In Near North Shore District, Conservative Democrat Jeff Turco Deserves Our Support

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Hey, conservatives, at least this once, please consider supporting the Democrat in the race.

From the looks of it, there is a real opportunity to get a conservative in the Massachusetts State House in the race to replace former House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), who stepped down at the end of last year to take a position at Northeastern University.

Six candidates are running to replace him. Each candidate’s last name ends in an “o” — but they are hardly all alike.

Four are on the Democratic side, one on the Republican side, and one unenrolled. The best choice here:  take a Democratic ballot and vote for Jeff Turco in the Tuesday, March 2 primary, if you can. (And if you’re a registered voter in Winthrop or certain portions of Revere who is either an enrolled Democrat or unenrolled — you can.)

Turco is not like the other Democrats in the race. He’s the candidate that NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts attacked.


In the past, on Facebook he has allegedly described himself as a Reagan Democrat; appears to have voted for Donald Trump (at least in 2016); is not a fan of former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Elizabeth Warren; doesn’t think biological men should use the women’s bathroom; and is pro-life.

That’s the worst they have on him. Sounds like a pretty good candidate to me. 

The Winthrop attorney’s issues page on his campaign web site does not wade into those kinds of social issues, but it’s great to think that someone in the race could bring conservative values to the State House. (He also has six kids, all in Catholic schools.)

Turco’s issues page talks about treating substance abuse, supporting educators and expanding vocational education opportunities, supporting the “women and men of our public safety community,” investing in public transportation, making sure Amazon doesn’t crush small businesses in Revere, and keeping water and sewer costs low for residents of the area. Those aren’t the stances of some hardened leftist.

But who knows? Maybe he’ll do something crazy on social issues like support parental consent for 16 and 17-year-old girls seeking abortions, not support letting boys play girls’ high school sports, not vote for defunding the police, and not turn Massachusetts into a sanctuary state. You know, the kinds of things most normal people agree with.

Not that experience is everything, but Turco has some that could help him as a state rep. He was a member of the school committee in Winthrop in the past as well as the town council president.

He’s not perfect. Like the other Democrats in the race, for instance, he supports the proposed economy-killing 4 percent surtax on million-dollar individual incomes. But on the flip side, he opposes raising the gas tax — which would hit poor people hard.

Meanwhile, if we look at the other candidates in the Democratic primary, we see people who are trying move this state in the wrong direction.

That includes Winthrop School Committee member Valentino Capobianco. He wants to expand the state’s already extreme abortion laws, raise the minimum wage above $15 an hour, implement cronyist tax credits for the film industry, and give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses and a pathway to citizenship. Oh, and he initially got the endorsement of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. (That evaporated when accusations of scandalous sexual behavior — which he denies — emerged earlier this week.)

The other two Democratic candidates in the race are about as bad for conservatives.

That includes Winthrop resident Alicia DelVento, who served as a communications director and policy adviser to state Representative Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) and a legislative aide to then-state Representative Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain). She supports the ROE Act and further expanding the state’s abortion laws, turning Massachusetts into a sanctuary state, a Green New Deal for Massachusetts, “a just transition to renewables,” and increased spending, according to her campaign web site. Oh, and she has the endorsement of the pro-abortion EMILY’s List.

In fact, the best thing you can say about her is that she has a Boston accent.

The other Democratic candidate in the race, Juan Jaramillo, has the endorsement of self-described democratic socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). He served as budget director for state Senator Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop) and is the political coordinator for 32BJ SEIU (Service Employees International Union).

Jaramillo’s policy page on his campaign web site is vague but talks about making the MBTA free, holding polluters accountable, and pursuing “regional policy solutions to the mental health and addiction crisis.” That doesn’t sound all that bad. But consider that he has the endorsement of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

The Nineteenth Suffolk District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives includes all of the town of Winthrop and parts of the eastern and central portions of the city of Revere (Ward 1, precincts 1 and 2; Ward 2; Ward 3, precincts 2 and 3; and Ward 5, precinct 3).

In a four-way Democratic primary with three hard-left candidates and one normal person, the normal person may have a chance in this one.

And sorry to the Republicans out there:  your candidate will not win this race. Winthrop resident Paul Caruccio, the Republican candidate in the race, has no online presence — which is not a good sign a week out from an election. He has run for this seat twice in the past, and DeLeo clobbered him both times. In 2012, he got 22.3 percent of the vote against DeLeo, and in 2014, he got 28.2 percent.

Caruccio, a longtime local small business owner and competitive runner and swimmer, has stood up for conservative values — including opposing the millionaires’ income surtax, a gas tax increase, and the Transportation and Climate Initiative fuel fee. And props to him for taking on the challenge and giving voters an alternative to DeLeo.

But it’s not a Republican district — or even an open-to-Republicans district. And as of Sunday, February 21, Caruccio had raised a whopping $1,350, according to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance. That may be the best a Republican can do in this area, but it’s not going to get it done.

Even the unenrolled candidate in the race, Richard Fucillo Jr., has a campaign web site. He wants to bust the little monopolies that Internet service providers build in towns, provide low-interest loans to small businesses, provide more resources to police and fire departments, and create programs in schools to combat the opioid epidemic, among other things.

Not sure where Fucillo is on social issues, but let’s give him credit for running. He’s only 22 and is a 2017 Winthrop High grad, an Emerson College student, and seems like a bright young man. However, an unenrolled candidate probably can’t win this race in a deeply Democratic district. 

So if we understand that we live in a Democratic state and that this district is also Democratic, then it follows that a Democrat will win the race. Conservatives — including Republicans — should give each Democratic candidate a serious look. Turco looks to be the best possible option.

In this election, the Democratic primary is the general election. With four candidates in the race, we may see someone win with fewer than 50 percent of the vote. The winner of that primary is a lock to win the special election on March 31.

Turco’s your man in this one.