Rep. Lynch survives, challenged on healthcare 'no' vote

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) prevailed against a primary challenger Tuesday who sought to punish him for his vote against the healthcare reform bill.

Lynch had 64 percent of the vote to 36 for union activist Mac D'Alessandro. The Associated Press called it with 88 of 225 precincts reporting.

Lynch hadn't faced a difficult primary in his five terms in office but his vote against healthcare reform legislation angered unions, some of which spent against him. 

D'Alessandro, a first time candidate for office, served as the New England political director for the Service Employees International Union, which spent almost $300,000 on direct mail and other activities in support of him.

He called Lynch's healthcare vote the "final straw" that prompted him to run.

"It goes all the way back to his vote to authorize the war in Iraq and its continued funding time and time again, even as our economy here at home fell apart,” he told The Hill Monday, also citing Lynch’s anti-abortion position.

Still, healthcare was a big part of D'Alessandro’s campaign.

"I think that his 'no' vote on healthcare was a vote against the interests of middle-income families, middle-class families, working families, not to mention small businesses," he said. "Those are reforms that benefit a lot of working families in this district."

The SEIU said the challenger put up an "impressive result" against the incumbent.

"Mac D'Alessando may have come up short in his campaign but his impressive result proves that when you stand up for your beliefs you will never stand alone,” SEIU Massachusetts State Council President Mike Grunko said in a statement. "Mac ran for Congress on a set of values and principles that will never waver and a support for working families that make us proud to call him part of our SEIU family."

Lynch wasn't without union support. He was endorsed by the AFL-CIO during the primary, but the union didn't make any independent expenditures on his behalf.

--Updated at 9:52 p.m.