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  • Writer's pictureTram T. Nguyen

Why did Barack Obama endorse these 2 local Massachusetts candidates?

By Nik DeCosta-Klipa, Boston Globe (Excerpts)

Across the country, there will be more than 6,000 state legislative races on the ballot this November. Two of them in Massachusetts caught the eye of former President Barack Obama.

Kate McBrine says she got the call last Friday while driving her kids to school for class pictures.

“I just kind of lost it, screaming and applauding,” McBrine told “My kids were like what is going on.”

The reaction was similar up in Andover, where Democrat Tram Nguyen is running in the 18the Essex District against incumbent Republican state Rep. Jim Lyons. Nguyen says she only found out she was getting endorsed by Obama when the final list was released Monday.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” the 32-year-old legal aid attorney told

So how did two down-ballot candidates like McBrine and Nyugen also make the list?

Though neither ever got to speak with Obama, both said in interviews that they had previously met with representatives from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which assisted in the endorsement process. Nguyen’s campaign was even “spotlighted” by the DLCC, which is focused on flipping Republican-held state legislature seats across the country, earlier this summer. And while Massachusetts’s two state legislative chambers are already overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats, Nguyen and McBrine are two rare, first-time candidates trying to unseat Republican lawmakers.

Both candidates also said they thought the strength of their insurgent campaigns was something that helped get them into the group of DLCC-featured races from which Obama picked.

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