EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Incumbent State Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) is declaring victory in the contentious race to represent the 1st Hampden and Hampshire District in the Massachusetts Senate.
With 50% of precincts reporting, Lesser is holding a comfortable lead with 13,902 votes or 61% to Republican James “Chip” Harrington’s 9,032 votes or 39%.
Hundreds of people were packed-in at Lesser’s victory celebration at Center Square Grill in East Longmeadow. Supporters cheered and music blared as the senator took the podium to claim his win; saying that he won key victories in Longmeadow, Chicopee, Springfield, and East Longmeadow.
The race has been the most high-profile local legislative race, with television commercials and some high-profile endorsements. Usually staying out of legislative races, President Obama gave his endorsement to Lesser, who once worked for him. The Longmeadow Democrat also got some in-person campaign support from U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey. Harrington, a Democrat-turned-Republican from Ludlow, received the enthusiastic support of Governor Charlie Baker.
This is the second time these two candidates have competed. Lesser and Harrington both ran in a six-way Democratic primary for the party’s nomination in the district in 2014. Lesser went on to win the primary, and then win the general election against Republican Debra Boronski.
The 1st Hampden and Hampshire District includes all precincts in Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Granby, Hampden, Longmeadow, Ludlow, and Wilbraham. It also includes the central and eastern portions of Chicopee, and a significant portion of Springfield- including all or part of East Forest Park, East Springfield, Forest Park, Indian Orchard, Old Hill, and Sixteen Acres.