It escaped the immediate attention of the daily press in Boston this week, but Tuesday’s nomination of Dan Cullinane by Democratic voters in the 12th Suffolk District certainly merits more than a glancing look from the city’s political class. The 28-year-old Dorchester resident won a decisive victory across the district, which includes his home base area around Cedar Grove, but also farther-flung precincts in Hyde Park, where voters of color have been gaining serious clout in recent elections.
Cullinane, who is white, beat out two well-qualified women of color for the nomination: Stephanie Everett and Marydith Tuitt. His campaign was better financed, but he also seemed to run a more robust volunteer-driven effort that drew seasoned political activists under his tent from across the district. That paid off on Tuesday, as Cullinane carried both predominantly white and black precincts alike on his way to a convincing win. It’s a reminder that the right candidate can — and will — upend conventional wisdom about racial voting patterns by building a bonafide multicultural campaign. Those who make presumptions about voters based just on their skin color — or gender — would be well advised to take note of the results of this election.
Cullinane still must win over voters in a final election, in which he’ll face opposition from two independent candidates, Edmond Romulus and Lincoln Larmond. He’ll be heavily favored on Sept. 10 as the Democratic nominee. (In the interest of full disclosure, Cullinane has been endorsed in the final election by his predecessor, Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, a fellow Democrat who is also my wife. She stayed neutral prior to the primary balloting on Tuesday.)
On a more troubling note, Tuesday’s election was marred by a very poor turnout. Some blame voter “fatigue,” summer vacation schedules, or the mayoral race just now ramping into full gear. We would add to it the astounding fact that — aside from an endorsement of Cullinane by the Globe last Saturday — not a single line of newsprint about the 12th Suffolk race was expended by either daily news outlet in our city over the last three months. The papers’ lack of interest in the election may not be the primary culprit in the low turnout, but it certainly was not helpful.
Forward on the Greenway
The news that the Patrick administration has committed to paying for the long-delayed expansion of the Neponset Greenway trail will make next week’s tour of the proposed route into Mattapan and Milton all the more interesting. Planners from the state’s Dept. of Conservation and Recreation will lead the Wed. evening (Aug. 21) tour, along with longtime Greenway advocates from the Boston Natural Areas Network. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. from the Central Ave. stop on the Mattapan high-speed trolley line.
A compromise route that will extend the current Greenway from its terminus at Central Ave. into Milton and then across into Mattapan Square has been in place for the last two years. The tour will also show off a new piece of land acquired by the DCR last year: An old furniture building at Mattapan Square that will one day be converted into a visitor’s center for the Greenway. It’s a great chance for trail stakeholders and novices alike to get a glimpse into the now not-so-distant future of reclaiming access to the Neponset.