Democratic State Rep. Paul A. Schmid III won a rematch of his 2020 race, turning back a second challenge from Republican Evan Gendreau with 54% of the vote in the 8th Bristol District, showing particular strength in Fall River and the hometown of both candidates: Westport. 

Schmid, 79, who will be entering his seventh term in office, campaigned on his support for education. After passing legislation that has increased education spending in Gateway Cities like New Bedford and Fall River, he said his main focus will now be increasing funding in rural schools like Westport, Freetown and Acushnet. 

Gendreau, 23, who was a student at UMass Dartmouth when he ran against Schmid two years ago, improved on his 2020 run, when he finished with 43% of the vote as the first Republican challenger for the 8th Bristol District since 1996. Now working as a political analyst and consultant, Gendreau continued pursuing his 2020 campaign themes, focusing on fiscal responsibility, economic development and advocating for tax cuts. He had strong support in Acushnet and Freetown. 

Schmid (D) (I)Gendreau (R)OtherBlank
Fall River1,3119653
New Bedford3873011
Results are unofficial until certified

Neither candidate supported the amendment to raise state income tax on earners of more than $1 million in a year. “In principle, I agree that those doing very well could pay more,” Schmid told the Light in October. “But I’m concerned about 9% and setting that in our constitution.” 

He told Fall River Community Media that he expected the measure to pass, but would work to soften the impact on small business people or property owners who might have a one-time income “windfall” from selling a business or inherited property that had significantly increased in value.

Schmid showed wavering support for allowing undocumented immigrants to hold driver’s licenses, telling The Light last year that he understood the benefits but not going as far as to offer a full endorsement. Gendreau was openly opposed to the referendum. 

By Wednesday morning, both ballot questions remained too close to call. 

A Westport resident, Schmid served in the Marine Corps and runs the Westport River Rock Farm, a grass-fed organic Angus beef business that has been in his family since 1962. His experience farming has helped him to advocate for agricultural issues at the Statehouse, he said. He also campaigned as an advocate for infrastructure projects like offshore wind and the commuter rail, which aim to boost the regional economy. 

“South Coast Rail is fundamental to our future,” he told the Light in October. “Without that connection we will continue to be a backwater, an economically challenged region.”

Schmid is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and Committee on Redistricting, and serves as vice chair for the Joint Committee on Revenue. 

Gendreau, as chairman of the Westport Republican Committee, told the New Bedford Light last month that he thought his candidacy could help build the party. He said his run in the district that includes Westport, and portions of Fall River, New Bedford, Freetown and Acushnet, could be a “model” for how the party can “recruit and support candidates for winnable seats.”

Schmid describes himself as a moderate, and says he believes in the power of bi-partisan effort. 

“I’m a team player,” Schmid told the Light last month. “I’ll continue my effective work to bring jobs to the South Coast through commuter rail, offshore wind and the marine economy.”

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