BOSTON (SHNS) – Democrats pried one more legislative seat from Republicans as Topsfield’s Jamie Belsito defeated Rowley Republican Robert Snow on Tuesday in another low-turnout special election.
A women’s health advocate, Belsito is poised to fill the seat held for more than two decades by Ipswich Republican Brad Hill, who resigned from the House of Representatives to join the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The win enables Democrats to further bulk up their supermajority status on Beacon Hill.
The final unofficial tally across the six-town Fourth Essex District was 2,504 to 2,016, according to Ipswich Local News.
The district was carved up during this year’s redistricting process. Belsito will serve the remaining 13 months of Hill’s term, but in next year’s elections, her Topsfield address appears to fall in the 13th Essex District, a seat now held by Danvers Democrat Rep. Sally Kerans.
“I plan on getting right to work ensuring that the voices of this district are heard,” Belsito wrote on Facebook on Tuesday night. “I will continue being a strong advocate when it comes to those issues that are affecting all of us: continued economic recovery, improving education and access to health, and protecting our environment and waterways.”
It’s been a tough stretch for Massachusetts Republicans, who in recent years have lost Senate seats formerly held by Republicans from Fitchburg, Plymouth, Westfield, and Wrentham and House seats previously represented by Republicans from Barnstable, North Attleborough, and Taunton.
While Democrats have their own divisions within their party, the split in Massachusetts among Trump Republicans and more moderate members of the party appears to be taking its toll as Republicans have been unable to protect their limited turf in recent elections.
A former intern for the late U.S. Rep. Joe Moakley, Belsito is the founder and policy director of the Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance and a Massachusetts chapter board member of the March of Dimes. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Salem State College and describes herself as “the granddaughter of a Syrian immigrant and daughter of a hard working union floor layer.”
In 2020, Belsito ran against Congressman Seth Moulton, who easily outpolled her in the Sixth Congressional District primary contest.
In addition to her work to destigmatize postpartum depression, she lists among her priorities funding to address social, racial and cultural barriers for pregnant and new families, access to health care as a “human right,” and funding for public K-12 and higher education.
The only other scheduled legislative special election is coming up on Dec. 14. Republicans do not have a candidate in that race, where two Democrats — Revere School Committee member Anthony D’Ambrosio and Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards — are competing to succeed former Sen. Joseph Boncore of Winthrop, who resigned mid-term to take the top job at the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.