Jon Santiago burned through several pairs of shoes and knocked his knuckles raw in the campaign for state representative, but it all paid off as in the end it resulted in a 10-point win over veteran State Rep. Byron Rushing – who has represented the district for more than 30 years.
Santiago’s campaign was particularly noted for identifying voters – sometimes voters who were disconnected from the process – and finding them in person, usually by knocking on their doors. In using that strategy and in staying close to the community, he prevailed on Tuesday 48 percent (2,230 votes) to Rushing’s 38 percent (1,758 votes). Candidate Suzanne Bruce collected 14 percent of the vote, or 653 votes. The district represents parts of the South End, Back Bay, Fenway, and Roxbury.
“I think Tuesday was definitely a big day for the neighborhood, the district, each community and the people of the South End, Back Bay, Fenway and Roxbury,” he said. “Byron Rushing has been a great representative and represented the district well for 30-plus years. He leaves a tremendous legacy that was built on the legacy of Mel King. I look forward to extending that legacy and taking the progressive values that we share and making them into progressive policies at the State House.”
Santiago said his campaign knocked on 18,000 doors, with Santiago knocking on 8,000 doors himself. Rushing, who is in a leadership position in the House as the assistant majority leader, also campaigned tirelessly, but seemingly Santiago reached an audience that Rushing’s campaign couldn’t penetrate.
While Santiago did toe to toe in the traditional vote troves of the South End, he also enlivened the Spanish speaking community in Villa Victoria, Hampton House and Washington Manor – areas that aren’t often key points in an election.
They were this time, and they went decidedly for Santiago.
At Villa Victoria, Santiago won 258 to 141. At the Washington Manor Apartments, Santiago won 256 to 182. Finally, at the Hampton House, Santiago scored his biggest victory 436 to 234.
“There’s no doubt voters came out in Villa Victoria and some parts of Roxbury and they played a major role in this election,” he said. “I think we also did very well in other areas of the community across the board. To me, what we saw is the Latino community coming out and they are usually not listened to or included in elections. They showed they are a neighborhood and a force to be reckoned with. We should be addressing their concerns when we addess community issues.”
Santiago won seven of the 12 precincts in the district, while Rushing won five.
Santiago now advances to the November General Election, but without an opponent, he is likely guaranteed a win.
“I am excited to wrap up this campaign and hopefully get sworn in come January,” he said.
Candidate Rachael Rollins takes open seat in District Attorney race
Rachael Rollins upended the candidacy of four other opponents Tuesday night to take a very crowded district attorney race – coming to victory in an overwhelming win in Boston citywide.
The district attorney represents all of Boston, and Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop.
Rollins captured the victory by winning the large Boston citywide vote with 40 percent, or 33,656 votes.
In Boston, the next closest candidate was favorite Greg Henning, who scored only 22 percent of the Boston vote, or 18,478 votes.
Others candidates were Evandro Carvalho (18 percent), Shannon McAuliffe (10 percent), and Linda Champion (9 percent).
Rollins will be the first female-candidate of color to hold the position in the history of the Commonwealth.
“I am honored and humbled,” she said. “But I also need to say – for all of us – that this is earned. As a 47-year-old black woman, I have earned this. We have earned this. This is the time for us to claim our power and make good on our promises to make true criminal justice reform for the people in Suffolk County. Reform that is progressive – that decriminalizes poverty, substance use disorder, and mental illness. This is the time to create a system that puts fairness and equity first as a model for the Commonwealth and the nation.”