SHIRLEY – The race to become the new state representative for the 37th Middlesex District was pared down to one Democratic and one Republican candidate Tuesday night.
As of Wednesday morning, Democrat Danillo Sena and Republican Cathy Clark lead the primary races for their respective parties.
Sena closed on the Democratic nomination with 5,471 votes compared to opponent Dina Samfield’s 4,073 votes.
Sena, a resident of Acton, was the district director for Sen. Jamie Eldridge for six years before announcing his candidacy in late January.
Sena, not surprisingly, received Eldridge’s endorsement.
Samfield, of Shirley, won the endorsement of Jennifer Benson, who resigned in January to become the new president of the Alliance for Business Leadership.
The primary winners will face off in a special election for the representative seat on March 31 to complete the rest of Benson’s two year term ending in January 2021.
“If elected on the 31st, I will fight to make sure your voices are being heard, your issues are being discussed and I want to be that person,” Sena said in Acton on Tuesday night.
Samfield is the chair of the Shirley Democratic Town Committee and was the first in her party to announce her candidacy in December. She previously worked as an educational program coordinator for various botanical gardens and a science teacher in the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District.
“I’m very proud of the race we ran,” Samfield said Wednesday morning. “It was very grassroots and all-volunteer. I wish Dan the very best.”
Meanwhile, Clark, of Lunenburg, took the lead later Tuesday night with 1,368 votes compared to opponent Malena Chastain’s 1,083 votes.
Chastain is relatively new to the district, only living in Lunenburg for about a year. She’s moved around the country multiple times as her husband, Terry, is a master sergeant combat medic for the U.S. Army. In that time, she’s been a small business owner in Florida and a Girl Scout troop leader for her daughters when they were younger.
Clark has spent most of her life as a real estate agent but also worked with the Lunenburg Business Association. She’s also been involved in protests against Unitil over raised electric bills since 2008, being a founding member of the activist group Get Rid of Unitil, which organized a petition against the company in 2009.
“I’m especially happy to see the numbers from my own community,” Clark said on Tuesday night. “I am a Republican with Republican values and I feel strongly that we need to see balance on Beacon Hill.”