Wilkerson ends campaign

John Ruch

Dianne Wilkerson announced Oct. 31 that she is quitting her campaign to retain the local 2nd Suffolk District state Senate seat, following her arrest by the FBI on federal corruption charges.

“I am withdrawing from this campaign,” Wilkerson said at a press conference at Dorchester’s Charles Street AME Church televised by New England Cable News. The press conference was originally called by the city’s prominent African-American ministers—Wilkerson’s strongest support base—with the reported intent of un-endorsing her.

Wilkerson, an eight-term incumbent, had originally vowed to keep running the day after her Oct. 28 arrest on charges of taking $23,500 in bribes.

Wilkerson also appears to be at least giving a second thought to the state Senate’s request for her resignation. The Senate on Oct. 30 unanimously approved the resignation request, and also referred Wilkerson’s case to the Senate ethics committee, which can expel her from office. Wilkerson that day issued a press release calling the resignation request “unreasonable” and saying the district could not be left without representation.

But at the Oct. 31 press conference, Wilkerson said that on Nov. 5, she will make another announcement about the issue of her “continuance” in the office. If Wilkerson is not re-elected, which appears certain, her term would still run until January.

Quitting the race will have more of a symbolic impact than a practical one. Wilkerson was already an unofficial candidate running as a write-in after losing the September primary election to Jamaica Plain resident Sonia Chang-Díaz. Socialist Workers Party candidate William Leonard will also be on the ballot.

Presumably, now no one will be handing out stickers with Wilkerson’s names on them at the polls—a standard strategy to make a write-in campaign easier to win. Voters will still be free to write in Wilkerson, or the name of anyone else, on the ballot if they do not like the official candidates.

The Gazette will continue to update its web site as this story develops.

To download full text of the FBI complaint against Wilkerson, click here

For full coverage of Wilkerson’s case and the Nov. 4 election, see the Nov. 7 Gazette.

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