By Associated Press - Tuesday, April 12, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - Special primary elections were being held Tuesday to fill two vacant seats in the Massachusetts Senate.

Seven Democrats are vying for the seat formerly held by Anthony Petruccelli, an East Boston Democrat who resigned from the Senate in December to join a Boston lobbying firm.

The candidates are Winthrop Housing Authority member Joseph Boncore; Boston attorney Lydia Edwards; Asian-American Women’s Political Initiative founder Diana Hwang; Boston state Rep. Jay Livingstone; Revere City Councilor Steven Morabito; former Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo; and Boston business owner Paul Rogers.

There are no Republicans running for the seat, so the winner of Tuesday’s primary is virtually assured of winning the seat in the May 10 special election.

Meanwhile, two Republicans and two Democrats were on the ballot in primary elections for the Senate seat formerly held by Republican Robert Hedlund, who was elected mayor of Weymouth in November.

The GOP candidates are former special assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Gill of Marshfield and Weymouth Town Councilor Patrick O’Connor.

The Democrats are current Hingham Selectman and former state Rep. Paul Gannon, and former Hull selectwoman Joan Meschino.

The winners of their respective primaries will face off in the May 10 special election.

There are currently only five Republicans in the 40-seat state Senate.

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