Massachusetts House Primary Race Rocked by Allegations, Pulled Endorsements

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By Katie Lannan
State House News Service

As the Tuesday, March 2 special primary approaches for the House seat last held by former Speaker Robert DeLeo, one of four Democrats vying for the nomination is now facing a series of allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment.

GBH reported on Thursday on a series of allegations against Tino Capobianco, outlining instances from 2006 to 2016 that the news outlet said included “aggressively pursuing younger women, attempting sexual acts with non-consenting inebriated women, repeatedly asking to perform sexual acts in exchange for money after being told to stop, and unwanted and repeated sexual advances.”

Capobianco, during a MassVOTE forum Tuesday night, February 23, described the allegations as “categorically false” and said this was the “first time I am hearing of any grievances.” “I steadfastly support the right of anyone to feel safe and comfortable about coming forward regarding traumatic experiences, but I am obligated to defend myself to my family, my friends and my constituents,” the Winthrop School Committee member said.

The allegations, according to GBH, prompted Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III to withdraw their endorsements of Capobianco’s campaign.

State Senator Paul Feeney, for whom Capobianco served as chief of staff, pulled back his endorsement as well, saying in a statement, “Every allegation needs to be taken seriously, and the people who have bravely come forward need to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. They should be listened to and heard.”

Candidates seeking the 19th Suffolk seat are set to appear in a virtual forum hosted by State House News Service at 6 p.m. Thursday, February 25.