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GOP challenges for state Senate seats being vacated by powerful Democrats

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BOSTON — Massachusetts Republicans are eyeing state Senate seats long held by two of Beacon Hill's most influential lawmakers, but Democrats are equally determined to hold those seats.

Senate President Therese Murray, a Plymouth Democrat, is retiring after representing her district since 1992.

Also retiring after 20 years is Barre (BA'-ree) Democrat Stephen Brewer, chairman of the influential Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The race for Murray's seat pits Republican state Rep. Viriato "Vinny" deMacedo of Plymouth against Democratic former state Rep. Matthew Patrick of Falmouth and Libertarian Heather Mullins.

Democratic Rep. Anne Gobi, of Spencer, is squaring off against Republican Michael Valanzola, a former Wales selectman, in Brewer's district.

The GOP currently holds only four of 40 state Senate seats. It's running candidates in half the districts on Nov. 4.

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