State politicians have plenty to win (or lose) Tuesday

Voters will also decide three special legislative races

BOSTON (State House News Service) – After Tuesday, the presidential campaigns will roll out of town on to other states with more voters to woo.

However, there’s one more thing to do in Massachusetts this primary season, and that’s vote. Polls across Massachusetts will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., and Secretary of State William Galvin is projecting a possible record turnout for a primary election with interest in the Republican contest driving voters to the polls.

While he’s hopeful total turnout could eclipse the 1.8 million ballots cast in 2008 – still just a 42 percent turnout – it’s on the GOP side where the Democrat thinks as many as 200,000 additional ballots could be cast by mostly independent voters.

New York real estate mogul Donald Trump is widely expected to romp on Tuesday, while the Democratic contest between Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is a tighter affair. After a Suffolk University poll over the weekend showed Clinton with an eight point lead heading into Super Tuesday, the latest UMass Amherst/WBZ poll out Monday night had Clinton ahead by just one point without leaners, and three points with leaners.

Much attention has been paid to the ramifications for Gov. Charlie Baker should Trump win in Massachusetts after the governor has criticized the front runner, but refused to re-endorse after his first choice – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – dropped out of the race and surprisingly signed up for team Trump.

The Democratic establishment, however, also has a lot riding on Tuesday after everyone from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to the entire Congressional delegation, with the notable exception of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, lined up behind Clinton, only to see her one-time commanding lead evaporate.

Voters will also decide three special legislative races on Tuesday in Fitchburg, Peabody and Brockton, and Baker has put his political capital on the line by backing a slate of GOP State Committee candidates in a play to seize control of the party apparatus with more moderate, like-minded Republicans.

“He risks angering activists who may not want to organize when he runs for reelection, but there hasn’t been a Republican governor facing re-election that has suffered because they’re at odds with the state committee, and it could be an asset in winning over independent and moderate Democratic voters,” Stonehill political science professor Peter Ubertaccio said.

If the politics bore you, there’s plenty of policy action on Tuesday as well. At the State House, Rep. Stephen Kulik and Sen. Benjamin Downing chair a House and Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing on the environment, energy and transportation in the fiscal 2017 budget, and the second day of the 2016 U.S. Offshore Wind Conference continues at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton will speak at both events.

Copyright 2016 State House News Service

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