The Massachusetts Democratic Party primary for the United States Senate is going to be a close contest at this point. Bristol County is a crucial battleground.

Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III has represented part of Bristol County as a member of the U.S. House. Senator Edward Markey has represented all of Bristol County since he defeated Congressman Stephen Lynch in the 2013 special election to finish out the term of Sen. John Kerry, who vacated the seat to become President Obama's Secretary of State.

The cities and towns of Bristol County are now ground zero for the two campaigns.

The 2013 primary saw Markey winning in New Bedford, Dartmouth, Attleboro, Fairhaven, Somerset, Westport, Swansea, Seekonk, Freetown, and Rehoboth. However, when the final Bristol County votes were counted, Congressman Lynch had won by just under 300 votes. Fall River, Taunton, and Easton put the South Boston Democrat in the lead for the county.

The voter turnout in 2020 is likely going to dwarf the 2013 special election turnout. Every voter has now received a mailing from the Commonwealth to vote by absentee ballot – a first in the history of Massachusetts elections. The highly-charged environment in a presidential election year and the encouraging mailing by the state are sure to increase voter turnout.

Joe Kennedy has represented Fall River, Taunton, and Easton in the House for a number of years. He is making an aggressive play for every vote in New Bedford, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, and the other towns that encompass SouthCoast. Strong support from Greater New Bedford will make all of Bristol County "Kennedy Country" as it was back in the days of JFK and Ted.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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