State Rep. Liz Miranda, a Roxbury native and the daughter of Cape Verdean immigrants, won Tuesday’s Democratic primary to succeed state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, besting another state representative, a former federal housing official, and a longtime seat holder seeking a comeback.
With no Republican candidate expected in November, Miranda is set to take office as the next senator from the Second Suffolk District in January.
The city’s unofficial tally out of some 18,000 votes cast, showed Miranda with 33.2 percent of the vote, with 98 percent of precincts reported. Rep. Nika Elugardo came in second, with 27.4 percent, while Dianne Wilkerson, who served as state senator before she was ousted in a 2008 Democrat primary, garnered 21.5 percent. Miniard Culpepper, a local senior pastor and former federal housing official, earned 15 percent and first-time candidate James E. Grant 2.6 percent.
Just over 18,100 people cast votes in the district.
Miranda let her emotions out in her victory speech at Prince Hall. “They say I’m too flashy, too social, but this is your next Second Suffolk senator. There were times when I wanted to give up, a lot of times when I went to college, and I’d come back home crying and say, ‘I can’t do this.’ My mom would say, ‘Get back on that bus and you’re not only going to do this, but you’re going to finish at the top.’ And I did. That encouragement and love is what all the kids in the Second Suffolk deserve.”
Miranda pledged to be a “different type” of leader on Beacon Hill. “I have fresh ideas and fresh eyes,” she said. “I am one of the city’s own. I’m a daughter of this city. Yes, I wear lipstick and I’ve got nails, but, more importantly, I have hope and heart. Those are two things that you cannot buy.”
Chang-Diaz, who did not endorse in the race, made an appearance at the party and said she was “proud to be handing the 2nd Suffolk reins to my sister in service.” A Jamaica Plain Democrat, Chang-Diaz left the seat open after opting to run for governor, though she suspended her campaign earlier this year.
The Second Suffolk includes Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, the South End, Fenway, and Mission Hill.