Winthrop official takes 7-way state Senate race

Joseph Boncore.
Joseph Boncore.(handout)

Joseph Boncore, a member of the Winthrop Housing Authority, declared victory Tuesday night in a seven-way state Senate Democratic primary to represent the First Suffolk and Middlesex District seat long held by an East Boston resident.

“Tomorrow the work begins,” Boncore, a Winthrop resident, said by phone. “I never felt better. I got a lot of thanks to say right now.”

According to unofficial results, Boncore beat out a crowded field. Because there were no Republicans running, he is, for all practical purposes, the general election winner, too.

The seat opened up this year when Democrat Anthony Petruccelli resigned to take a job as a lobbyist. His departure opened the door for the crowded field of contenders — all Democrats — to fill a seat long held by white men from East Boston. And now, for the first time in decades, the economically and racially diverse district that includes parts of Boston, Cambridge, Winthrop, and Revere, will be represented by someone from outside the neighborhood.

Seven candidates fought for the seat: Two were women of color, one lived in Winthrop, one lived in Beacon Hill, and two were residents of Revere — one the former mayor and the other a sitting city councilor.


Just over 16,000 ballots were cast in Tuesday’s special election — about 17 percent of registered voters, according to unofficial election results from Boston, Winthrop, Cambridge, and Revere.

The results show Boncore won with 4,013 votes; Dan Rizzo, former mayor of Revere, was second with 3,626 votes; state Representative Jay Livingstone of Beacon Hill had 2,807 votes; Lydia Edwards, a human rights attorney from East Boston, had 2,280 votes; Diana Hwang, founder of a political nonprofit, garnered 2,085 votes; Revere City Councilor Steven Morabito had 607 votes; and Paul Rogers, an East Boston business owner, had 175 votes.


The primary was largely sleepy, although things turned testy in the final days of the race after two mailers sent from an outside group attacked Rizzo for supporting Republican candidates in the past. Commonwealth Magazine reported that the mailers were sent by Mass Values PAC, which, according to state records, spent $7,432.32 supporting Boncore, Edwards, Hwang, and Livingstone and opposing Rizzo. A second group, Democrats for Education Reform, spent more than $40,000 supporting Rizzo, records show.

The Senate seat was long considered “the Eastie seat” not just because someone from the neighborhood represented it but because it was the part of the district that long turned out the most voters.

Also Tuesday, voters on the South Shore voters held Democratic and Republican primaries for a seat vacated when Robert Hedlund left to become mayor of Weymouth.

According to the state Democratic Party, the Democratic primary winner was Joan Meschino.

According to the state Republican Party, Weymouth Town Council president Patrick O’Connor beat Stephen Gill in the GOP primary.

Meschino and O’Connor will now face off on May 10, for the right to represent voters in Cohasset, Duxbury, Hingham, Hull, Marshfield, Norwell, Scituate, and Weymouth.

“The MassGOP is proud to congratulate Patrick on his primary victory,” party chair Kirsten Hughes said in statement. “With his proven record as Weymouth’s town council president, Patrick O’Connor will be a strong successor to Bob Hedlund in the state Senate.”

Democratic Party chairman Tom McGee said, “I’m excited to get to work on the South Shore electing Joan Meschino our next state senator.”


Akilah Johnson can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @akjohnson1922.