15 towns that could send Diehl to the Senate in 2018

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is one of the most polarizing figures in all of politics today. That is why she is seen as a clear lock to win a second term in the Senate this November, however she will face a tougher election battle than most seem to think about. Looking to unseat Warren will be Republican State Representative, Geoff Diehl of Whitman. Diehl is a relatively unknown name in Massachusetts, but don’t be fooled by the poll conducted by WBUR in March, in which 72% of voters had never heard of Geoff Diehl. Diehl has been a staple in Beacon Hill since 2010 and has helped pass some of the most important pieces of legislation in the commonwealth over the last 8 years. If Diehl hopes to win however, he will need stronger name recognition, especially in towns where Warren won the 2012 Senate election against then incumbent Scott Brown. Here are 15 towns where Diehl could make enough noise to unseat the incumbent Democrat.

  1. Acushnet: Acushnet sits in Bristol County on the south shore, a county which has lost an overwhelming amount of Democratic support since Warren’s election in 2012. Though Acushnet is one of the smaller towns in Bristol County, ranking 17th in voter registration in the county out of 20 towns total, it is the loss of Democratic registration that shows a much bigger picture. Acushnet is a town that Warren won by only 215 votes in 2012, and their Democratic registration is down from 34.6% of total voters in the town to just 30.2% since 2012. Diehl should look to capitalize on this and look for support amongst unenrolled voters in a town where Democrats outnumber Republicans at a 3.8:1 ratio.
  2. Billerica: In 2012, Elizabeth Warren lost the town of Billerica by 20 points, despite the number of Democratic voters being 16.2% higher than the number of Republican voters. Since 2012, that gap has narrowed, with Democratic voter registration being down 3% despite the overall voter registration being up 8% in the town. The gap between Democrats and Republicans in Billerica is now just 13.5%, which could spell an even bigger defeat for Warren in a town of close to 30,000 voters.
  3. Brockton: Brockton is one of the most Democratic cities in the entire state of Massachusetts with just over 51% of registered voters in the city being Democrats. Although the political landscape of the city remains largely the same, Diehl’s chance to make a splash in Brockton can be compared to Scott Brown in 2012. Brown started his political career as a representative for parts of Norfolk County. And while Norfolk County was 34% Democratic in 2012, Brown was able to win 18 out of 25 towns in the county. While Diehl’s chances of winning Brockton, which gave Warren 68% of their vote in 2012 are slim, he can certainly take a chunk out of Warren’s supporters in a town just outside of his district in Plymouth County. Perhaps the biggest comparison to be made to Brockton are the towns of Quincy & Randolph, which register similar numbers across the board to Brockton. In 2012, Quincy gave Brown 46% of their vote and Randolph gave him 30%. If Diehl can land somewhere in the middle of those 2 towns, he could take away 6-10% of Warren’s voter’s in Brockton.
  4. Chicopee: Sitting about halfway between the highly democratic towns of Springfield and Holyoke is Chicopee, a town which over the last 6 years has lost 4.4% of Democratic voters despite increasing overall voter registration by 2.5%. Chicopee has the second most registered voters in Hampden county, trailing only Springfield. Flipping Chicopee to the Republican side could be just what Diehl needs to knock down Warren’s western wall.
  5. Clinton: Clinton is a town on the verge of breaking past 10,000 registered voters. in 2012 Clinton was split right down the middle, with Warren losing by only 57 votes, despite a 3:1 Democrat to Republican ratio. The registration numbers in Clinton have changed drastically from that election with overall registration up 4.5% but Democratic registration down 3.6%.
  6. Dartmouth: In the town of Dartmouth which Warren won in 2012 by 8 points, Democratic registration is down 3.5% and now sits at just 33%, a far cry from what once was one of the most Democratic towns in Massachusetts. As if the 3.5% drop in Democratic registration wasn’t a big enough number, Dartmouth has lost just under 1,400 voters total, and just under 1,300 total democratic voters, meaning that 94.5% of the voters lost in the city of Dartmouth were Democrats.
  7. Fairhaven: Another Bristol County town that will make a difference, Fairhaven has increased their voter registration by 3.8%, while Democrats make up 3.5% less of the total registration in the town. The differential between Democratic voters and Republican voters in Fairhaven has also gotten 4.3% closer than in 2012.
