The special elections just keep on coming. In less than three weeks, voters in parts of Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, and Milton will choose the Democratic nominee in the race to replace Linda Dorcena Forry.
The Democratic primary for state representative, featuring three candidates who have all worked in some capacity on Beacon Hill, is set for Aug. 13. The winner will face off against two independents in the general special selection on Sept. 10.
Dorcena Forry, who now represents Dorchester, Mattapan, and South Boston in the state Senate, is staying neutral in the race. So is Corey Allen, a civic and political activist in Mattapan. Two candidates – Dan Cullinane, who worked for state Rep. Marty Walsh, and Stephanie Everett, a former aide to state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz – have been the most aggressive in reaching out to voters like him, Allen said on Tuesday.
Allen noted that the winner of the Democratic primary will likely win in September, given the deeply blue make-up of the district, which has for many decades repeatedly sent Democrats to Beacon Hill. “Whoever wins, either Dan or Stephanie, in my opinion, will have a strong chance of taking the seat,” said Allen, who has been focused on supporting Hyde Park Councillor Rob Consalvo in the race for mayor.
The third Democrat in the primary is Mary Tuitt, an aide to state Rep. Gloria Fox who goes by “Ms. Mary” on her campaign literature.
Two independents – Lincoln Larmond of Mattapan and Edmond Romulus of Milton – await the Democratic nominee in the September finale.
The campaign for Dorcena Forry’s seat in the 12th Suffolk District, much like the state Senate race that she won this spring, remains largely under the radar. The 12-candidate mayor’s race has dominated the interest of political junkies as the trial of gangster James “Whitey” Bulger and the tribulations of former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez seemingly have overshadowed everything else in the news.
But Cullinane and Everett continue to knock on doors and rack up endorsements in the sprint to the primary. A recent report on the website for the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance showed Cullinane had raised $21,891 and ended June with a balance of $15,461. Everett raised $4,240 and spent $964, exiting the month of June with a balance of $3,275.
As to backers, Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins and state Sen. Brian A. Joyce of Milton endorsed Cullinane at a campaign rally on Tuesday night at the Carter American Legion Post in Mattapan. The candidate, who has worked for former City Councillor Maureen Feeney and state Attorney General Martha Coakley, has also picked up endorsements from the state AFL-CIO and other unions inside and outside the district.
Everett, who has the support of her former boss, Chang-Diaz, and the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, brings an uplifting personal story to the table – a mother at age 19 and homeless at age 20 before going to Northeastern University and Suffolk Law School and eventually passing the bar exam – acknowledges the difficulty of getting voters to pay attention as dozens of candidates are running for mayor and City Council. “A lot of people need to be reminded there’s another election going on,” she said.
Cullinane, who has his own personal story – he was adopted at four months old by a union official and a Boston Public Schools secretary –currently serves as the vice president of the Cedar Grove Civic Association. “I’ve been working behind the scenes every day trying to make the community a better place,” he said.
Tuitt, the third candidate, was born on the island of Montserrat and served for 14 years in the US Navy.
Both Everett and Tuitt ran for public office in 2011, when Maureen Feeney decided against running for reelection to the City Council. Neither made it to the final, and Cullinane managed the campaign of John O’Toole, the runner-up.
Tuitt said she is reintroducing herself to voters while ratcheting down her State House job to part-time. “I love this type of weather,” she said while campaigning during a hot day last week. “I’m not at the beach, but I love it.”