, Canning raised more than $3,000 and spent about the same. What is now the state’s largest Senate district has been represented by a Democrat since 1997.

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant 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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