BOSTON (AP) — Democrat Katherine Clark and Republican Frank Addivinola captured their respective party's nominations Tuesday in the special election primary for Massachusetts' 5th Congressional District.
Clark, a state senator from Melrose, will face off against Addivinola, a Boston attorney, in the Dec. 10 special election to fill the U.S. House seat left vacant by Edward Markey's election to the Senate.
Seven Democrats and three Republicans had battled for the chance to represent the district that stretches from Winthrop and Revere along the coast to communities north and west of Boston including Waltham, Framingham and Medford.
Clark beat fellow Democratic candidates Belmont state Sen. William Brownsberger, Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, former Lexington school committeeman Martin Long, Stoneham resident Paul John Maisano, Ashland state Sen. Karen Spilka and Medford state Rep. Carl Sciortino.
Addivinola defeated fellow Republicans Michael Stopa, a Harvard scientist from Holliston, and Tom Tierney, a veteran from Framingham.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial returns had Clark receiving 32 percent of the Democratic vote followed by Koutoujian with 22 percent and Sciortino with 16 percent. Addivinola had 49 percent of the GOP vote, followed by Stopa with 26 percent and Tierney with 25 percent.
The election played out amid voter frustration over the federal government's partial shutdown.
The Democrats in the race blamed the impasse on House Republicans who have tried to use the shutdown to try to force a delay or changes in President Barack Obama's federal health care law.
During a recent debate Clark said she supported Obama's decision not to negotiate with Republicans until the shutdown ends and the threat of a default is lifted.
"We cannot negotiate with an extortionist," Clark said. "This is really about Speaker Boehner remaining speaker. It's not what's best for the country."
Addivinola has said the responsibility rests on lawmakers and members of the Obama administration who are holding the government hostage by "insisting on enforcing a health care policy that the majority of the population in this country doesn't want."
"These people must start getting serious about meaningful and reasonable compromise and get away from their unproductive approach of all or nothing," he said.
Koutoujian held the fundraising edge among the candidates, with more than $690,000 left in cash in his account at the end of September. Clark was next with about $393,000 in her account, including $250,000 of her own money.
Clark had also won the backing of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and EMILY's List, a major fundraising group that helps elect Democratic women who support abortion rights to higher office.
Many voters in the district have never known a congressman other than Markey, who served 37 years in the House before winning a special election in June to fill the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
The district is one of the most Democratic in the state and is expected to give Clark an edge heading into the general election.
Voters in the district supported Coakley over Republican Scott Brown in the special 2010 U.S. Senate election that Brown won — the first in a series of elections and special elections that have tested Massachusetts voters in recent years.
Massachusetts currently has an all-Democratic congressional delegation.
Whoever wins the December runoff will face re-election next year.
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