LEICESTER, Mass. — Though the lack of contested races in the state primary made for a slow day at the polls in Leicester on Thursday, candidates expect to see voters turn out in full force come Election Day in November.
Of Leicester's 7,301 registered voters, only 511, or 6 percent, cast ballots in the primary.
"The primary is very important when there's opposition within the same political party, but on this particular day it seems that everybody's running unopposed, whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, or Green Rainbow, so turnout has been quite slow. But come here Nov. 6, and there will be a line of traffic that will not be stopped," said state Rep. John Binienda (D). Despite the lack of opposition, he was still out holding signs at the entrance of Washburn Square.
"I've been standing at this particular spot since 1984," he added. "This is John Binienda's spot. I'll be here in November, and I'll be here in two years and we'll keep going until I decide I'm too old. When I have the seeing eye dog and the walker, I'll slow down."
Nearby, his Republican opponent Bill LeBeau was also out holding signs "to get the message that there is a race for the first time in 12 years."
"Our representative has been there for 26 years, and it's important that we get some conversations going," said LeBeau.
For LeBeau, the most important issue is getting people back to work and getting a local aid increase.
If re-elected in November, Binienda said he looks forward to "finishing what we've started."
"If you look at the national numbers for unemployment, we're drastically under that in Massachusetts, and we're actually creating jobs," he said.
Binienda believes that this year's budget was one of his most successful.
"I was able to get an increase in Chapter 9, Chapter 70 and local aid, not just for Leicester, but for Worcester as well," he said. Binienda cited secured funds to repair Leicester's Rawson Street Bridge, $250,000 for Mass BioTech initiatives and $400,000 for the Talking Book Library in Worcester.
Leicester's unofficial primary results are:
Elizabeth Warren (D): 244
Scott Brown (R): 186
Jim McGovern (D): 260
William Feegbeh (D): 42
Michael Moore (D): 268
Stephen Simonian (R): 151
Jennie L. Caissie (R): 153
John Binienda (D): 273
Bill LeBeau (R): 157
Register of deeds
Anthony J. Vigliotti (D): 248
Clerk of courts
Dennis P. McManus (D): 247