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Jeffrey Turco wins 19th Suffolk special election to fill DeLeo’s seat

Boston Herald logo Boston Herald 3/31/2021 Lisa Kashinsky
a group of people standing in a parking lot: WINTHROP, MA. - March 30: Jeff Turco who is running for State Representative with his family in Winthrop, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald) © Provided by Boston Herald WINTHROP, MA. - March 30: Jeff Turco who is running for State Representative with his family in Winthrop, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Winthrop and Revere voters are sending a self-described moderate Democrat who once voted for former President Donald Trump to Beacon Hill to fill the 19th Suffolk District representative seat vacated by former House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

Jeffrey Turco cruised to victory with 57.3% of the vote — or 1,861 of the 2,800 ballots cast in the low-turnout special election, according to unofficial tallies from the district that spans Winthrop and part of Revere. Over 400 write-in ballots were still being tallied as of press time.

“I’m obviously honored. I’m humbled by the support of the people of the 19th Suffolk district,” Turco told the Herald. “I also recognize the great responsibility that I’m assuming by filling the seat vacated by Bob DeLeo.”

Unenrolled candidate Richard Fucillo Jr., in his first election at age 22, earned 14.6% of the vote with 473 ballots cast in his favor. Republican Paul Caruccio, who’s run for this seat twice before and lost to DeLeo both times, finished third with 466 votes, or 14.3%.

“I’m incredibly proud of everything I’ve done as well as what my team has done,” Fucillo told the Herald, adding that voters will “absolutely” see him run for office again.

Turco, an attorney who served on Winthrop’s Town Council and School Committee, said he’d use his time on Beacon Hill to “try to fill the gap in vocational education” and put more resources toward helping those suffering from substance abuse and mental illness.

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Turco, a Trump-turned-Biden voter, notched his victory Tuesday just four weeks after leaving progressives smarting following the four-way Democratic primary he won against more liberal candidates.

“The people of this district came together to elect a moderate Democrat, but I’m going to work to represent everybody in the party as best I can,” Turco said Tuesday, adding that he expected disparate Dems would find common ground on environmental justice, for starters.

“We’re not going to agree on everything,” Turco said. “But we can still work together.”

Jonathan Cohn of Progressive Massachusetts, which backed Juan Jaramillo in the Democratic primary, said a number of Turco’s “positions put him clearly on the conservative flank of the Democratic caucus” and to the right of his predecessor DeLeo.

Cohn said the election results also show the need for redistricting in places like Revere for more “equitable representation.”

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