Auchincloss Claims Victory in Congressional Primary
Marine Vet Emerges After "Full-District Campaign"
9/4/20 9:36 AM
SEPT. 4, 2020.....Newton City Councilor Jake Auchincloss claimed victory early Friday morning in the crowded Democratic primary for the Fourth Congressional District, seemingly bringing to an end to the tightly fought contest as the final votes were tallied more than two days after the polls closed.
Auchincloss, a 32-year-old Marine veteran and centrist who once worked for Gov. Charlie Baker's campaign, saw his lead over Brookline progressive Jesse Mermell grow Thursday as uncounted ballots in Newton, Wellesley and Franklin were added to the final counts.
Franklin was the last town to report results after Secretary of State William Galvin and town officials identified as many as 3,000 mail-in and early ballots that were not counted on election night.
The town concluded its counting after midnight, with Auchincloss winning Franklin with 1,538 votes. Mermell finished third with 882.
The final unofficial results in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III in Congress showed Auchincloss ahead of Mermell by 2,033 votes, a more than one percentage point lead with 34,971 votes, or 22.4 percent.
"I'm honored that the people of the Massachusetts Fourth District have chosen me as the Democratic nominee for Congress. We won 25 of the 34 cities and towns across the district, a testament to the strong, full-district campaign we built. My deepest gratitude goes out to the voters who placed their confidence in my capacity to drive progress — and to the volunteers and supporters who shared our message across their cities and towns," Auchincloss said in a statement.
The presumptive Democratic nominee plans a 1 p.m. press conference outside of Newton City Hall.
While the margin would appear to preclude a district-wide recount, Mermell's campaign did not immediately say whether she intended to concede the race, or if she was considering petitioning for more narrow precinct-level recounts.
On Thursday, Mermell raised the possibility that there were uncounted ballots in communities other than the three identified by Galvin, but the secretary's office disputed that claim.
"We appreciate the long hours put in to counting the votes and will have more to say after we have a chance to review," Mermell campaign spokesman David Guarino said.
Auchincloss linked his victory with the decision his grandfather made just after the United States entered World War II to volunteer for the Marines.
"America saw potential in him and sent him to college. It changed his life, and mine. I joined this race to help make that story of opportunity a reality for this generation of Americans. And tonight, we've taken a step forward," Auchincloss said.
Auchincloss will be the heavy favorite to win the seat in November when he will face will Republican Julie Hall, another veteran and former Attleboro city councilor. Before Kennedy, the Fourth Congressional District was represented for years by Barney Frank.
Auchincloss came out of a field of progressive candidates as one of the few running who did not support single-payer health care or the complete end of qualified immunity for police, though he does support policing reform.
The self-described Obama-Baker voter worked on Gov. Baker's first successful campaign in 2014.
While Mermell would not commit on Thursday to supporting Auchincloss, who she has called "indefensibly out of step with this district," Auchincloss said he looked forward to working with all nine of the other candidates who ran and said he was "proud" to have run alongside Mermell.
He called for Democrats to unite, both in Massachusetts, and around the country.
"We must defeat the Republican nominee, a Trump Republican. We must rally behind Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to defeat the Trump agenda and get to work rebuilding this country: its institutions, its confidence, and its commitment to justice," Auchincloss said.
"That work starts here at home. There's much to be done across our district, and it should begin by focusing on an inclusive economic recovery for all of the Massachusetts Fourth. We must leave no one behind," he said.
According to the Associated Press, Auchincloss and Mermell were followed by Newton City Councilor Becky Grossman, who finished third with 18 percent, and then Dr. Natalie Linos, a Harvard University epidemiologist, with 11.6 percent.
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