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Trahan Following Her Former Boss to D.C.

November 7, 2018

3rd Congressional District Rep.-elect Lori Trahan addresses her supporters at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center Tuesday night. Her parents are to her right, her husband, Dave, is off her left shoulder. (SUN PHOTO/ Julia Malakie) Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LOWELL -- Lori Trahan swept to victory Tuesday night, ensuring the 3rd Congressional District will remain represented by a Democrat, as it has for three and a half decades, and by a woman when U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas retires at the end of her term.

Trahan, a first-time candidate, topped Republican nominee Rick Green and independent candidate Mike Mullen in the state’s only race for an open congressional seat. Final vote totals were not available at press time, but Trahan’s margin of victory appeared likely to be significant.

Her election-night party at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center was abuzz with energy Tuesday, with hundreds of supporters watching national results on a large television before cheering and embracing as Trahan’s success became official.

Trahan took the stage around 10 p.m. to claim official victory, saying Green had called her to concede.

“I think about this moment in very simple terms: it is the great privilege of my life to have received your vote,” Trahan told the crowd at her election event. “In exchange for that vote, for that trust, I will fight for you, your families and your futures every single day.”

With no Republican upsets in other House and Senate races across the state, Trahan joins an all-Democratic congressional delegation for Massachusetts. The result is also, in a way, the closing of a full circle: Trahan, who grew up in Lowell and now resides in Westford, started her career as an aide and eventually chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan, whose departure opened the seat for Tsongas.

Trahan will also be one of four women alongside U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Katherine Clark and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, something that speakers highlighted at Trahan’s party Tuesday night.

“In 1925, this district elected Edith Nourse Rogers, the first woman member of Congress,” Tsongas said. “In 2007, this district led the way again when I became, as Marty said, the first woman in a quarter century elected to Congress. But tonight, for the first time in the commonwealth’s history, a Massachusetts congressional district -- our congressional district -- has elected two women in a row to the United States House of Representatives.”

Trahan ran a somewhat moderate campaign, balancing plans to push back against the Trump administration with calls for bipartisanship and compromise. Her campaign promises focused in particular on defending the Affordable Care Act, protecting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients and pursuing education reforms to lower the cost of college.

“Tonight we heard once again that people want change, a Congress that works for them, not for special interests,” Trahan said. “It’s also a victory for everyone who believes that America is a place where we take care of each other, where we have each other’s back.”

Trahan’s victory Tuesday came with a wider margin -- and a far quicker result -- than the 10-way Democratic primary, which she won by 145 votes after a week-long recount. But despite the closeness of that result, the party quickly coalesced around Trahan, with each of her primary opponents and Tsongas herself quickly giving endorsements.

By the time the primary dust settled, a mere six weeks was left for the general-election cycle. Green had not faced a primary opponent, and Mullen was able to make the final ballot as an independent, but the candidates met for five debates in that short period.

Green portrayed himself as a moderate in his campaign, often avoiding a partisan tone. Although he voted for and donated to Trump, he rarely invoked the president. Instead, Green focused on his business success -- he co-founded the online auto parts retailer 1A Auto and is today its CEO -- and on popular issues such as infrastructure repair.

He spent Tuesday night at Tavern in the Square in Littleton with family and supporters.

Mullen did not have a public event Tuesday. He and Trahan offered similar positions on many issues during the campaign, but Mullen stressed the need for an alternative to the two-party system to improve voter engagement and reduce the influence of money in politics.

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisLisinski.

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