Whalen says the district is “quirky,” in the sense that it appreciates people who have been mainstays in the community, and that local issues like employment and housing may dominate, despite some national themes. His candidate to keep an eye on is first-term state Rep. Juana Matias, a 30-year-old who has a record of beating establishment politicians, as she did in 2016.
“I’m Donald Trump’s worst nightmare,” Matias said in her campaign announcement. “I’m an immigrant who grew up in this community. I’m a product of the public schools. I got my first job at age 11, delivering Lawrence Eagle-Tribune newspapers.”
Matias has the backing of PODER PAC, a group that supports Latina candidates and, according to Whalen, seems to generate a lot of enthusiasm. Given the “bread basket” of Hispanic votes in Lowell and Lawrence, she could secure a meaningful niche of the electorate, he said.