Lit Drop | Primary behind him, Fifth Suffolk’s Worrell keeps pushing for votes

From left to right: District 4 Councillor Brian Worrell, House candidate Chris Worrell, and US Sen. Ed Markey. (Courtesy of Worrell campaign)

Since the September primary, House candidate Chris Worrell has knocked on doors with US Sen. Ed Markey and been the beneficiary of a Mayor Michelle Wu fundraiser.

Worrell, who is running for the Fifth Suffolk district seat, doesn’t have a Republican opponent. After he beat Danielson Tavares, a former top aide to Marty Walsh when they were in City Hall, and former councillor and state lawmaker Althea Garrison in the Democratic primary, the only other person on the Nov. 8 ballot is perennial candidate Roy Owens, who is running as an independent.

But Worrell still wants to remind people that there’s an election on the calendar.
He won the primary with 1,658 votes out of nearly 4,000 cast in the district, which includes 19 precincts across Dorchester and Roxbury.

“We have the worst voter turnout,” he told the Reporter this week. “What I’m trying to do right now is to bring out the vote to make sure our voices are heard.”

On Sept. 29, weeks after the primary, Wu, who backed Worrell over Tavares in the primary, headlined a fundraiser for Worrell at the Pollo Lounge and Grille on Bowdoin Street. And earlier this month, Sen. Markey joined Worrell and his brother, District 4 City Councillor Brian Worrell, to canvass the district, kicking off at the Fenelon playground on Merrill Street.

Worrell said he is looking forward to working with his brother. “With him on the City Council and me in the Legislature, we will ensure that there is a strong, united voice for Boston’s Black and Brown communities and a streamlined process for getting things done for our neighborhoods,” he said.

Worrell has also picked up support from his former opponent. “Donny is a friend,” Worrell said of Tavares, noting they both worked at City Hall. (Worrell, after he worked as an aide to state Sen. Nick Collins, was employed by the Boston Planning and Development Agency.)

“Whatever he does next, he has my full support,” Worrell added.

Tavares, for his part, has not yet decided on what’s next. Asked if he might throw his hat into the City Council ring, he said he has been keeping an eye on the redistricting process, as councillors redraw the political boundaries of the nine council districts. (Tavares lives in District 7, which is currently represented by Tania Fernandes Anderson.)

“Whatever I do, it will be rooted in community,” Tavares told the Reporter. “Everything I’ve done in the past, I’ve tried to make sure it has a focus on community-building.”

As for Worrell, Tavares said he’s looking forward to having him as his state representative. “I know he has a strong passion for the community,” he said. “I know he’s going to be responsive.”

Campaign regulators flag Palmer’s finance violations
Donnie Palmer, who ran for a City Council at-large seat in 2021 and came in 14th place in a 17-person preliminary, quickly set his sights on Congress last year. He’s now on the Nov. 8 ballot as a Republican running against Ayanna Pressley, a Boston Democrat.

But state campaign finance regulators would like a word with Palmer about last year’s Council run. In an Oct. 4 letter, regulators at the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) said they had reviewed his campaign activity and concluded that he broke state law. The law requires political committees to file finance reports, and all contributions over $50 must be itemized with the name and address of contributors, in addition to disclosures of vendors and expenditures over $50.

Palmer’s campaign committee disclosed $11,600 in receipts between April 2021 and November 2021. “Despite receiving numerous audit letters and phone calls from OCPF staff, your Committee has failed to file any deposit reports to disclose the source of the reported receipts,” the letter from regulators said. (Palmer apparently spent some of the money on local eateries.)

The regulators added that if Palmer did not file the reports within 30 days of the letter, OCPF may start legal proceedings to “prevent your name from appearing on a state or local ballot in Massachusetts.”

Two people are currently prohibited from appearing on the Massachusetts ballot after OCPF filed a complaint in Suffolk Superior Court: Sarah Genova Pimentel of East Boston, who ran for a state Senate seat in 2016, and Lindsey Esser of Monson, a state Senate candidate in 2018.

The OCPF letter was sent to Palmer’s former Dorchester address, his new address in Brighton, and his email address.

Palmer’s 2021 campaign was marked by racist online posts and false claims about the 2020 presidential election. A supporter of Donald Trump, Palmer falsely called Michelle Wu, a Chicago native running for mayor at the time, a “Chinese citizen.”

The Massachusetts GOP supported his City Council campaign with paid social media ads highlighting an endorsement from the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA). After the Reporter reached out about Palmer’s posts, the police union said they were unaware of them and his “statements do not reflect our values.”

Palmer’s Congressional campaign this year has continued in the same vein. He has not filed campaign finance reports with the Federal Elections Commission as the state GOP is again spending money on social media ads to support his candidacy.

When not attacking Pressley or Covid vaccines, Palmer has posted to social media links to a JFK Jr. conspiracy on YouTube and a graphic indicating a conspiracy to murder the late chef Anthony Bourdain, among others. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he wrote on Twitter.

Palmer has also said that if he is elected to Congress, he would support Trump as House speaker as well as the impeachment of President Biden.

In September, he posted a video to YouTube of his appearance at a Christian flag-raising ceremony in Revere. “I hope I pick up some votes from Revere this election,” he told the crowd.

The city of Revere is not in Pressley’s district and has Congresswoman Katherine Clark as its Capitol Hill representative.

Palmer did not respond to a request through his active Twitter accounts for comment on the OCPF letter.

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