Unfortunately, it’s quite possible that Buonomo will win the Democratic primary, given the difficulties of mounting a successful write-in campaign. If he does so, he may face opponents from the Republican party (John Lambert) and the Working Families party (Sean O’Donovan). However, both of those candidates will need to get 1,000 write-in votes in the primary in order to appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. If they can’t clear that threshold, the winner of the Democratic primary will be the only name on the ballot.
Should Buonomo win the general election, he may well subsequently be removed from office. The Supreme Judicial Court has the authority to remove Registers of Probate “if sufficient cause is shown therefor and it appears that the public good so requires.” A guilty plea or conviction would surely satisfy that standard. At that point, Governor Patrick would name a replacement who would take over the office until the 2010 election (there is no special election for this office). Thanks to ShillelaghLaw for digging out the links to the relevant statutes.
That course of events wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world — presumably the SJC’s current suspension order will remain in place until the criminal case is resolved, so we needn’t worry about Buonomo running the office while the charges against him are pending. But it would surely be preferable not to re-elect the guy in the first place. As we said above, it’s worth a shot.