Progressive Dems Take Aim at DeLeo's Seat in Tuesday's Primary

Four candidates face off in Tuesday's Democratic primary ahead of a March 30 special election to choose a successor to the former House Speaker

NBC Universal, Inc.

Massachusetts state representative candidate Juan Jaramillo came to the United States when he was a child with his parents, fleeing violence in his native Colombia. Standing on Shirley Street in Revere this week, he said, “This community saved us.”

Jaramillo is now hoping to represent that portion of Revere, along with the town of Winthrop, on Beacon Hill -- the seat that former House Speaker Robert Deleo held for almost 30 years. It’s a special election that many consider a bellwether for the future of the state party.

Jaramillo, 27, was endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Ayanna Pressley. He's one of four Democrats running in Tuesday’s primary -- all with experience on Beacon Hill. 

Alicia DelVento, 26, calls herself a bold and compassionate Democrat. She is working on a master's degree in public health. She is the only woman in the race.

“Winthrop and Revere are built on strong women," she said. "I think it’s time we send one to Beacon Hill.”

“She’s playing smart politics here," Boston University professor Tom Whalen said. "They might flock to her candidacy just as an alternative.”

On the other end of the Democratic spectrum is attorney Jeff Turco. He calls himself a “working class Democrat.“

Pro-life, Turco voted for Donald Trump in 2016, but describes himself as a JFK moderate. 

But Whalen commented, “I think a lot of voters are skeptical whether he is more Trump than Biden."

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo said goodbye on Beacon Hill after 12 years.

Valentino Capobianco, who served on the Winthrop School Committee, was running strong until last week, when he lost two high-profile endorsements from Attorney General Maura Healey and former Congressman Joe Kennedy amidst allegations of sexual harassment -- which he has denied.

“He’s been damaged certainly, but I think there’s a shot," Whalen said.

Neither Turco nor Capobianco responded to NBC10 Boston's requests for an interview. 

The winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary will face both a Republican and an independent challenger on March 30.

Contact Us