Democrat Velis Snags Westfield State House Seat From GOP

Democrat John Velis has a spot in the Massachusetts House – at least for a few months, winning one of  less than three dozen legislative seats that were held by Republicans.

Velis defeated Republican Dan Allie, a member of the Westfield City Council, 53 percent to 47 percent in a special election Tuesday for a state House seat representing Westfield. He will fill the remainder of the term begun by Don Humason, who won a special election in November for state Senate.

Humason, a Republican, held the Westfield House seat for ten years. But the seat has been in GOP hands much longer – since 1979.

Velis, a lawyer and Army veteran, must start campaigning almost immediately to keep the seat, as it’s back on the ballot in November.

According to unofficial election results released Tuesday evening by the Westfield City Clerk, Velis won 2,697 votes to Allie’s 2,354. Twenty-one percent of the city’s registered voters cast ballots.

With relatively warm and sunny weather, Clerk Karen Fanion had predicted 15-20 percent turnout.

New England Public Radio’s Sam Hudzik and Henry Epp contributed.