Timing Of Resignation Leaves Rosenberg's Challenger In Strong Position

May 4, 2018

The timing of Amherst Democrat Stan Rosenberg's resignation from the Massachusetts Senate leaves one candidate in a strong position to succeed him. 

Northampton Democrat Chelsea Kline, a program director at Bay Path University, was the only candidate besides Rosenberg to file paperwork with local election officials before the deadline -- this past Tuesday.

In a statement released a few hours after Rosenberg announced his resignation on Thursday, Kline thanked the longtime state senator for "making the right decision for survivors, for the Senate, and for the district in stepping down." She said Rosenberg leaves an "impressive progressive legacy."

Rosenberg stepped down after an ethics report said he demonstrated poor judgment and failed to protect the Senate from his husband, who faces sexual assault and other charges.

Kline has not necessarily locked-up the seat, which includes much of the upper Pioneer Valley and North Quabbin regions.

Northampton's mayor, David Narkewicz, said he wants the candidate filing deadline extended by two weeks "so that we can have a full and robust debate about the needs and future of its 24 cities and towns."

That would be a tall order.

A spokeswoman for Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said that such a change would require the passage of special legislation. And a spokesman for Senate President Harriette Chandler said she was not inclined to support the proposal, noting it would create a rather subjective precedent.

Asked on Friday about Narkewicz's suggestion, Kline said, "It's really not up to me."

"I mean, I came in early, and I followed the rules," she said, noting that she did not believe such legislation would pass.

Regardless, aspiring senators have another potential route to challenge Kline; they could launch a write-in or sticker campaign.

"The way that I'll be working is that I'll be taking nothing for granted," Kline said. "I will be talking to voters and I'll be campaigning hard and I will be out in the community."

Rosenberg's resignation also leaves Northampton and the town of Hatfield without any representation in the legislature for the rest of the year. They were represented in the state House by Peter Kocot, who died in February.

This report includes information from The Associated Press.