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Berkshire County candidates running in Sept. 6 election

This week we had an editorial board meeting with the candidates, including 1st Congressional District candidate Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

I told him he was popular and if he ran from a congressional district that was strictly Berkshire County he would win.

I started to point out that he did not have a chance to win because the Pioneer Valley district has a larger population base in the lower Pioneer Valley.

He said wait a minute.

He drew me a map of the new district, which is unlike the former one that John W. Olver (D-Amherst) has represented since the days of Silvio O. Conte.

Besides North Adams and Pittsfield – the large communities in Berkshire County – the district includes Springfield, West Springfield, Westfield, Chicopee and Holyoke in Hampden County. Also, there are many hilltown communities in Hampshire and Franklin Counties.

Previously, all western Massachusetts communities and some of northwestern Worcester County were included in the district.

Here is where the story gets interesting:

Mr. Nuciforo, who has served as a state senator and is currently register of deeds for the Berkshire Middle District, claims there will be 60,000 votes cast on primary day out of a population of 725,000 (of which 500,000 are registered voters).

History shows, according to Mr. Nuciforo, that 60,000 to 62,000 will vote from the 86 cities and towns.

As to the large populace cities, Springfield will send 8,020 to the polls while 7,620 will come from Pittsfield, according to Mr. Nuciforo.

However, it is unclear how the voters in Holyoke and Chicopee will vote, although the consensus is they will support Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield), the incumbent.

Mr. Nuciforo said the City of Springfield routinely produced a comparable number of Democratic Party primary voters to the City of Pittsfield. This dynamic makes him think that he can find the 30,000 votes needed to win.

To win, he needs 30,000-plus votes using his historic measurements.

Prior to our discussion, it appeared Mr. Nuciforo would take Berkshire County and voters from the Valley would vote heavily for Rep. Neal.

Bill Shein, local columnist and Democrat, is “a bold, progressive voice for western Massachusetts, committed to creating an economy and democracy that work for all of us.”

Mr. Shein, who lives in Alford, is running on a reform ticket: “Big money has led to bad public policy. It’s the reason for income and wealth inequality not seen since the Gilded Age of robber barons and oil tycoons, with a narrow elite amassing huge fortunes while millions of American families lose jobs, homes, retirement savings and the ability to afford college.

“Of course, those in Congress who raise huge sums of corporate money insist that ‘money doesn’t buy my vote.’

“Whether that’s true or not, it ignores a vital point: A voting record in Congress only shows what you’ve had a chance to vote on.

“Big money’s goal is to make sure the best progressive ideas never see the light of day and rarely come up for a vote.

“And that guarantees a narrow, status-quo agenda.”

The early horse race calculations indicated Mr. Neal is a shoe-in followed by Mr. Nuciforo and then Mr. Shein, who has not lit the political fires.

As for Mr. Shein, who says he has been on the stump for several months, outlines his progressive plans in “high definition,” which eludes the common voter, who normally goes for the personality and looks. While his goals are admirable, they seem, given the congressional gridlock, to be a dream to be obtained at a later date.

If history is the true lesson maker and Mr. Nuciforo is elected on Sept. 6, Berkshire County could have a legislature leader to call its own.

That said, Rep. Olver has thrown his support to his congressional partner, Richie Neal. Still it should be a horse race for us all to watch.

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Posted by on August 30, 2012. Filed under Opinion,View from the Tower. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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