QUINCY — Across Massachusetts upstart candidates in a number of races look to cash in on a frenzied national midterm season in the state’s Sept. 4 primary.
The governor’s office, U.S. Senate and House and state lawmakers all have primary races where challengers will see if they’ve done enough to get their names out there to be their party’s choice for the Nov. 6 election.
"All the state-wide challengers have had a hard time becoming known," said pollster Steve Koczela, president of the MassInc Polling Group. "The thing all these challengers are hoping for is a surge in primary turnout. So that’s marginal primary voters that don’t typically turn out, younger voters and a more diverse set of voters. In the polling we’ve done, that’s who tends to support the challengers."
In the governor’s race, two Democrats, Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie are battling each other for a chance to take on Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who has his own competition, conservative Scott Lively. Gonzalez was a part of former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick’s cabinet and Massie is a liberal activist.
Democrats Jimmy Tingle, a former comedian, and Quentin Palfrey, a lawyer who served in the Attorney General’s Office, are on the ballot for lieutenant governor. The winner will face incumbent Republican Karyn Polito.
Democratic Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim, in his first statewide race, will take on long serving Secretary of State William Galvin in the primary. Cape Cod lawyers James McMahon and Dan Shores are on the Republican ballot for attorney general.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, will not face any primary challengers, but there is a three-way race on the Republican side for the seat. State Rep. Geoff Diehl of Whitman, Beth Lindstrom and John Kingston are seeking their party’s nomination.
Political strategist Dave Rubin, who has worked on campaigns for Warren and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, said the reach of President Donald Trump may be most felt in the Republican senate primary. Diehl ran the president's campaign in Massachusetts in 2016 and Lindstrom has been Trump-friendly.
"[Trump’s] strategy and influence could be tested here," Rubin said. "It will be interesting to see if a pro-Trump candidate can be successful in Massachusetts."
While the 7th Congressional District primary race between incumbent Democratic Rep. Mike Capuano and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley has drawn the most national headlines, the South Shore’s congressmen face challenges of their own.
Newcomers Christopher Voehl and Brianna Wu are taking on Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch in the 8th District. Lynch assumed the office 2001. Voehl is a pilot and Air Force veteran and Wu is an independent video game developer.
In the 9th District, Bill Cimbrelo is challenging U.S. Rep. Bill Keating in the Democratic primary. Cimbrelo is a liberal Democrat and former environmental chemist. Keating, the former Norfolk County district attorney, first took office in 2011.
"There is an increase in insurgent candidates on the left, particularly in the 8th District. Stephen Lynch is a fairly conservative Democrat for somebody that represents Massachusetts," said Brian Frederick, chairman of the political science department at Bridgewater State University. "What distinguishes the 8th and 9th districts from the 7th is that it doesn't seem like these primary challengers to Lynch and Keating are getting much traction. National groups haven’t really taken up their campaign."
All lawmakers on Beacon Hill will be up for re-election, 160 representatives and 40 senators. Most are unopposed, but there are a few races on the South Shore.
Democrats Stephen Palmer and Deborah Rudolph, both of Plymouth, will be on the ballot for Republican incumbent Vinny deMacedo's seat in the Plymouth and Barnstable District. Rudolph is a lawyer and Palmer has worked in the hospitality industries and made several runs for public office.
The departures of Diehl, Marshfield Rep. James Cantwell and Kingston Rep. Thomas Calter has brought out a number of candidates for state House races.
The Plymouth 4th District will have primaries for both parties, with Republicans Edward O'Connell of Marshfield and Craig Valdez of Scituate and Democrats Sean Costello of Marshfield and Patrick Kearney of Scituate on the ballot. Joe Armstrong and Nathaniel Powell, both of Marshfield, are also running for the seat as independents.
Republicans Gregory Eaton of Whitman and Alyson Sullivan of Abington and Democrats Alex Bezanson of Abington and Kevin Higgins of Whitman are running in the 7th Plymouth District.
Republicans Summer Schmaling of Halifax and Joseph Truschelli of Plymouth will face each other in the 12th Plymouth District, with the winner taking on Democrat Kathleen LaNatra of Kingston in November.
Town and city clerks on the South Shore don't expect long lines at the polls.
"I’m planning on a 12 percent turnout," said Braintree Town Clerk James Casey. "It’s been pretty quiet."
Casey said the Senate race may bring out more Republican voters. Wednesday is the last day to register for the primary.
Last year there were more than 1.5 million registered Democrats, 500,000 Republicans and 2.4 million Independents. The turnout in the 2014 midterm primary was just under 17 percent.
"A lot of the intrigue is in the primaries," Koczela said. "There will be a lot of eyes watching with interest what happens in September, then once November rolls around probably less so."