Conservative Democrat Jeff Turco Dominating Fund-Raising Game In 19th Suffolk District Special Election Race

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Does money win elections?

We may find out tomorrow.

In the race to replace former House Speaker Bob DeLeo (D-Winthrop) in the 19th Suffolk District of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, one candidate has vastly outraised the rest:  attorney and former Winthrop Town Council President Jeff Turco. As of Monday morning, his campaign had raised nearly double what any of the other five people running for the seat had.

Turco led the way as of Monday morning with 272 contributions totaling $135,277, according to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance. The figure includes a $25,000 loan from him to the campaign — by far the largest loan any candidate gave to his own campaign. His campaign’s last finance report came on January 31, but this data includes funds raised through February 21.

After Turco, Revere resident Juan Jaramillo was third on the list. Jaramillo, who served as budget director for state Senator Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop) and is the political coordinator for 32BJ SEIU (Service Employees International Union), had raised $72,201.35 on 751 donations, according to Office of Campaign and Political Finance records. Jaramillo’s figure includes donations through Sunday, February 28.

After Jaramillo, Winthrop school committee member Valentino Capobianco is a distant third in the fund-raising game. He had 301 contributions totaling $62,654 as of Monday morning, according to state political finance records. Capobianco lent his campaign $12,000. The figures are through February 26, but the last official campaign finance report from Capobianco is from January 31. Jaramillo is the only candidate as of noon Monday, March 1 to have filed a complete report of campaign contributions for February 2021.

Capobianco, who served as the chief of staff for state Senator Paul Feeney (D-Foxborough) before running for state representative, has been the subject of controversy in the race amid sexual misconduct allegations — from both men and women. As a result, he lost the endorsements of Feeney, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton). Capobianco has denied the charges.

The lone woman in the race, Winthrop resident Alicia DelVento, was in fourth in fund raising. DelVento, who served as a communications director and policy adviser to state Representative Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) and as a legislative aide to then-state Representative Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain), had raised $47,190.99 from 275 donations as of Monday morning, according to state records. Her figures are through February 25, but the last official report from her campaign was on January 31.

Neither Jaramillo nor DelVento had lent their campaigns money.

Outside of the Democratic primary, the two candidates set to appear on the March 30 general election ballot are far behind in the fund-raising game.

Winthrop resident Paul Caruccio is the Republican candidate in the race. As of Monday morning, he had raised $2,200 from 21 donations through February 26, according to his Office of Campaign and Political Finance data. His campaign’s last official report came on January 31. Caruccio was the Republican nominee in the district twice before:  first in 2012 and once again in 2014. He suffered resounding defeats to DeLeo each time, receiving 22.3 percent of the vote the first time he ran and 28.2 percent the second time, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s election data. In addition to the district being located in Suffolk County, those election results are an indicator that the district is overwhelmingly Democratic.  

Additionally, the unenrolled candidate in the race, Winthrop resident Richard Fucillo is also low on funds compared to the Democrats. He had 17 contributions totaling $4,747.00 through March 1, state records show. His campaign’s last official finance report came on January 31. That included a $1,000 contribution from himself to the campaign. He is a 2017 Winthrop High graduate and a student at Emerson College in Boston.

The 19th 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).