BOSTON (AP) — A member of the Kennedy family making a first bid for elective office is among candidates on the ballot Thursday for Massachusetts voters in primary elections that will determine the November matchups in the state’s redrawn congressional districts.

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The Secretary of State’s office forecast a light turnout statewide, but more voter interest was expected in several areas including the 4th District, where Joseph Kennedy III was among the candidates vying for the House seat being vacated by Democratic U.S. Rep. Barney Frank.

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The 31-year-old Kennedy is the son of former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy. He’s opposed in the Democratic primary by Herb Robinson, a software engineer from Newton, and Rachel Brown, a follower of former perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche.

The three Republicans vying for their party’s nomination are Sean Bielat, a Norfolk businessman who ran unsuccessfully against Frank two years ago; Elizabeth Childs, a former state mental health commissioner from Brookline; and David Steinhof, a Fall River dentist.

The 4th District stretches from the Boston suburbs of Newton and Brookline to the southeastern Massachusetts cities of Taunton, Attleboro and part of Fall River.

Thursday’s congressional primaries are the first under the state’s new political map, which reflects the loss of one of the state’s current 10 House seats due to the latest population shifts measured by the latest U.S. Census.

In the reshaped 9th District, which includes Cape Cod and much of the South Shore, freshman Rep. William Keating is facing a challenge in the Democratic primary from Bristol District Attorney Sam Sutter. Two Republicans, Adam Chaprales and Christopher Sheldon, are also vying for the seat.

Veteran Democratic Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield is seeking a new term in the 1st District, which has been redrawn to include portions of the western Massachusetts district currently represented by the retiring Rep. John Olver. Neal is opposed in the Democratic primary by former state Sen. Andrea Nuciforo Jr. and Bill Shein, a political activist.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


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