(State House News Service) — East Boston is bracing for a First Suffolk House brawl in early 2015, with Rep. Carlo Basile expected to leave for incoming Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration in January and set off a special election to fill his seat.
Three candidates, all Democrats, have already set up campaign committees, which gives them the opportunity to start fundraising before the end of 2014 and then go back to potential donors for another maximum contribution in 2015.
The candidates include Adrian Madaro, a 26-year-old Basile aide; Edward Deveau, a 32-year-old adviser and former aide to Sen. Anthony Petruccelli (D-East Boston); and Joseph Ruggiero, a 27-year-old licensed funeral home director who worked on Marty Walsh’s 2013 run for Boston mayor.
Local Democratic Party activist Ileana Cintron, 42, said Thursday she is considering a run.
Celeste Myers, who ran as an unenrolled candidate against Basile in 2014 and lost by 3,432 votes, told the News Service she is interested in running again but looking at the logistics of waging another campaign.
According to watchers of East Boston politics, the list of potential contenders could include Camilo Hernandez, an aide to East Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina; local Democratic activist and past House candidate Gloribell Mota; and attorney Louis Scapicchio. Additional candidates could surface in the coming weeks.
Basile, former chief of staff at the state Registry of Motor Vehicles, has served in the House since 2007. Baker has tapped Basile, a Democrat, as chief secretary. He will oversee the administration’s appointments to various boards and commissions.
East Boston is home to Logan International Airport and the Suffolk Downs racetrack, which partnered with Mohegan Sun in an unsuccessful bid for a resort casino license. The neighborhood, which previously drew Canadians and Irish immigrants, is currently made up of Italian-Americans and immigrants from Central and South America.
Fifty percent of East Boston’s population is foreign-born, “the highest percentage of all Boston’s neighborhoods,” according to the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Most of the foreign-born population come from Colombia and El Salvador.
“Numbers are growing in places that didn’t used to have the numbers showing up at the polls,” said Cintron. “It’s a community in transition, it’s a community that’s growing.”
Given Boston’s deeply Democratic make-up, most of the electoral action will likely take place in the primary.
Ruggiero, who like the other two official candidates has Italian roots, said he hoped to bring some “unity” as a state representative to the diverse neighborhood.
“You hear a different name every day,” Ruggiero said, referring to the expected race. “I think everyone’s very excited what’s in store for the neighborhood as a whole.”
Ruggiero was a field organizer for Mayor Walsh in East Boston, which Walsh won over City Councilor At-Large John Connolly by 66 votes. Ruggiero has tapped a Walsh campaign senior adviser, Chris Keohan, as a political consultant for his campaign.
Deveau, who has served as Petruccelli’s chief of staff, worked as deputy campaign manager of former Hyde Park City Councilor Rob Consalvo’s bid for Boston mayor last year, and followed Petruccelli in switching his support to Walsh after the preliminary.
Citing his State House experience, Deveau, who has French Canadian and Italian roots, said, “I feel like I can hit the ground running, there’s no learning curve for me.”
The third candidate, Madaro, also has State House experience, serving as Basile’s chief of staff. Sage Systems, a consulting firm, has signed onto his campaign, and Liana LaMattina, a former aide to the late Mayor Thomas Menino, will be his campaign manager.
Ernani DeAraujo, also a former Menino aide, is serving as Madaro’s campaign chair.
DeAraujo, whose family hails from Colombia and Brazil, decided against a run and praised Madaro’s work as chief of staff.
“I’m not foreclosing it for the future, but Adrian’s the best candidate for the job,” he said.
“I think special elections are tough because they pop up and people don’t get to plan for it,” DeAraujo added.
The special election date will likely be set sometime in January, after Basile officially steps down.