What’s with the ‘Town Committee’ on Framingham’s Democratic primary ballot?

Voting in the March 5, 2024 Democratic Presidential Primary? You’ll see a contested race for Framingham Democratic Committee members as well as US President
Government & Politics

Sharon Machlis Gartenberg


February 9, 2024

If you are voting in next month’s Democratic Presidential primary in Framingham, you’ll see two contested races: “Presidential Preference” and “Town Committee”. And you may have questions about that Town Committee race. Such as: “Town Committee? But we’re a city!” More on that below.

But first, what does this vote mean? “Town Committee” is the governing body of the Framingham Democratic Committee. If you are registered Democrat or an independent (“unenrolled”) voter who requested a Democratic ballot, you can vote for up to 35 committee members.

Unlike in several past election cycles, this year there is a contested race for those seats. Two groups are running as a slate, and you can vote for either group with a single fill-in-the-dot. But you can also choose to vote for any 35 you want.

I’ve sent questionnaires to several members of each slate and plan to publish responses by Feb. 20, before the start of in-person early voting on Saturday, February 24. I know that people have already received vote-by-mail ballots and sent them back, sorry if this is too late for you. UPDATE: The Q&A responses were posted on February 19. - from the head of each group and one additional response.

“Group 1”’s 34 members is headed by local State Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis and features current District 2 City Councilor Brandon Foster Ward, previous District 2 Councilor Cesar G. Stewart Morales, neighboring District 3 Councilor Adam C. Steiner, Katherine Murphy (president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association), and additional current and former city officials. There are also several other District 2 residents on this slate. If you vote for this group you’ll have one vote left for someone else.

“Group 2”’s 24 members are headed on the ballot by Mary Kate Feeney, co-founder of Friends of Framingham Trails and a key organizer of the New Year’s Eve Cochituate Rail Trail event, and also include 6th Middlesex State Rep. Priscila S. Sousa, At-Large City Councilor George P. King, and neighboring District 4 School Committee member Adam Lawrence Freudberg, as well as other current and former elected officials. There are no District 2 residents in that group. If you vote for this group you’ll have 11 more votes left for other candidates.

If local geographical representation matters to you – this is a District 2 blog, after all – I mapped members of both groups who live in northeast Framingham. Purple dots are Group 1 members and green dots are Group 2 members.

Map showing 14 purple dots and 2 green dots in northeast Framingham

Another candidate, former state Sen. David P. Magnani, is on the ballot and not a member of either group’s slate of candidate. He is currently asst. vice chancellor for corporate and foundation relations at UMass Boston.

Why Town Committee and not City Committee? “The Committee is organized under Chapter 2, Section 2 of Massachusets General Laws,” the committee website explains. “This Committee is not a ‘Democratic City Committee’ as under its city charter Framingham is not comprised of wards. Having city wards is required for a city committee. As such the FDC is structured similary to a town committee; members are elected on a city-wide ballot.”

Apparently “districts” don’t count.

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