Newcomer beats City Council veteran Charles Yancey in preliminary election

Andrea Campbell celebrated her victory in winning the District 4 preliminary election.

Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe

Andrea Campbell celebrated her victory in winning the District 4 preliminary election.

Political newcomer Andrea Joy Campbell, a Mattapan attorney, topped longtime City Councilor Charles C. Yancey in Tuesday’s preliminary election, setting up a battle royale as the neophyte and the veteran head into the final round of voting.

Tuesday’s contest wasn’t even close. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Campbell got 1,982 of 3,422 votes cast to Yancey’s 1,159, according to unofficial results from Boston’s Election Department.


Campbell and Yancey now have eight weeks to take their campaigns to the streets of District 4, which includes parts of Mattapan, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, and Dorchester. The Nov. 3 municipal election will determine the winner.

The other candidates on Tuesday’s District 4 ballot finished far behind the two front-runners. Terrance J. Williams, a deputy sheriff, captured 217 votes, and Jovan J. Lacet, an attorney who had dropped out of the race, had 60 votes, the unofficial results show.

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In the only other race on Boston’s ballot, District 7 Councilor Tito Jackson captured two-thirds of the ballots cast, with 1,408 votes. His closest challenger, Charles Clemons Jr., cofounder of TOUCH 106.1 FM radio, got 381 votes, unofficial results show.

The battle that got top billing, though, was the campaign pitting Campbell against Yancey.

Even before the votes were announced by the city, Campbell’s campaign sent off a press release hailing her triumph.


“Andrea Campbell has qualified for the general election,’’ her campaign declared.

Campbell said she was proud to have earned enough votes to continue her challenge against Yancey, adding she is confident the momentum from her campaign will “lead us to victory in November.”

“We always knew that this election would be a tough fight and would only be won by going door-to-door empowering voters to make their voices heard,’’ Campbell added in a statement.

Reached by phone, she said she began her day at 6 a.m. and voted promptly at 7 at the branch library in the Lower Mills section of Dorchester.

Campbell campaigned on a pledge to bring more accessibility and accountability to the council.

“I’m obviously a little tired. I was in the heat all day,’’ she said. “It was worth it just to greet voters. When I learned they voted for me, it was extremely humbling.”

Yancey, who has represented his district for 32 years, looked grim as he addressed about 30 supporters in Dorchester on Tuesday evening, calling the results “a wake-up call.”

‘Everyone should be concerned when someone with no real experience is getting more votes than someone with incredible experience.’

Charles Yancey, veteran Boston City Councilor who came in second place in Tuesday’s preliminary election 
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“We can’t afford to be complacent in this election,” he said, standing beside his wife and children. “What happened tonight will not happen in the final.”

City Councilor Charles Yancey spoke to supporters Tuesday after election results were released.

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

City Councilor Charles Yancey spoke to supporters Tuesday after election results were released.

He was met by loud applause and cheers. As his supporters listened to Michael Jackson music, ate, danced, and celebrated, Yancey stood at the back of the room. He said he was worried about the November vote.

“Everyone should be concerned when someone with no real experience is getting more votes than someone with incredible experience,” Yancey said in an interview after his remarks.

Yancey decried his opponent’s finances saying “too much money is being poured into this district race.” Campbell has raised more than $100,000 so far, substantially more than the incumbent.

At the event, Yancey’s supporters remained optimistic.

Bob Thornell of Dorchester said he was confident Yancey would win the final.

The only City Council races that drew enough candidates to force a preliminary election were in Districts 4 and 7.

The election came on the hectic first day of public school, after the daze of Labor Day weekend, and amid one of the hottest days of the year. Some 78,000 eligible voters reside in both districts, but barely 5,500 of them bothered to go to the polls Tuesday, a turnout of 7 percent.

“People were complaining about why was the election held’’ on the first day of school and after Labor Day, Jackson’s campaign manager, Ron Bell, said.

“Some people are back at school, and some people are not mentally back because they are coming from vacation, and some people are not physically back,’’ Bell said of the preliminary election day challenges. “But our crews were out working all day,’’ trying to get people to the polls.

Jackson hailed his grass-roots campaign, saying he brought a positive, forward-thinking approach to the race.

Heading into November, Jackson said, he will continue to champion his causes, such as ensuring neighborhood development continues without displacing residents, that small businesses prosper and grow, and that the achievement gap in education is closed.

“We have a lot of work to do,’’ he said. “I believe that the new energy that we brought’’ will carry us through to the November election.

Voters on Nov. 3 will select the 13 members of the City Council. Five of nine district councilors are running unopposed, and just a single challenger is seeking to unseat one of the four incumbents in at-large spots.

Meghan E. Irons can be reached at meghan.irons@ Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons. Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @jacktemp.
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