Following the resignation of recently imprisoned Massachusetts State Senator Anthony D. Galluccio on Tuesday, a slew of hopefuls are eyeing his now-vacant Senate seat.
In interviews with The Crimson yesterday, Timothy R. Flaherty, who ran against Galluccio for the Senate in 2007, and Daniel C. Hill, a Charlestown lawyer, both stated their intention to run. Galluccio’s chief of staff Sal DiDomenico and Cambridge City Councillors Marjorie C. Decker and E. Denise Simmons have been named as possible contenders in the race. In addition, the Boston Globe named real estate broker Michael Albano as a potential candidate.
Senate President Therese Murray has not yet announced whether a special election will be held to fill Galluccio’s seat, or if the seat will instead remain vacant until the scheduled election this fall. Murray has until Jan. 20 to set a date for a special election for the post, which represents the Middlesex, Suffolk, and Essex district.
“I am a candidate for the Senate seat because I care about education, human services, healthcare, and other progressive values that are threatened in these difficult economic times,” Flaherty said. “That’s why I ran before, and that’s why I’m running now."
In November, Hill had declared his intention to run against Galluccio for the seat in the fall of 2010. Hill had already formed a campaign committee, created a Web site, and begun soliciting donations. In light of recent events, Hill said he is “definitely running” for the now-open seat.
“I think people are sick of these distractions, these scandals that have been plaguing the State House for the past few years,” Hill said, naming several other state legislators who have resigned in recent years due to legal troubles. “It’s sad for Mr. Galluccio, but I think it’s time to move on and get someone in this seat who’s a professional—not a career politician.”
Decker, who is currently serving her sixth term on the Cambridge City Council, said in an interview with the State House News Service, “I’m certainly going to explore the seat. I think at this point it’s still a little premature.”
According to Robert Winters—creator of the Cambridge Civic Journal, a website that comments on local politics—an early special election, which he said probably could not take place until late February or March, would be most beneficial to Flaherty, who has run for this seat before and garnered regional name recognition.
“If there were, let’s say, a City Councillor running, nobody outside Cambridge knows who they are,” Winters said. “Over a longer time scale, someone relatively unknown in the rest of the district would have a little more time to buddy-buddy up to all the people you need to network with. In the short term, they have no time to do that. They’re invisible in the short term.”
Galluccio, who was elected in 2007 after Jarret T. Barrios stepped down to run a healthcare company, was sentenced Monday to a year in prison for violating the terms of his probation, which stemmed from an October hit-and-run accident in Cambridge that injured two people. Just three days after he was sentenced to home confinement in December, Galluccio broke his probation by failing a series of breathalyzer tests. Galluccio, who maintains that he did not consume alcohol after receiving the sentence, attributed the test results to his toothpaste and stated Tuesday in his letter of resignation that he intends to appeal the sentence.
Harvard Law School Professor Charles J. Ogletree told the Boston Herald yesterday that he was looking into helping Galluccio with his appeal, describing the senator as “a friend for a couple of decades." Ogletree represented Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in the professor's dispute with the Cambridge police earlier this year.
Several of the people who may run for Galluccio’s seat expressed their sympathy for the convicted senator.
“Frankly, the sentence imposed seems a little bit harsh,” Hill said.
“He did the right thing with regard to resigning,” said Paul R. Nowicki, who came in second to Galluccio in the 2007 race but told the Crimson he would not run for the seat again.
—Staff writer Julie M. Zauzmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.