Letter to the Editor

Looking at the Edwards – D’Ambrosio Primary Election

To the Editor,

Now that Lydia Edwards has taken office as our State Senator, it is instructive to look back at the Democratic Primary Election held in December and see how what some thought would be a very close contest turned into a strong victory for Edwards.

There are three parts to any election: who is in the race, how the race is run, and who turns out to vote.

Initially it looked like the race would be between Revere School Committee member Anthony D’Ambrosio, East Boston State Representative Adrian Madaro and Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards.  D’Ambrosio declared his candidacy first, even before State Senator Joseph Boncore officially submitted his resignation.  Even though this may have upset some of Boncore’s closest supporters, it was effective since, with a $50,000 loan to his own campaign and the potential for more, D’Ambrosio was able to convince other potential candidates from Revere to forgo the race.

Next, Madaro and Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards began to reach out to pollical activists in the State Senate district to elicit support for potential candidacies.  Both were popular in East Boston where they reside, but Edwards represents the North End on the Boston City Council and looked to be the stronger candidate in other parts of Boston and Cambridge in the State Senate district.  Madaro, with a new baby son and potential changes to his State Representative district due to redistricting, decided to focus on his current position and against entering the race once Boncore’s resignation became official.

Now the race was on between D’Ambrosio and Edwards.  D’Ambrosio was expected to win Revere handily and Edwards was expected to win Boston and Cambridge handily.  Winthrop would be the battleground.  D’Ambrosio needed to win Winthrop by a big margin while Edwards needed only to keep the margin close.

As for the race itself, D’Ambrosio’s campaign relied heavily on yard signs, direct mail, newspaper ads, billboards, and even a television commercial. Edwards’s campaign devoted a good deal of her campaign funds to field organizers, with less reliance on signs, direct mail, and newspaper ads.  Edwards also had a stronger record to run on due to her service on the Boston City Council and secured endorsements from political leaders across the State Senate district and Commonwealth, numerous labor unions and several progressive organizations. The most important of these was Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

To the casual observer, the race looked quite different depending on where one lived.  In Revere, D’Ambrosio signs were everywhere, while in Cambridge they were nonexistent. In Boston, there was strong support for Edwards, while in Winthrop it seemed more competitive.

However, in the last 10 days of the campaign, D’Ambrosio sent out 3 negative mailers against Edwards which showed to astute political observers that he believed that he was well behind in the race.

On Election Day when the results came in Lydia Edwards won Boston with 77% of the vote, Cambridge with 95% of the vote and, most importantly, Winthrop with 57% of the vote. Anthony D’Ambrosio won Revere with 76% of the vote. Equally important was the turnout across the State Senate district. Compared to the 2016 Special Election won by Joseph Boncore, the turnout in Boston increased by 700 votes, while Cambridge decreased by 150 votes, Revere decreased by 1,200 votes, and Winthrop decreased by 1,200 votes.

Lydia Edwards beat Anthony D’Ambrosio by 2,700 votes across the State Senate district because she had a stronger record to run on, and a dedicated field organization that contacted voters door-to-door in all four communities and turned them out on Election Day.  This was especially true in Boston with the support of Mayor Wu and other elected officials.

Edwards’s strong victory with 60% of the vote across the State Senate district compared to D’Ambrosio’s 40% should discourage potential challengers in this fall’s election.  D’Ambrosio certainly has a political future in Revere given his vote in that community, but his negative mailers have hurt his reputation should he seek election in a district outside of that community.

William Schmidt


Addressing the Traffic Problem

To the Editor, 

I strongly support Rep. Adrian Madaro’s two comprehensive bills which address the significant and growing problem of East Boston traffic congestion which is caused by non-East Boston sources such as Massport and other communities.

H3527 would establish a bold congestion pricing pilot program for the three East Boston vehicular tunnels-Sumner, Callahan and Ted Williams-that would evaluate the effectiveness of toll congestion pricing based on reduced tolls for off-peak travel, an important variant of other congestion pricing programs based on increased tolls for peak hour travel which tend to penalize working class commuters.  a very creative approach.

H3528 would require MassDOT to carry out an area-wide detailed study of the precise sources of East Boston vehicle congestion including Logan Airport and regional commuters passing through the community to other destinations. Such a study would be essential for the development of meaningful remediation strategies and public policies such as completing the long delayed MBTA Blue Line-Red Line Connector which would be a quantum leap in effective public transit for the Greater Boston North Shore which is a major source of East Boston congestion.

There are clear indications that our region’s transportation systems are recovering from the pandemic, such as increased Logan Airport flights and highway traffic which have historically impacted East Boston in many ways, including traffic congestion. Rep. Adrian Madaro’s two progressive bills offer an opportunity to avoid having history repeat itself.

Thank you,

John Vitagliano

Former Boston


Commissioner and Massport Board


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