Recount Pending, Trahan on Move

September 9, 2018

LOWELL -- While the recount moves forward, Lori Trahan isn’t waiting to continue her campaign for the 3rd Congressional District.

On Saturday she held a “Women for Lori” event at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center. The event came four days after a razor-close primary and one day after presumptive winner Trahan and second-place finisher Dan Koh submitted petitions requesting a recount.

“I believe it is vital for everyone to have confidence in the results of this week’s primary, and I respect the right of the Koh campaign to pursue a recount,” she said. “But I continue to believe that when all the votes are counted -- again -- I will remain the Democratic nominee for Congress.”

With the general election less than eight weeks away, Trahan said she didn’t want to lose any momentum.

“We just have to keep our campaign moving and we have to make sure it’s strong,” she said.

Koh came in second to Trahan by 52 votes, according to unofficial tallies. However, Trahan’s campaign said her lead has increased during the recount. On Saturday night, Trahan’s campaign said she had extended her lead to 132 votes. They based this on certified results from 27 of 37 communities in the district. The campaign said it had netted 51 votes in Dracut (73 votes, to 22 for Koh) and 39 in Lowell (62 votes, to 23 for Koh).

Justin Curtis, communications director for Koh’s campaign, declined to comment on Trahan’s event when reached Saturday morning. Koh does not have any public events planned for the weekend, he said.

Trahan was joined at the press event by three of the four women who ran against her in the 3rd Congressional District race.

The fourth, Alexandra Chandler, was originally expected to attend the event, according to Trahan’s campaign. In an email statement, Chandler’s deputy campaign manager said Chandler confirmed her attendance at a Democratic Party “unity event,” which has since been postponed. Chandler did not attend Trahan’s event.

“Alexandra Chandler looks forward to supporting the nominee of the Democratic Party for MA-3 following the conclusion of the recount requested by the Koh and Trahan campaign,” Deputy Campaign Manager Lauren Young wrote.

The recount was mentioned by the other three candidates -- Juana Matias, Barbara L’Italien and Bopha Malone -- during their statements at the press conference Saturday.

“No matter what the final results are, I know Lori or Dan care about the future of this country,” Malone said.

Matias urged the importance of having a Democrat in the congressional seat, which means supporting the current presumptive winner, Trahan.

“I realize that a recount process has been initiated and I support that it is fully completed. However, we must also make a commitment to ensure that this seat is secured by a Democrat,” she said. “As we stand here today, the presumptive Democratic nominee is Lori Trahan. Until this is proven otherwise we should support Lori.”

L’Italien said the current president’s attacks on women’s rights makes it vital to have a woman in office.

“I thought it was critically important that a woman replaces Niki Tsongas. ... It’s not going to be me, but I’m really glad it’s going to be a woman,” she said. “I’m glad it’s going to be Lori.”

L’Italien described herself as a “Democrat first and foremost.” She said it’s important to start campaigning as soon as possible, because Republican competitor Rick Green will be a “fierce competitor.”

Green declined to comment on Trahan’s event. He said he supports the recount, but will hold his opponent accountable if it becomes a “power grab.”

Green, the sole Republican candidate, said he visited fairs in Dracut, Andover, Littleton and Clinton on the campaign trail Saturday.

“For us this is normal,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for months.”

U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Melrose, was expected to lead Trahan’s event Saturday, but could not attend due to a family emergency, according to Trahan.

Current Congresswoman Niki Tsongas also did not attend the event, which focused on women in politics.

Trahan’s campaign declined to say whether she was invited. A representative from Tsongas’ office did not return comment by deadline.

When asked about Tsongas, Trahan said she was pleased with who joined her on stage.

“I’m really happy with the women that are here today,” she said. “I haven’t had a chance to share the stage with Juana and Barbara and Bopha since before the primary night. It was nice to have them by my side. ... It’s been a great year for women and I was happy to have them here.”

Follow Elizabeth Dobbins on Twitter @ElizDobbins.