Pittsfield Rep. Farley-Bouvier Fends Off Democratic Challenger
Incumbent Pittsfield State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier fended off a Democratic primary challenger to advance to the general election Thursday.Farley-Bouvier received 54 percent of the vote in her bid for a third full term representing the Third Berkshire District, which encompasses nearly all of Pittsfield.
“I think it was really clear that the people of Pittsfield are looking to have an experienced progressive legislator represent them in Boston,” said Farley-Bouvier.
Experience seemed to be the major difference between Farley-Bouvier and her opponent Mike Bloomberg, who received 46 percent of Thursday’s vote. Since graduating from Pittsfield High School in 2008, Bloomberg has spent a number of years away from Pittsfield. Farley-Bouvier, who has served on the Pittsfield City Council and taught in the region, made sure to point out that contrast during the race.
“I always expected this to be a close race,” Farley-Bouvier said. “I always took this race very, very seriously and we worked hard for every single vote.”
Bloomberg says he is proud of the race he ran and is tossing his support behind Farley-Bouvier.
“In a primary when you’re both Democrats there’s not a lot to differentiate you two and so we really tried to do that,” Bloomberg said. “We’re really happy with the number of the people who came out to share that vision. But ultimately as we come down to it in November and moving forward it’s about moving forward as a community. Rep[resentative] Farley-Bouvier has been there for this community for many years. She’s been involved for many years and had her support and her support came out as well.”
Nearly 5,000 of the more than 28,000 registered voters in Pittsfield cast ballots in Thursday’s race. Farley-Bouvier will face independent Pittsfield City Councilor Chris Connell in November. Farley-Bouvier says a higher than normal voter turnout because of the presidential election will benefit her in November. According to the latest state count, there are nearly 12,000 registered Democrats in Pittsfield, 2,400 Republicans and nearly 13,700 people unenrolled.
“I’m as clear as clear can be that somebody running outside of a party in the state of Massachusetts for the state legislature there’s just no path for victory there,” Farley-Bouvier said. “Once somebody gets into the State House there’s really no role for them there without being in a party. I’m very, very proud to be a Democrat, to stand on the Democratic values and I’m confident that a Democrat will be heading to the State House to represent Pittsfield.”
Connell represents Ward 4 on the city council and one of his constituents happens to be Farley-Bouvier. If elected to the State House he has said he intends to continue serving on the council.
“As a councilor I’m kind of in a box,” Connell said when announcing his candidacy in January. “And I keep hitting the top of that box and I can’t do any more for the city. I can submit petitions. I can form study groups. But the bottom line is it really comes down to funding and we need to get much of this funding at the state level or have somebody advocate for that funding. And that hasn’t been done.”
Farley-Bouvier has challenged Connell’s position.
“It is indeed legal to collect both those paychecks, but when you represent someplace in the Berkshires it’s not possible to do both those jobs well,” Farley-Bouvier said shortly after Connell announced his candidacy. “So he’s either fooling himself or he’s fooling the voters.”
According to campaign finance reports leading up to the primary, Farley-Bouvier raised more than $29,000, spending about $20,000. She started the race with about $7,000. Connell has raised about $10,000 and has spent roughly $8,000. For his part, Bloomberg raised more than $18,000 and used up more than $15,000.