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Dad, I'm 'A Massachusetts Liberal'

Campaign ad from Carl Sciortino, the Massachusetts Democrat running in the Oct. 15 House special election primary.
Campaign ad
Campaign ad from Carl Sciortino, the Massachusetts Democrat running in the Oct. 15 House special election primary.

A candidate in a crowded House special election is trying to break away from the pack by coming out of the closet — as a Massachusetts liberal.

In his first television advertisement of the campaign, openly gay Democratic state Rep. Carl Sciortino has a light back-and-forth with his Tea Party-oriented father, recalling the first time he told his old man about his left-of-center politics.

The minutelong ad starts out: "I'm Carl Sciortino, and I'll never forget that conversation with my Dad where I had to come out and tell him —"

"Wait for this," his incredulous father interrupts.

"That I was a Massachusetts liberal," says Sciortino.

"And he's proud of it!" his father retorts.

For the remainder of the ad, Sciortino tries to distinguish himself from his six Democratic opponents, touting his progressive accomplishments as a state legislator.

One of those primary election opponents, state Sen. Katherine Clark, employed a similar tactic earlier this week, putting her mother in front of the camera for her inaugural campaign ad.

Three Republicans are also vying for the congressional seat in Massachusetts' heavily Democratic 5th District, which was left vacant when Democrat Ed Markey was elected to the Senate in June.

Off-year special election candidates typically have enough trouble capturing the attention of voters. But the candidates running in the Oct. 15 primary must also deal with an electorate fatigued from more than two years of seemingly perpetual House and Senate campaigning and a high-profile mayoral race in nearby Boston.

The general election will take place Dec. 10.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Adam Wollner
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