Incumbent state Rep. Christopher M. Markey easily fended off a challenge from political newcomer Cameron S. Costa in Tuesday’s race for the 9th Bristol District House seat.
Markey tallied 3,585 votes to Costa’s 1,266, according to unofficial results from Dartmouth and New Bedford. A computer glitch resulted in missing numbers from one of New Bedford’s 36 precincts.
Because there’s no Republican opponent on the Nov. 8 ballot for this House seat, the Democratic primary essentially secured the win for Markey, who has served on Beacon Hill since 2011.
“I am pleased that people stuck with me,” Markey told The Light after election results showed his lopsided win. “I think my values are consistent with the district’s.” He added, “People know who I am and know what I am about, and that makes a big difference.”
Costa congratulated Markey and acknowledged the voters’ decision when contacted Tuesday night by The Light. But he urged continued vigilance: “Now it’s up to the people to make sure we continue to hold elected officials accountable,” he said.
The new 9th District, which was altered in 2021, now contains much of New Bedford’s Far North End where Costa lives, and the town of Dartmouth, where Markey makes his home. New Bedford’s votes, 338 for Costa and 461 for Markey, point to a closer contest in the smaller geographic area outside of Markey’s hometown.
During the campaign, both candidates stressed the need for more affordable housing in the South Coast, as well as education and career training.
Follow The New Bedford Light for the latest updates on the Sept. 6 primary elections, including election synopses and candidate profiles.
Markey noted in a recent interview with The Light that lawmakers should find ways to help middle-income renters become first-time homeowners, which would in turn free up rental space for others. He said he favored assistance with down payments, as well as suburban zoning changes to create more low- and moderate-income housing.
In addition to his legislative work, Markey, 54, is a practicing attorney. He is the son of former New Bedford Mayor John Markey and a former prosecutor in the Bristol County District Attorney’s office. Markey says he did not seek political endorsements, although he did receive the backing of Attorney General Maura Healey, who is the Democratic nominee for governor in November.
Markey opposed the recently passed immigrants driver’s license law, explaining that driving is a privilege, and it’s not right to “cut the line” of those waiting to get to the United States.
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Markey told The Light that abortion should be protected under the constitution and he voted for abortion legislation passed by the House this summer, although he voted no on the Legislature’s Roe Act of 2020, saying he opposed abortion access for women as young as 16, without judicial or parental consent.
Costa, 21, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker as a student member on the Massachusetts Board of Education, said he was hoping to work on reducing the cost of higher education.
Costa’s candidacy was endorsed by the Massachusetts Teachers Association and Reproductive Equity Now, a reproductive rights organization. He said he decided to run for state representative because it’s the best way to make an impact.
“When you’re talking about affordable housing, when you’re talking about mental health, when you’re talking about food, education, health care, those are all things that are driven by legislation primarily,” he said.
Email Eleonora Bianchi at firstname.lastname@example.org.