Collins and Dorcena Forry hail their endorsements

With less than five weeks left before the primary, the two frontrunners in the First Suffolk District race to replace former state Sen. Jack Hart accepted additional endorsements this week while ramping up their retail politicking to point out their supporters and win over voters.

Democratic State Reps. Nick Collins of South Boston and Linda Dorcena Forry of Dorchester crisscrossed the First Suffolk Senate District touting advantages they hope will provide the help needed to come out on top in the April 30 primary.

Collins, who once worked as an aide to Hart, held a late Tuesday press conference at the corner of Bowdoin Street and Geneva Avenue in Dorchester to announce the backing of several community activists, including William Celester, a former Boston Police superintendent, Larry Ellison, the head of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, Minister Don Muhammad, and Leonard Lee, former state director at the Department of Public Health.

An advisory promoting the press conference included the name of Kathy Gabriel, a former candidate for state representative. Gabriel said yesterday that she hasn’t endorsed anybody in the First Suffolk District and that she did not attend the press conference. The campaign said they received the list of names from Celester’s group, the “Communities United Committee.”

For its part, Rep. Forry’s camp touted an endorsement from the Ward 17 Democratic Committee and NARAL-Massachusetts, a pro-choice group. And in a replay from her first bid for public office in 2005, her campaign put up a billboard in Mattapan Square. Dorcena Forry, who has been a Dorchester state representative for eight years and the wife of Reporter publisher and editor Bill Forry, previously worked in City Hall’s Department of Neighborhood Development.

According to a campaign update sent to supporters, a reception with “Young Professionals for Linda Dorcena Forry” was scheduled for yesterday in Boston’s Financial District, with state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, state Rep. Carlos Henriquez and City Councillors Ayanna Pressley, Felix Arroyo, and Tito Jackson on the guest list.

Pressley introduced Dorcena Forry at a “Women for Ayanna” fundraiser last week at the Omni Parker House Hotel.

Maureen Dahill, a South Boston Democrat, and Joseph Ureneck, a Dorchester Republican, are also in the running for the Hart seat. Given the deep blue make-up of the district, the Democratic primary is expected to determine the person who will be sworn in at the State House after the May 28 special election.

As part of its coverage of the First Suffolk District race, the Reporter will highlight the candidates’ responses to a Reporter questionnaire in next week’s edition. The full text of the questionnaires will be available on the Reporter’s website: