Much is at stake in tomorrow’s primary elections

Published in the February 29, 2016 edition.

WAKEFIELD — Depending on the pundit you listen to, Donald J. Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton could nail down their respective party’s presidential nominations by as early as the middle of March. But before that happens, voters in 13 states will hold critical Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses tomorrow to continue the vetting process.

Massachusetts is one of those states. In Wakefield, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

There is much interest in any presidential election, as there should be. We are choosing one of the most powerful figures on the world stage. In much the same vein, there is much interest in who the Republican nominee for president will be, in part because Trump and his campaign people have done much to rewrite the book on how races are run. And won.

The New York businessman curses and makes faces during debates. He comes up with outlandish statements and then seems to throttle back on them, knowing the
potential problems that would come with their execution. He calls his opponents names like choke artist, liar and low energy. Trump does a lot of his own press and it has been highly effective among certain segments of the country’s electorate.

This, and much more, has the traditional Republican base up in arms, to say the least. Great newspapers like the Washington
have called on the GOP to stop Trump at all costs. The panicky hand-wringing over an American political candidate is unheard of in our times.

On tomorrow’s Republican presidential primary ballot in Wakefield, Trump appears second on the ballot, just behind someone named Jim Gilmore. Ultra-conservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is third, followed by George Pataki, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and John R. Kasich. Only Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson and Kasich are still waging campaigns for the party nomination.

Robert E. Aufiero of Melrose is running for state Republican Committeeman from our district, against Malden’s David D. D’Arcangelo.

Caroline Colarusso of Stoneham and Alice K. Shattuck of Melrose are running for state Republican Committeewoman from our district, which covers the cities and towns as the state Senate district does.

Also on tomorrow’s Republican ballot are those people running for Republican Town Committee. Voters are urged not to vote for more than 35; there are 33 listed.

With her victory in the South Carolina Democratic Party primary Saturday, former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has opened a lead on Vermont’s left-leaning U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who is calling on Wall Street to pay the American people back by footing the bill for free college education, among other interesting ideas.

Sanders and Clinton are joined on Wakefield’s Democratic Party presidential primary ballot by Martin O’Malley, the former Maryland governor who has suspended his campaign, and Roque De La Fuente, a West Coast real estate developer and one-time car dealer who entered the race in October.

Reading’s Ben Tafoya is running for the state Democratic Party committeeman post for our district, while Malden’s Kathleen Manning Hall is running for state Democratic Party committeewoman. Both are unopposed.

There are also 29 people running for Democratic Town Committee on tomorrow’s  ballot.

The Green-Rainbow presidential primary ballot features Jill Stein, Sedinam Curry, William Kreml, Kent Mesplay and Darryl Cherney. There are no state party committee candidates nor Green-Rainbow Town Committee hopefuls, for that matter.

The United Independent Party has a clean ballot, with no names listed for presidential preference, state committeeman, state committeewoman or town committee.

Those who are unenrolled can participate in whatever single party primary they wish.

Following are the town’s polling places:

• Masonic Temple, 372 Salem St. (Precincts 1 and 7)

• Crystal Community Club, 71 Preston St. (Precincts 2 and 3)

• Most Blessed Sacrament Church Hall, 1155 Main St. (Precinct 4)

• West Side Social Club, 4 Harrington Court (Precincts 5 and 6)