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Massachusetts 5th District - Golnik vs. Tsongas


Jon Golnik

Jon Golnik (R)

Bio | Campaign Site

Niki Tsongas

Niki Tsongas (D)*

Bio | Campaign Site

Massachusetts Snapshot

RCP Ranking:
2010 Key Races:
Gov | MA-4 | MA-6 | MA-10

----------PAST KEY RACES----------

2006: Senate | Governor
2004: President

Polling Data

PollDateSampleGolnik (R)Tsongas (D)Spread
Final Results----42.354.9Tsongas +12.6

Previous Election Results

  2008: Tsongas (D) (Unopposed)   2008: Obama (D) 59%, McCain (R) 39%
  2006: Meehan (D) (Unopposed)
  2004: Kerry (D) 57%, Bush (R) 41%
  2004: Meehan (D) 67%, Tierney (R) 33%   2000: Gore (D) 56%, Bush (R) 37%

Race Analysis

The 5th Congressional district of Massachusetts contains much of Middlesex County and the northwest portion of Essex County. The towns in the district are an odd combination of high-tech towns and gritty dens of unemployment. It held off re-aligning toward the Democrats much later than most other Massachusetts districts; in 1972 a young John Forbes Kerry, running for election to Congress here, became the only Democrat to lose an open seat in a district McGovern was carrying.

Two years later the district flipped, giving its votes to a young Paul Tsongas. Tsongas would go on to the Senate, but the district remained in Democratic hands. There’s still a residual Republican vote for the *right* kind of Republican, however. For instance, Scott Brown ran well here.

Three years ago, an outsider named Jim Ogonowski also ran well here. Ogonowski lost a close race to Niki Tsongas, the widow of the congressman, by a surprisingly close 51 percent to 45 percent margin, in an environment that was radioactive for Republicans. Tsongas was unopposed in 2008, and her 2010 opponent, businessman Jon Golnik, is running below the radar screen. Tsongas will probably win, but it is worth keeping an eye on.