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VIDEO: UMass Lowell Hosts 3rd District Democratic Congressional Debate, Gifford Tops First Poll

Apr 29, 2018 09:29PM ● By Bill Gilman
When U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA3)  announced last year she wouldn't be seeking re-election in 2018, the floodgates opened for hopefuls looking to take advantage of a rare open congressional seat.
On Sunday, 12 of the 13 candidates in the Democratic field gathered at UMass Lowell for a debate, sponsored by The UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion and the Boston Globe.
With such a large field, debate organizers divided the field into two, 6-person panels for consecutive 90-minute debate sessions.
The panels were divided, as follows:
12 Noon Panel:
  • Jeff Ballinger of Andover, labor organizer and corporate crime researcher;
  • Beej Das of Lowell, president and CEO of Troca Hotels;
  • Leonard Golder of Stow, attorney;
  • Patrick Littlefield of Boxboro, Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation, executive director;
  • Bopha Malone of Bedford, regional business adviser, vice president, Enterprise Bank;
  • Keith St. John of Marlborough, entrepreneur.
2 p.m. Panel
  • Alexandra Chandler of Haverhill, former leader and analyst, Office of Naval Intelligence;
  • Rufus Gifford of Concord, former U.S. ambassador to Denmark;
  • Daniel Koh of Andover, former chief of staff, Office of the Mayor of Boston;
  • Barbara L’Italien of Andover, state senator;
  • Juana Matias of Lawrence, state representative;
  • Lori Trahan of Westford, CEO of Concire Leadership Institute.
The panels were divided based on the results of a 3rd District Poll conducted earlier this month by the UMass Lowell and Boston Globe. The top six candidates in the poll were put together in the 2 p.m. panel.
Gifford has seized "front-runner" status, such as it is, by virtue of topping the poll at 11 percent. L'Italien was second at 7 percent, followed by Trahan (5 percent); Koh and Matias (4 percent each) and Chandler (3 percent).
Malone was next at 2 percent, followed by Don Bradley, Littlefield and St. John (all 1 percent). Ballinger, Das and Golder all had less than1percent. Bradley is the only candidate not to participate in the debate. 
Shira Center, Boston Globe Politics editor, moderated the debates. Questioners included Frank Phillips, Boston Globe State House bureau chief, Lowell Sun reporter Rick Sobey and certain UMass Lowell students.
The two sessions of the debate can be seen, in their entirety, below.

3rd District Democratic Congressional Debate at UMass Lowell -- Session 2 (UMass Lowell Livestream video)

3rd District Democratic Congressional Debate at UMass Lowell -- Session 1 (UMass Lowell Livestream video)

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