Longtime State Rep. William Straus has secured his 16th term (and 31st year) in office to serve residents in the 10th Bristol District, defeating first-time state candidate and Mattapoisett chiropractor Jeffrey Swift. 

Straus has most recently served as co-chair of the Transportation Committee on Beacon Hill. He has touted achievements like securing funding for the New Bedford-Fairhaven bridge replacement project, and helping set up a regional aquifer protection district.

The 10th Bristol district covers Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Marion, Rochester and, after some redistricting in 2021, part of New Bedford and Acushnet. Both candidates are residents of Mattapoisett, where Straus secured nearly 58% of votes.

Election 2022 coverage

The New Bedford Light provides in-depth analyses of the Nov. 8 elections and what lies ahead after voters made their voices heard.

Swift won Rochester and Acushnet, while Straus won Mattapoisett, Marion, New Bedford and Fairhaven. In total, Straus secured about 55% of votes and Swift nearly 43%. 

In a statement posted to his Facebook page Wednesday, Straus said he was dedicated to continue working for his constituents. 

“It is always a humbling experience for me to receive your vote of confidence in my work as State Representative by giving me the chance to continue to work for you. The decisive win in yesterday’s election by the voters is the most important endorsement I could receive,” he said. “Whether I received your vote or not, I will continue to look for ways to improve the district and region we all call home. Thank you.”

Swift also thanked his backers.

“I’m disappointed of course. I am very gratified by the support that I was shown by all of the local Republican town committees,” he told The Light Wednesday, stating they were crucial in what he accomplished. He added it was a good, clean race and commended all for their civility. 

Straus previously told The Light that if re-elected, he would work on crafting legislation to lower prescription drug prices, as well as to address road safety and transportation funding.

He has been outspoken following a federal review and a slew of issues facing the MBTA and its riders, most recently calling for significant restructuring of the transportation authority. He also got involved with the controversial scallop leasing proposal this fall (as he did more than a decade ago when a similar proposal was made), expressing his opposition to leasing throughout the fishery council process. 

Straus (D) (I)Swift (R)OtherBlank
New Bedford9037171
Results are unofficial until certified

Swift narrowly won the Republican primary in September against one other candidate. 

Standing outside the Fairhaven polling location Tuesday afternoon, Swift told The Light he’s run on a conservative platform and is trying to get things more fiscally and morally conservative. Reflecting on the campaign, he highlighted the community support he received and said he anticipated winning.

In a previous interview with The Light, Swift said he wanted to be a “citizen legislator,” which he described as “bringing back decision making processes based on education, local community experiences, and rational decision making.”

Asked what he would want to accomplish if he was elected, he listed Chapter 90 funding for roads, wanting his conservative constituents to have a “greater voice in the legislative process,” being for lower taxes and trying to “bring back increased revenues” for constituents. 

Jeffrey Swift. Credit: Anastasia E. Lennon / The New Bedford Light

Jim and Carole Mahaney, who spent hours standing near Fairhaven’s polling site with Straus signs, said the incumbent has accomplished a lot, knows how things work on Beacon Hill and really listens to constituents in a way that translates into action.

A few Straus supporters mentioned abortion rights in their explanations of why they were voting for him. 

Michael Kovacevich, wearing a baseball cap with “Abortion is healthcare” embroidered on it, said women need to be in charge of their bodies and that it’s a decision between a woman and her physician.

In a previous interview with The Light, Swift when asked where he stands on abortion rights said it is “well outlined” under state law and that he’s comfortable with those rules. He also said he is not in favor of abortion in the second or third trimester, but would understand the necessity in the case of rape or incest. 

Abortion is legal in Massachusetts up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, with some exceptions beyond that when the mother is at risk or there is a fatal fetal anomaly. The second trimester is about 13 to 26 weeks of pregnancy. 

Supporters of Swift, some of whom were also his patients, said it was time for a change. Most cited economic reasons, talking about taxes, government spending and the cost of gas and energy. Other Swift supporters were just glad to have a Republican candidate to vote for. 

Straus has now defeated nine Republicans running for the seat since 1992.

The Light contacted Straus and Swift for comment on the outcome.

Email Anastasia E. Lennon at alennon@newbedfordlight.org