State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry on Tuesday eked out a win in a three-way Democratic primary as part of a special election to replace former state Sen. Jack Hart in the First Suffolk Senate District seat, her campaign said. Dorcena Forry, a Dorchester Democrat, bested state Rep. Nick Collins of South Boston and Maureen Dahill, who also lives in South Boston, her camp said.
Campaign manager Cayce McCabe said by their count, Dorcena Forry, who was first elected to the Massachusetts House in 2005, won by 370 votes.
The lawmaker, who entered her party at the Phillips Old Colony House to the Fugees' "Ready or Not," credited her get-out-the-vote organization. "We were in the community, we were on the ground," she said. "We had people at every poll."
At the Blarney Stone, where Collins supporters were having their election night party, James Baker said the race was unlikely to be over on Tuesday night.
Collins later joined his supporters at the restaurant. "We're not going to have anything for you tonight, unfortunately," Collins said.
Earlier in the day, the Collins campaign raised concerns over ballots that did not include the state Senate race. They were found in two South Boston wards.
As of 10:22 p.m. on Tuesday, the website for the city’s Election Department showed an unofficial tally: Dorcena Forry with 10,214 votes, while Collins picked up 9,836 votes, with 77 of 77 precincts reporting. Dahill came in third with 1,593 votes.
Due to the heavily Democratic make-up of the First Suffolk District, Dorcena Forry, if she does indeed win the nomination, is seen likely to cruise to a win in the May 28 general election against Dorchester Republican Joseph Ureneck. Dorcena Forry is married to Bill Forry, the editor of the Reporter.
The First Suffolk seat, held for decades by South Boston Democrats, includes South Boston, most of Dorchester, Mattapan, and a portion of Hyde Park.
Overshadowed by another special election on the ballot – five people jockeyed to succeed former US Sen. John Kerry in Democratic and Republican primaries on Tuesday – and a compelling early mayoral campaign in Boston, the state Senate campaign was under-covered by Boston's two daily newspapers. The April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon, their aftermath, and a blizzard in February also steered the headlines away from the state campaign.
On Tuesday night, the Associated Press and the Boston Globe called the election for Collins. While Collins appeared to have an early and significant lead, the unofficial vote totals posted on the website for the city’s Election Department showed a tightening race as the night wore on.
The three Democratic state Senate candidates and their surrogates crisscrossed the district throughout the day as their supporters stood outside polling locations, often next to signature gatherers seeking voters who could sign mayoral nomination papers.
At one point, all three contenders converged on Florian Hall, home to two crucial Dorchester precincts, to greet voters.
If Dorcena Forry wins the special general election, another lively special election is likely. Potential candidates for her seat include two Mattapan residents; Stephanie Everett, a former aide to state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain), and Mary Tuitt, who works for state Rep. Gloria Fox (D-Roxbury).
The two ran in the 7-person preliminary for the District 3 City Council seat in 2011. Neither made it to the final election, which was won by Savin Hill’s Frank Baker.
UPDATE: This story was updated at 1:16 a.m. with details from the Dorcena Forry and Collins camps' parties.