^ Politically, the two most important facts about the First Middlesex and Suffolk senate seat : East Boston and the Airport

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What if NONE of the obvious candidates decides to run for the First Suffolk and Middlesex State Senate seat ? It could happen. Then what ?

Nobody will tell me who is, or is not, going to seek the State senate seat being vacated by Anthony Petrucelli. I suppose that’s how it should be. I’m not certain that anybody even knows what he or she will do. Consider the many obstacles resulting from Petrucelli resigning at the most inopportune of times :

(1) there’ll be a special election, probably in April, folllowed almost immedately by a primary in September. Whoever seeks the seat has to raise enough money, and volunteers, to run not one but TWO campaigns. Basically, whoever wins will be campiagning all the way through to mid-September, hardly having time to actually represent the District.

(2) none of the five State Representatives in the District has an easy path to the election, or else is in no position to run it :

* Speaker Robert DeLeo, who represents Winthrop and beachside Revere, is obvioiusly not running.
* Representative Roselee Vincent represents the rest of Revere plus precincts in two other communities that lie outside the District. She backed the loser in revere’s recent mayor contest, hardly a path to winning the senate nomination.
* Adrian Madaro, who representseadt boston, the community for which this Senate seat was designed, is still finishing up his own first term won in a special election. (Disclosure : if Madaro runs, I am all in supportiung him.)
* Aaron Michlewitz, who represents the North End, Chinatown, and some of the South End, has a constituency not known for great percentage turnout in local elections (except for the four North End ones). Almost certainly he’d be an underdog to a serious East Boston – Winthrop candidate. (and there is one. More later.)
* Jay Livingstone, who represents  Beacon Hill, Bay Village, and some of Cambridge, has an even less likely constituency as ar as voter turn out.

It may thus be that none of the five representative runs, at least not in the spoecial election.

If that happens, the District’s new State senator may be only temporary, if one of the five Representatives decides to pass on the “special” to run in September. Or the new senator may survive that test. Who might be in the running for such a scenario ? there are several.

* Revere City Councillor Jessica Giannino is being touted by some supporters of the city’s new mayor, Brian Arrigo. Giannino topped the ticket in the recent election. She is chariamatic and has an Italian last name, as do at least 30 percent of the District’s voters (probably 50 pecenht of those who will actually vote).
* North End restauranteur Philip Frattaroli, who ran for Boston City Council in 2013, has the same ethnic attribiute and can raise the big bucks. He also now has an East Boston restaurant and probably has the most District-wide reach of any likely candidate not currently holding office.
* no one is mentioning Winthrop school committeeman Tino Capobianco, who would probably back Adrian Madaro if he runs. but if Madaro does not, why not Capobianco ? He has the youth, the respect, the Italian last name, and the following.
* a new name entirely. And there are some. What of Francisco Urena, Hispanic in a District increasingly so, an East Boston resident, recently Governor Baker’s Veterans affairs Secretary, and before that, City of Boston veterans affairs commissioner ?

UPDATE 12/11/15 at 10 AM : Capobianco informs me that is not running. However, the East Boston Times reports two additional names : Winthrop Housing Authority’s Joe Boncore, and East Boston activist Ernest DeAraujo.

Of all the likely candidates, it’s interesting to note that none, not even Urena, is especially allied to Boston Mayor Walsh. (Joe Ruggiero, Walsh’s candidate in the recent State Representative special election, is evidently not running for this seat.) Petrucelli was a Walsh supporter in the crucial 2013 race. His leaving office is not at all good news for a Mayor who has struggled to solidify a constituency in a senate District most of whose Boston precincts he lost badly.

Meanwhile, almost all the likely candidates have strong ties to Governor Baker. That should hardly be a surprise given that Baker won more than half the District’s Boston precincts and was beaten badly in none. Petrucelli, on the other hand, was on the other side of the Governor battle. His leaving office is a big plus for the Governor’s political strength in Boston’s most tradition-bound Senate district. It’s also a huge plus for Carlo Basile, East Boston’s former representative, who has outlasted all rivals, now directs Baker’s appointments office, and of all East Bostonians, enjoys unrivaled influence in the halls of state decsion making.

Next : what role, if any, will Speaker DeLeo play in this selection ?

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

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