Elugardo, Pressley beat longtime incumbents

September 14, 2018
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Two longtime incumbents saw their tenures ended, as Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley beat local U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano (7th Congressional District) and Nika Elugardo knocked-off local state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez (15th Suffolk District) during the Sept. 4 primary election.

Elugardo, a Jamaica Plain resident who is a former aide of local State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and a former director of a nonprofit, won 52 percent of voters, or 4,515 votes, to Sanchez’ 48 percent of voters, or 4,166 votes, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press. Sanchez was first elected to the State House in 2002 and rose to the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee last year.

Elugardo said in a Gazette phone interview a few days after her triumph that her road to victory started last summer when she sat down with her political consultant Dan Cohen. They realized that there was an opportunity to win because of the gap between Sanchez’ policy positions and his voting record. They went over how many voters they needed and started working on getting them to show up on election day.

“Cohen’s strategy was spot on,” said Elugardo.

Asked about her reaction when she won, Elugardo said it was “a little strange” because it became clear only gradually. She said that there was a broken ballot box in one of the precincts, but people were saying it was official, including a voicemail from House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

“But I was like, ‘No, no, it’s not real yet,’” said Elugardo, as the broken ballot box prevented her team from tabulating a victorious tally.

She said once she was certain of the victory, she had a “feeling of peace and gratitude.”

The election was the first time Elugardo ran for elected office and she said that she went into the endeavor thinking she didn’t know what she was getting into.

“That is such an understatement,” said Elugardo.

Asked about what she learned from the campaign, she said she realized that “I’m not as mature as I think am” and she learned to be more humble, more patient, and let go of control. Elugardo hopes to carry those lessons into her next career as the representative for the 15th Suffolk District.

Pressley, a Dorchester resident who chairs the City Council’s Committee on Healthy Women, Families, and Communities, garnered 59,815 votes, or about 59 percent of voters, to Capuano’s 42,252 votes, or 41 percent of voters, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.

Other JP voters helped decide the Democratic nomination for the 8th Congressional District where incumbent Stephen Lynch faced candidates Christopher Voehl and Brianna Wu. Lynch easily topped his two challengers.

Another competitive race that some JP residents voted on was for the Democratic nomination for the 11th Suffolk District seat. Incumbent Liz Malia secured the nomination, fending off challengers Charles Clemons Muhammad and Ture Turnbull.

With Suffolk County District Attorney (DA) Dan Conley announcing earlier this year that he will not seek re-election after leading the office for more than 15 years, a crowded field of five candidates—Evandro Carvalho, Linda Champion, Greg Henning, Shannon McAuliffe, and Rachael Rollins—faced-off against each other on Sept. 4 for the Democratic nomination. In the end, Rollins managed to push aside her three progressive challengers and topped Greg Henning, who was viewed as the more conservative candidate.

“I am honored and humbled.  But I also need to say – for all of us – that this is earned. As a 47-year old Black woman, I have earned this. We have earned this.  This is the time for us to claim our power and make good on our promises to make true criminal justice reform for the people in Suffolk County.  Reform that is progressive – that decriminalizes poverty, substance use disorder, and mental illness. This is the time to create a system that puts fairness and equity first – as a model for the Commonwealth and the nation,” said Rollins in a statement.

For the statewide races, Jay Gonzalez, a former cabinet official in the Patrick administration, grabbed the Democratic nomination for governor, beating Bob Massie.

On the Republican side, Gov. Charlie Baker, easily beat his opponent Scott Lively, a pastor who espouses homophobic and fringe views.

There was also a competitive race for the Republican nomination for senator with a three candidate race: Geoff Diehl, John Kingston, and Beth Joyce Lindstrom. Diehl took the nomination without difficulty.

Incumbent Bill Galvin effortlessly beat back a challenge from Mission Hill City Councilor Josh Zakim to garner the Democratic nomination for the state Secretary of State.

Some JP residents also weighed-in on the Democratic nomination District 4 seat for the Governor’s Council. Incumbent Christopher Iannella cruised to victory over challenger Mark Rooney.

 

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