The departure of longtime State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli will spark a special election for his seat sometime this spring, and already, people have emerged expressing interest in Petruccelli’s seat since he announced last Thursday he would resign in January.
Three candidates in Revere have emerged as interested in the seat, and local elected officials and political brokers have been working behind the scenes to narrow down the Revere field to one candidate.
While many have a legitimate interest, those on the inside of the local political scene believe that Revere has its best shot through the unified support of one hometown candidate.
This week, sources told the newspaper that Revere officials have been caucusing locally to bring about that unity.
“We’ve been meeting and coordinating efforts in the hopes of securing one candidate out of Revere no matter who that candidate is,” said one source close to those negotiations. “Everybody is working together for One Revere. That’s how this is going to work.”
As of press time, there had been no reported Revere consensus, but work is being done to iron that out, several sources said.
Those in the mix include Revere Councillor Jessica Giannino – who is believed to have the votes to be the new council president in January. Giannino told the Journal it is “highly likely” she will consider a run in January.
Meanwhile, outgoing Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo said in a Facebook post on Saturday that he is “strongly considering” a run for the senate seat. Rizzo lost a close race for mayor of Revere in November, and still hasn’t conceded that race to Revere Mayor-elect Brian Arrigo. However, he is quite serious about his potential run.
Rizzo ran for the same senate seat against Petruccelli in a special election in 2007 and lost, but believes that gives him the experience to be the Revere candidate.
“Anthony has been a tremendous public servant, an asset to Revere and his district, and a friend to many of us,” he wrote. “I know I speak for all of us when I wish he and his family well…Some of you, maybe most, might recall when I ran for State Senate back in 2007. It was a hard fought race that united Revere, but in the end, resulted in defeat…That is whey, with Anthony’s departure, I am strongly considering another run to represent you in the First Suffolk and Middlesex district.”
Also in the mix, Councillor Steve Morabito said on Monday that he is considering a run.
“After such positive feedback (from my supporters), it is with great certainty I am considering to run for senator,” he wrote on Monday. “After 17 years of serving our Commonwealth, Senator Anthony Petruccelli will resign his seat. The Senator’s commitment and service to the people of this district are things we should look for in our next Senator. I believe I can accomplish this challenge and work to the best of our peoples’ needs.”
Two notable candidates out of Revere that are not running are Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino, the former mayor of Revere, and State Rep. RoseLee Vincent.
“I’m not interested in the least,” said Ambrosino. “I love my job in Chelsea and that senate job doesn’t interest me at all.”
Said Vincent, “Although I received many calls encouraging me to explore the possibility of running for the Senate, I want to be crystal clear that I am focused on serving the people of the Sixteenth Suffolk District in the House of Representatives, and that I have no desire to seek Senator Petruccelli’ s soon to be vacated seat because I plan to seek re-election to the House next Fall.”
Though Revere formerly held sway over a senate seat in previous decades, with the likes of late Sen. Fran Doris occupying it, the city is now in a different district that has been dominated by East Boston. The seat has remained anchored in East Boston since Judge Mario Umana won the seat in 1951. The seat sparked legendary local battles in Eastie between Umana and Michael LoPresti Sr. with LoPresti beating Umana in 1960 but Umana regaining the seat against LoPresti in 1962. When Umana stepped down in 1973, Lopresti’s son, Michael LoPresti Jr., took over and served until 1992 when former Senate President Robert Travaglini was elected and Revere was brought into the fold of that district.
Petruccelli has served since winning the seat vacated by Travaglini in 2007, and his departure could be the first time in 64 years the seat is not based out of Eastie unless a viable candidate emerges there.
Already in Eastie, Rep. Adrian Madaro, who won that seat in Eastie nine months ago during a special election, has expressed interest.
“This is not a decision I take lightly,” said Madaro. “I will be thinking long and hard about a potential run for Senate and will have conversations over the next few days with family and supporters to see what the best option is for the people I represent.”
Madaro would join Eastie’s Max Tassinari, Ernani DeAraujo and Ed Deveau as possible contenders eyeing the seat from Eastie.
“Having served as Senator Petruccelli’s Chief of Staff for over a decade, I know the job better than anyone,” said Deveau who recently ran for the state representative seat, but was edged out by Madaro. “His resignation leaves an immeasurable void for the entire district and It would be an honor to continue the great work we began. I’m having discussions with my family, friends and supporters and will make a decision soon.”
Over in the North End, State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz is contemplating a run for the seat, and is believed to have wide-ranging Boston support. Michlewitz, a rising star in the House who chairs the Committee on Financial Services, has a base that overlaps some of the senatorial district.
The 1st Suffolk and Middlesex Senatorial District includes Revere, East Boston, parts of Cambridge, Winthrop, the North End, Beacon Hill, parts of the South End, Bay Village, Chinatown, the Leather District and the Financial District.
Michlewitz currently represents many of those areas, with the exception of parts of Beacon Hill, but may have competition there if Beacon Hill Rep. Jay Livingstone decides to run.
“I am honored by the number of people that have offered their support if I choose to run and I will be making a decision shortly,” said Michlewitz.
In Winthrop, local attorney and member of the Housing Authority there, Joe Boncore, is eyeing a potential run.