Big night in Massachusetts Tuesday night as Niki Tsongas of Lowell defeated Republican James Ogonowski of Dracut “to capture the 5th District congressional seat vacated by Marty Meehan earlier this year.”
Tsongas’ campaign declared victory at about 9:10 tonight, and the Associated Press sent a bulletin five minutes later declaring Tsongas the victor.
Tsongas, won the Democratic-stronghold cities of Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill, as well as Acton, Bolton, Carlisle, Concord, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Littleton, Maynard and Wayland.
Tsongas, 61, could be sworn in as early as Wednesday to fill the seat once held by her late husband, Paul, who served two terms before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978.
The seat was left empty in July when Meehan resigned to become chancellor of his alma mater, UMass-Lowell.
Tsongas becomes the only woman in the state’s 10-member House delegation and the first to represent Massachusetts since 1983, when Republican Margaret Heckler left office. She is the first woman to hold the 5th District seat since Republican Edith Nourse Rogers, who died in 1960 after serving the district for more than three decades. Rogers had succeeded her husband, John, who died in office.
Throughout the campaign, Tsongas, a dean at Middlesex Community College, and Ogonowski, 50, a family farmer who retired from the Air Force in June after a 28-year career, said their race would either serve as a referendum on the policies of President Bush, or mark a public upbraiding of the Democratically controlled House and Senate.
The state’s junior senator, John Kerry, who campaigned for Tsongas, said tonight: “I couldn’t be happier to congratulate my friend, Congresswoman-elect Niki Tsongas on her victory in Tuesday’s special election.
“Throughout this campaign, as she has throughout her life, Niki kept faith with the people and ideals of the 5th District. Tomorrow she will head to Washington to continue one legacy and to begin a new one. I know that she will represent the hard-working men and women of the district with character and courage. Sen. (Edward) Kennedy, Rep. (Edward) Markey, and I join the entire delegation in looking forward to working with Niki in Congress.”
Congratulations to Niki Tsongas!
Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement late Tuesday night: “Massachusetts voters sent a clear message, they support candidates who fight for their values to provide children’s health care and work to end the war in Iraq.”