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Rogers will face Walpole dentist

February 17, 2014

State Rep. John Rogers (D-Norwood), who represents half of Walpole’s eight precincts, will face Republican Timothy Hempton, of Walpole, in this year’s election, assuming there is no GOP primary opposition.

Hempton, a periodontist with a practice in Dedham, is largely unknown throughout the 12th Norfolk district, which makes up Precincts 1, 2, 6, and 7 in Walpole, along with all of Norwood. He lives on Christina Drive in Precinct 1.

Hempton told 180 he plans a formal campaign roll-out soon. He filed papers with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance last week to formally create his campaign committee. He has been meeting privately with some local political activists in recent weeks.

Hempton is the only announced candidate in the race so far. Rogers is expected to run again.

The district is the 34th most Republican House district, out of 160 total, in the state, according to political analyst Brent Benson’s MassNumbers website. Statewide Republican candidates have done well in both Norwood and Walpole in recent years.

Rogers, who has been in office since 1993, has faced ethics problems during his tenure. Despite those issues, Rogers managed to fend off two tough challenges from Walpole ZBA member Jim Stanton in 2010 and 2012. Stanton finished with 48 percent of the vote in 2010, though he did slightly worse in 2012.

Rogers did well against Stanton by marketing himself to voters as a fairly moderate Democrat, pointing to some major splits that he has had with his own party. Rogers has also managed to bring home a lot of pork to his district, including Walpole’s prison mitigation earmark, and he is popular in his hometown of Norwood. In 2012, Rogers garnered the endorsements of some top town officials including School Committee Chairwoman Nancy Gallivan, Planning Board member John Murtagh, and Finance Committee member Alice Susan Lawson. Selectman Cliff Snuffer has also donated to him in recent years, though he has never publicly endorsed Rogers.

No candidates have announced challenges yet to Walpole’s two other Democratic state reps, Lou Kafka (D-Stoughton) and Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham.) Both of those districts lean Democrat, though U.S. Senator Scott Brown did well in both of those districts in the 2012 election.

Across the state, the Mass. Republican Party has been recruiting a number of strong candidates for state legislative elections. The GOP appears likely to pick up at least two State Senate seats, and several state House seats. The GOP is in such dire straits in this state, that there is only reason for optimism – the party can only go up from here.

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