House Special Election Next Week Likely to Diversify Mass. Delegation

A special primary in Massachusetts next week will likely add diversity to the state’s congressional delegation — part of a larger shift in Bay State politics over the past few years.

On Oct. 15, a handful of top Democratic candidates will run in the definitive special primary for the open 5th District. The suburban Boston district is a strong Democratic seat and the nominee will likely take the House seat that Sen. Edward J. Markey held for decades.

Two of the top candidates are women, one is of Armenian descent, and another is openly gay. The winner could continue an evolution for the Bay State — historically one of the least diverse congressional delegations, especially for a traditionally liberal state. Since 1789, the state has only elected five women to Congress — two in the past five years — and has only had two black members, according to the House historian.

Local Democratic operatives characterized two female candidates — state Sens. Katherine Clark and Karen Spilka — as part of a trio of front-runners. But any one of the five candidates could win the low-turnout contest.

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