A look at contested state legislative primaries in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has 44 contested state legislative primaries this year, 11% of the total number of possible primaries, and a 19% increase from 2020.

A primary is contested when more candidates file to run than there are nominations available, meaning at least one candidate must lose.

Of the 44 contested primaries, there are 40 for Democrats and four for Republicans. For Democrats, this is up from 33 in 2020, a 21% increase. For Republicans, the number remained the same compared to 2020.

Twenty-one primaries feature an incumbent, representing 12% of all incumbents running for re-election. This is down from 2020 when 23 incumbents faced contested primaries.

Of the 21 incumbents in contested primaries, 20 are Democrats and one is a Republican.

Overall, 314 major party candidates—236 Democrats and 78 Republicans—filed to run. All 160 House and 40 Senate districts are holding elections.

Twelve of those districts are open, meaning no incumbents filed. This guarantees that at least 12% of the legislature will be represented by newcomers next year.

Massachusetts has had a divided government since 2014 with the election of Gov. Charlie Baker (R). Democrats have controlled the House since 1955 and currently hold a 125-27-1 majority with seven vacancies in the chamber. The party has controlled the Senate since 1959 with a current majority of 37-3.

Massachusett’s state legislative primaries are scheduled for Sept. 6, the 16th statewide primary date of the 2022 state legislative election cycle.

Additional reading: