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Jeffrey Turco claims victory in 19th Suffolk Democratic primary to replace DeLeo

Jeffrey Turco is claiming victory in the four-way Democratic primary for 19th Suffolk District state representative, lauding voters who dismissed “litmus tests” to elevate a moderate candidate in a blow to progressives eyeing former House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s seat.

Turco, an attorney who served on Winthrop’s Town Council and School Committee, won 36.2% of the vote, according to unofficial results from the district that includes Winthrop and part of Revere.

“I’m thrilled to show that a moderate Democrat, a Joe Biden-type of Democrat, can win in today’s Democratic Party,” Turco told the Herald. “Now we start to build to make sure the seat stays a Democratic seat.”

Turco will face Republican Paul Caruccio and unenrolled candidate Richard Fucillo Jr. in the March 30 special election.

Colombian immigrant and labor organizer Juan Pablo Jaramillo of Revere finished second with 30% of the vote, followed by Winthrop’s Alicia DelVento with 26% and Valentino Capobianco with 7.7%, according to the Revere Election Commission’s unofficial tallies.

Jaramillo, who carried his hometown, said, “The fact we came so close is a testament to the clamor of the working-class, blue-collar folks here and just the amazing issues-oriented campaign that we ran.”

Turco, who voted for former President Donald Trump in 2016 and then President Biden in 2020, ran as a moderate in an ideologically diverse Democratic field and won the support of first responder groups.

He led the field in fundraising even as his competitors and outside organizations railed against him for his stances on sanctuary cities and abortion, and big-name Democrats and progressive groups including U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Housing Secretary Julian Castro and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley endorsed Jaramillo.

Turco said the results showed voters in his district “rejected litmus tests and want a middle-of-the-road Democrat.”

“We’re not Somerville and we’re not Cambridge and it’s OK in today’s Democratic Party to have moderates,” Turco said.

Primary day came less than a week after the race was rocked by allegations of inappropriate behavior leveled against Capobianco. State Attorney General Maura Healey, former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III and others yanked their endorsements, though Capobianco denied the allegations surfaced by GBH as “completely untrue.”

The claims seemed to weigh on some voters’ minds. Revere resident Meredith Green said she’d been leaning toward Capobianco, but after reading up on the candidates chose Jaramillo.

But Jane Carideo of Winthrop described Capobianco’s “moral principles” and dismissed the accusations as a “dirty trick” possibly from a rival campaign.

Capobianco said in a statement that while “the result was not what we were hoping for” the fight to better the community “must continue.”

Winthrop resident Elizabeth Arena cast her ballot for DelVento, saying, “she’s a local girl, I know she’s somebody that would support Winthrop.”

DelVento, the sole woman in the race, tweeted that despite her loss, “I believe that our campaign helped bring along the next generation of women in getting involved and running for office.”

  • REVERE MA. MARCH 2: Juan Jaramillo, candidate for State Representative, is hugged by his parents Oscar Jaramillo and Irene Arias before he went in to vote in the special election primary for Robert DeLeo’s former seat on March 2, 2021 in Revere, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • REVERE MA. MARCH 2: Juan Jaramillo, candidate for State Representative, speaks to supporters before going in to vote in the special election primary for Robert DeLeo’s former seat on March 2, 2021 in Revere, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • REVERE MA. MARCH 2: Juan Jaramillo, candidate for State Representative, leaves after he went in to vote in the special election primary for Robert DeLeo’s former seat on March 2, 2021 in Revere, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • REVERE MA. MARCH 2: Juan Jaramillo, candidate for State Representative, leaves with friend Marie Voto after he went in to vote in the special election primary for Robert DeLeo’s former seat on March 2, 2021 in Revere, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • WINTHROP MA. MARCH 2: Carl Johnson and David Anderson hold campaign signs for State Representative candidate Jeffery Rosario Turco outside a pooling place during the special election primary for Robert DeLeo’s former seat on March 2, 2021 in Winthrop, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • WINTHROP MA. MARCH 2: Jane Carideo talks outside a polling place after casting her ballots in the special election primary for Robert DeLeo’s former seat on March 2, 2021 in Winthrop, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • WINTHROP MA. MARCH 2: Elizabeth and Salvatore Arena talk outside a polling place after casting their ballots in the special election primary for Robert DeLeo’s former seat on March 2, 2021 in Winthrop, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • WINTHROP MA. MARCH 2: A woman enters a pooling place for the special election primary for Robert DeLeo’s former seat on March 2, 2021 in Winthrop, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • WINTHROP MA. MARCH 2: Carl Johnson and David Anderson hold campaign signs for State Representative candidate Jeffery Rosario Turco outside a pooling place during the special election primary for Robert DeLeo’s former seat on March 2, 2021 in Winthrop, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

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