Patrick tends to staffing; Dot residents filling key slots

Facing a rocky re-election battle, Gov. Deval Patrick is beefing up his campaign staff, including some familiar faces from Boston’s political scene. Patrick, a Milton Democrat, has also hired a Dorchester resident as a deputy campaign manager with a focus on community relations.

Nurys Camargo, originally from Miami, moved to Dorchester’s Adams Village five years ago. “It’s a nice vibrant and progressive community,” she said. “I can get around very easy.” The 34-year-old Latina said she’ll be pushing the governor’s message to various constituencies around the state. “It’s informing people of what we’re doing, how we’re doing it,” she told the Reporter. “Even though the economy isn’t the best economy, we’ve been doing a pretty good job. You do good things and it’s up for one day and people forget.”
Patrick is struggling with sagging poll numbers and has drawn five opponents looking to unseat him.

Camargo previously served as chief policy and special assistant to MassBay Community College President Carole Joseph. A graduate of New York’s Baruch College and Mount Ida College, she has also served as regional field organizer for President Obama’s 2008 campaign. She has worked for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley and U.S. Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004.

Among the raft of other hires Patrick’s campaign has announced: Deborah Shah, who worked as a regional field director for Patrick in 2006, is returning as deputy campaign manager for operations. Shah worked on state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz’s 2008 campaign, where her candidate beat former Sen. Dianne Wilkerson in the Democratic primary for the Second Suffolk District seat. She also worked on Setti Warren’s successful campaign for Newton mayor and briefly served as chief of staff to City Council President Michael Ross.

Reuben Kantor, also a former Ross chief-of-staff and Patrick campaign worker, is returning as senior field adviser. Grove Hall’s Tito Jackson, who fell short of gaining an at-large seat on the City Council last year, is Patrick’s political director.

Joyce Linehan, president of local public relations firm Ashmont Media, is helping out the campaign coordinating of Dorchester-based volunteers such as herself. She has also volunteered on U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano’s unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate in the December Democratic primary.

Patrick is expected to face off a crowded field. Former health care executive Charlie Baker recently kicked off his campaign at Faneuil Hall. He will face business magnate Christy Mihos in a Republican primary.

“The politicians on Beacon Hill are letting us down,” Baker said, according to the State House News Service. “Whether it’s the spending, the arrogance, the lack of urgency and focus on getting people back to work, the taxpayer dollars that are being spent on legal bills associated with ethics and criminal charges, the resignations one after another in disgrace.”

Treasurer Timothy Cahill is also running as an independent, having left the Democratic Party last year.

Running to his left, Patrick will have Dr. Jill Stein, who is running under the Green-Rainbow Party banner. “With four competing candidates, this race can be won with as little as 26 percent of the vote,” Stein said in a statement.

Patrick is largely expected to easily win Boston, as he did in the 2006 campaign. But it will be the other parts of the state he has to worry about, as state Sen. Scott Brown’s U.S. Senate win showed last month.

Brown won precincts in Dorchester’s Neponset area, though Martha Coakley won Boston. But it was the suburbs that helped him topple the Democratic nominee and, until the last few weeks of the campaign, the presumed frontrunner.

“If you had told me that three weeks prior to the election that Scott Brown would be a U.S. Senator, I would have said I don’t think so,” said state Rep. Marty Walsh, a Savin Hill Democrat who is supporting Patrick’s re-election effort. “Anything can happen in politics. The ball is in the governor’s court. I think he does have a message to tell.” The message includes a passel of reforms Patrick pushed through the Legislature, including overhauls of the state’s pension rules, the transportation bureaucracy and ethics laws.

“All the reforms that he did, he needs to explain to people,” Walsh said. “I don’t think he’s had the opportunity.”

Material from State House News Service was used in this report.