  8. Fall River: Perhaps the biggest difference maker in the 2018 election will be Fall River.  in 2012 Fall River had over 50,000 voters, now that number has dropped 7.5% or just under 3,800 voters. Not only has their overall registration dropped in massive numbers, so to has their Democratic registration, which now makes up 6% less of the total registration in the city than it did in 2012. As a matter of fact, Fall River has lost more Democratic voters (4,784) than it did total voters (3,793). While Fall River remains at about 48% Democratic, the moderate Democrats and unenrolled voters could give Diehl a boost and instead of the 68% Warren received in the city in 2012, her numbers could look more like 55-60% which would be a massive increase of votes on the Republican side.
  9. Fitchburg: While the aforementioned town of Fall River provides possibly the biggest difference maker in 2018, it is the town of Fitchburg which provides what may be the closest race for any town with over 10,000 voters. In 2012, Fitchburg was decided by 249 votes or just over 1% in a town which had over 14,000 voters at the polls. And in a town that has increased their number of registered voters by just under 11% and decreased their number of registered Democrats by just under 2%, Diehl may be able to strike it big at the polls, especially considering the lack of support from unenrolled voters for Warren in Fitchburg back in 2012.
  10. Gardner: Sitting just 15 miles west of Fitchburg is the town of Gardner, which Warren lost by 2 points in 2012. Despite the small margin of defeat for Warren 6 years ago, there is more cause for concern because Gardner has seen a decrease in both total and Democratic registration. Total registration is down 4% and Democratic registration is down 4.7%. When looking at the total number of voters lost by numeric value, Gardner has lost 143% more democrats than total voters.
  11. Malden: A city that Warren won by 30% in 2012 hardly seems the best place for Diehl to make strides  in. However, while the Republican registration remains small, it has hardly changed, going down only 0.3% in a highly Democratic city. Meanwhile, both total and Democratic registration are down nearly 2%. The most telling number though, may be that while overall registration has dropped, the number of unenrolled voters is up 1.8%. It would be hard to believe Warren could lose in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 7.5:1 ratio, but watch out for Diehl to decrease Warren’s stronghold by about 6%.
  12. Milton: In the middle of Norfolk County, Milton has consistently been one of the most moderate towns in Massachusetts. In 2012 Warren won the town’s vote by 6%, which is all the more reason why turning it red would be a big deal for Diehl. Despite gaining nearly 1,600 voters since 2012, the Democratic registration in Milton is down 2.4%. The increase in voters comes mainly from unenrolled voters, a 3% increase in the town, an increase of just over 1,300 votes. Milton is yet another town where the independent turnout is going to matter for Diehl, and in 2012 the turnout for the town was 80%, making it highly possible for Diehl to capitalize on the independent vote and win Milton’s vote.
  13. New Bedford: The gold mine in the 2018 election for Diehl could be New Bedford. A town Warren won by 40 points in 2012, has since seen an increase in independent voters and a decrease in Democratic voters. New Bedford has seen one of the largest increases of overall voter registration over the last 6 years, up by 8.5% or just over 4,500 voters. Typically this would look bad for any Republican running for state office, as New Bedford has long been a beacon for Democrats with the town being over 50% Democrat for several decades. But now the tides have turned in this fishing town, as despite the 8.5% total increase in voters, the percentage of registered Democrats is down 4.6% and the margin between Democrats and Republicans is down 5.5%. While flipping New Bedford still seems like a tall task, it is likely for Diehl to cut Warren’s lead in half in the town, turning Warren’s near 14,00o vote surplus in 2012 into a 7,000 vote surplus and earning Diehl some extra votes.
  14. Quincy: Another town that has long been a Democratic staple in Massachusetts, Quincy is the largest town in Norfolk County and makes up 12.5% of the total registered voters in the county. The bad news for Warren is that in a town of over 60,000 voters, where she won by under 3,000 votes, the total voter registration is down 5.7% and the Democratic registration is down 3%. The number of independents is now over 50% in a town where she failed to even win 1/3 of the independent vote in 2012.
  15. Somerset: For the final town on this list, we look back to Bristol County, which has been featured more heavily on this list than any other county. Somerset is a town of over 13,000 voters that spells trouble for Warren in her re-election bid. Warren won Somerset by 9% in 2012, but that was with Democratic support lingering close to 39%, now Democratic support sits just above 34%. In addition to the loss of Democratic voters, it is important to point out that Republicans gained 1.5% of the total voters in Somerset. And if you’re looking for a bigger reason to believe Warren’s support has been lost in Somerset, look no further than the 2016 election where Hillary Clinton  failed to reach 50% of the vote in the town, defeating Trump by only 3% while 3rd party candidates racked up 5% of the vote in Somerset.

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