Hayes cites ‘anti-Republican’ sentiment in district loss


ACTON — Jennifer Benson has won the state representative seat for the 37th Middlesex District, defeating Republican Kurt Hayes, of Boxborough, on Tuesday night. Benson, a Democrat, will replace outgoing representative Jamie Eldridge, who ran for state senator.

Benson collected 3,249 votes in Acton to Hayes’ 2,217. She also won in Lunenburg, 3,174 votes to 2,235 votes.

Benson defeated Hayes in Lancaster, 662 votes to 611 votes. Hayes, however, scored a victory in his hometown of Boxborough, 1,430 votes to 1,220 votes.

Benson did not return multiple calls late Tuesday night.

Hayes expressed disappointment in the result and credited the loss to widespread “anti-Republican sentiment.”

“It just looks like the feeling at the national level is affecting all the local races,” he said. “It’s looking like it’s going to be an across-the-board loss for Republicans in all contested races.” He added that the race “was very close in some areas.”

Hayes ran a heavily grassroots campaign, reporting he knocked on about 3,500 doors.

“I learned a lot about the voters and the issues that matter to them,” he said. “Economic issues really mattered. I feel like I connected with a lot of people.”

Hayes’ campaign slogan — ‘change that makes sense’ — epitomized the message of change upon which he based his campaign. Hayes called for new fiscal policy and more sensible spending on Beacon Hill.

Benson told voters she would focus on ways to attract and retain businesses to create more jobs in the commonwealth, and cited environmental and energy issues as priorities in her campaign.

Hayes said he will do his best to support Benson on Beacon Hill.

“I certainly look forward to supporting and trying to work with her, and I think she plans to do what we both talked about doing, and that’s working for the best interest of folks here in the district,” Hayes said.