While most of the attention during today’s balloting is on the battle for the White House between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, political observers are paying close attention to the Second Essex race between incumbent Republican Rep. Leonard Mirra and Democratic challenger Christina Eckert.
This year’s race, one of few contested seats, is a rematch between West Newbury’s Mirra and Boxford’s Eckert, who came within 324 votes of taking the seat during her first run in 2018. Mirra, who was first elected in 2012, received the endorsement of Gov. Charlie Baker, while Eckert has won the backing of Congresswoman Lori Trahan and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
The district includes Boxford, precincts 2 and 3; Georgetown; Groveland; Haverhill, ward 4. precinct 3, and ward 7: precinct 3; Merrimac; Newbury; and West Newbury.
Although the race will likely be settled outside of the city, Haverhill City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas said 35 percent of Haverhill voters had already cast ballots via early voting or mail-in absentee ballots by this election day. Koutoulas said the high turnout is lower than some towns, it is on par with similar cities. She predicted a total local turnout of 85%.
Polls are open statewide from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Haverhill now has 47,996 registered voters after adding 5,000 new voters since the beginning of the year. The city’s Ward 1, Precinct 2 has the largest number of voters at 2,740. Until COVID-19, those voters cast ballots in Washington Square, but now vote at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St. The largest number of early voters came from Bradford Elementary’s Ward 7, Precinct 3, with 961 residents taking advantage of early voting.
The other contested race close to home is between incumbent Democratic Sen. Edward Markey and Republican challenger Kevin J. O’Connor.
Uncontested incumbents this year include 3rd District Congresswoman Lori Trahan; 5th District Governor’s Councilor Eileen R. Duff; 1st Essex state Sen. Diana DiZoglio; Reps. Linda Dean Campbell, Andy X. Vargas and Christina A. Minicucci; and Register of Probate Pamela Casey O’Brien.
Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr is also running unopposed in the 1st Essex and Middlesex district that includes Gloucester, Boxford, Georgetown, Groveland, Hamilton, Manchester, Middleton, Newbury, North Andover, Rockport, Rowley, Wenham and West Newbury.