Longtime Congressman McGovern, Challenger Lovvorn Face Off In Mass. 2nd District Race

Nov 1, 2018

Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern of Worcester, a Democrat, is facing a challenge on Election Day from Republican Tracy Lovvorn.

The winner will represent the sprawling Second Congressional District, which covers much of Worcester County, but also runs west to include Northampton and Greenfield. And Lovvorn has been trying to use McGovern's 11 terms of experience against him. 

Lovvorn owns a physical therapy clinic in Grafton. She won the Republican primary in September and says it's time for new blood in Washington. At a recent debate at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Lovvorn went after McGovern, saying the incumbent has voted too much along party lines, instead of what might be better for the district.

"After 22 years of of being in Congress, what more can our current congressman possibly do?" Lovvorn said. "What more can he do? He's down there, he's part of the dysfunction. He's part of the fabric of the dysfunction."

But McGovern seemed to shrug off that assertion by Lovvorn.

"I have a different opinion of me than my opponent," McGovern said. "I think I'm kind of a nice guy, and I think I've been a hell of a good congressman."

But Lovvorn doubled down on her claim McGovern isn't doing enough for the district. 

McGovern said that while more can be done, there's a lot of economic activity in Worcester, his home town.

Lovvorn pointed to reports that say the city's poverty rate is rising and that 20 percent of residents make less than $15,000 a year.

That touched off a testy exchange.

"I just stated a fact," Lovvorn said as the moderator tried to move the debate along.

"You trashed my city," McGovern responded.

"You trashed your city," Lovvorn said.

That reply touched off an audible reaction and applause from some in the audience.

The pair also differ on several national issues, including what to do about health care, climate change and immigration. On that last item, Lovvorn said the country needs secure borders and a more streamlined process for people to enter the country legally, while McGovern railed against the Trump administration's actions.

"We need a more humane immigration policy," McGovern said. "We have a president right now who is separating children from parents at the border. That's child abuse. That is disgusting. That is beneath our values."

If Lovvorn is going to be victorious on Election Day, she'll have to overcome a severe fundraising disadvantage. As of the end of September, McGovern's campaign had more than $500,000 on hand, while Lovvorn's had just $5,000.