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Sanders, Kennedy, Healey wade into 19th Suffolk race to replace DeLeo


Big names are wading into the special election to fill Robert DeLeo’s 19th Suffolk seat as the primary nears.

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Juan Pablo Jaramillo on Friday, a key pickup for the Democratic State Committee member and 32BJ SEIU political coordinator from Revere that quickly energized his supporters online.

“For decades @BernieSanders has been fighting for working class Americans & inspired millions of young people to take back their country from the rich & the well connected. I am one of them & I could not be more humbled by his trust in me to continue that fight for YOU,” Jaramillo tweeted.

State Attorney General Maura Healey and former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III have both endorsed Valentino Capobianco, a Winthrop School Committee member and former chief of staff to state Sen. Paul Feeney.

Kennedy called Capobianco a “dedicated public servant” committed to “integrity, hard work, and getting the job done.” He’s set to appear with Capobianco on Sunday as candidates vying to replace former House Speaker DeLeo ramp up campaigning ahead of the March 2 primary.

The heavy-hitter endorsements may seem a bit eye-popping for an off-cycle state representative race.

But Boston-based political strategist Wilnelia Rivera said there are “many Bernie activists and organizers behind Juan,” including Chelsea City Councilor Damali Vidot. Sanders is widely popular in Massachusetts, and finished second in the state’s presidential primary — ahead of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Healey, a possible contender for governor in 2022, has waded into local politics before, endorsing candidates for city council, state representative and senator, and governor’s council. She’s also thrown her weight behind candidates in higher-profile races, like last year’s crowded 4th Congressional District Democratic primary.

Kennedy is in the midst of a return to the political scene after a brutal primary loss to U.S. Sen. Edward Markey put a pin in his time on Capitol Hill. He’s recently launched his grassroots organizing-focused Groundwork Project to help elect Democrats and broaden the party’s base. And while he laughed off the idea of running for governor in 2022 in an interview with the Herald, strategists say he’s likely keeping the door open for another run at political office.

Capobianco and Jaramillo join fellow Democrats Alicia DelVento and Jeffrey Turco, both of Winthrop, on the March 2 primary ballot. Turco leads the field in fundraising with $72,077 as of mid-February, followed by Capobianco with $55,729, DelVento with $43,211 and Jaramillo with $29,931.

Republican Paul Caruccio has raised $1,350. Independent candidate Richard Fucillo has raised $4,450. The special election is March 30.



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