Niki Tsongas won the Democratic primary yesterday for her Congressional bid in Massachusetts’ fifth district, where US Representative Martin Meehan (D) has announced he will be stepping down after serving in Congress for 14 years. Tsongas, who has support from the Feminist Majority PAC and EMILY’s List, beat out four other contenders in the primary, winning 36 percent of the vote. “This is round one,” Tsongas told the Associated Press. “Make no mistake. This election will be a referendum on the presidency of George W. Bush.”
Tsongas ran on a multi-issue platform, stressing the importance of ending the Iraq war, reforming the health care system, and preserving the environment. A self-described activist for progressive change, Tsongas points to her experiences as a dean at Massachusetts’ largest community college, a member of both corporate and non-profit boards, and a seasoned political campaigner to show that she is committed to going “to Washington to effect change and help facilitate the solutions our country so desperately needs.”
In the general election, Tsongas, the daughter of an Air Force colonel, will face Republican Jim Ogonowski, a retired Air Force colonel whose brother was captain of one of the planes hijacked on September 11 and flown into the World Trade Center.
Tsongas’ late husband, former Senator Paul Tsongas, formerly held the seat in Massachusetts’ fifth district. He went on to serve as a senator and made a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992. Paul Tsongas passed away in 1997 after battling cancer and pneumonia.