The home district of Suffolk Downs has seen another photo finish. It was a nail biter until the end in the race to succeed Bob DeLeo in the 19th Suffolk Special Democratic primary. By a mere 300 votes, self described “Kennedy/Reagan Democrat” and admitted 2016 Trump voter Jeffry Rosario Turco won the race with 36% of the vote. The Revere native and Winthrop based attorney narrowly closed the gap and overcame the frontrunner after the last precinct was counted.
Coming in close second was the progressive standard bearer and labor organizer Juan Jaramillo who managed to snag the most endorsements of elected Revere officials, the MTA (my union) and SEIU, as well as luminaries near and far from Bernie Sanders to Ayanna Pressley. Julian Castro even joined in on a phone bank via Zoom. The next runner up was Markey for Senate staffer and DSC member Alicia DelVento who was backed by Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood. Last place was Winthrop School Committee member Valentino “Tino” Capobianco who had endorsements from Suffolk County Sheriff Thompkins, Maura Healey, and Joe Kennedy withdrawn after some last minute #MeToo controversies that seemingly tanked his campaign. Interestingly despite age and ideological differences, all four candidates worked at one point or another in outgoing Rep. Robert DeLeo’s office.
Juan Jaramillo narrowly carried the Revere precincts, so the race was won by the candidate who carries Winthrop while managing to run a close second in Revere. Mr. Turco faces token independent and Republican opposition in the general and is a likely bet to win the seat. While he has decidedly more conservative stances on choice, LGBTQ rights, and immigration than the outgoing speaker, I hope he can reach out to the parts of Revere energized and activated by Juan’s campaign. I’m encouraged by his kind words for the RTA during our forum and hope he can be an ally going forward.
I also hope Massachusetts progressives do some soul searching and recognize that with the failure to pass ranked choice voting, it may be best to consolidate around a single progressive candidate ahead of a crowded primary. No disrespect to Alicia’s strong finish or the women’s groups backing her, but this is an emerging majority minority district due to the growing presence of Hispanic voters. Backing the Hispanic candidate closest to organized labor in the district might have been the smarter bet. Now there is an avowedly anti-choice Democrat winning the seat instead. While one of my favorite students cried on the phone after the loss, I hope she is inspired to finish what Juan started. This isn’t about one campaign, but about a grassroots movement to make a more representative Revere.