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Wilkerson considers another sticker run

Yawu Miller | 9/24/2008, 8:04 a.m.
State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson speaks to constituents and supporters at the Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Grove Hall on Tuesday. Both Wilkerson and Sonia Chang-Diaz, who defeated the 15-year incumbent in the Sept. 16 state Democratic primary, requested recounts of vote totals in wards in the Second Suffolk District. City officials announced Tuesday that results in four wards — three in Roxbury, one in Jamaica Plain — will be recounted on Saturday. Tony Irving

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State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson speaks to constituents and supporters at the Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Grove Hall on Tuesday. Both Wilkerson and Sonia Chang-Diaz, who defeated the 15-year incumbent in the Sept. 16 state Democratic primary, requested recounts of vote totals in wards in the Second Suffolk District. City officials announced Tuesday that results in four wards — three in Roxbury, one in Jamaica Plain — will be recounted on Saturday.

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Sonia Chang-Diaz, shown here in this 2006 file photo, defeated incumbent state senator Wilkerson by 228 votes in the Sept. 16 state Democratic primary. (Banner file photo)

One week after losing the state Democratic primary to Sonia Chang-Diaz, state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson is planning to launch a sticker campaign, pending the results of an ongoing recount in the hotly contested race.

“We will begin with the recount of the majority of the ballots cast last week,” Wilkerson said, speaking before a capacity crowd at the Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Grove Hall on Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, following the certification of signatures provided by both candidates, city Election Department officials announced that a recount of ballots in four Second Suffolk District wards will take place at City Hall on Saturday.

Three of the wards — 8, 9 and 12 — are located in Roxbury; Wilkerson’s requests for recounts in two other wards were not approved. Chang-Diaz’ request for a recount in Jamaica Plain’s ward 19 was also approved.

“I don’t know whether that recount will work out,” Wilkerson said. “But what I do know is that if it does not, I am prepared to run as a Democrat on a sticker campaign.”

The audience at the lodge, comprised mostly of blacks, Latinos and Cape Verdeans, erupted in a standing ovation at Wilkerson’s announcement, even as the senator spoke about the uphill battle her campaign would face in a rematch with Chang-Diaz on Nov. 4.

With Illinois Sen. Barack Obama on the presidential ticket and a rush of new voter registrations in Boston, Wilkerson’s supporters could face long lines.

But her backers say there is too much at stake not to undertake the recount.

“We can’t afford to lose that seat,” said District 7 City Councilor Chuck Turner. “These next two years are going to be difficult. The governor is looking at whether he can cut a billion dollars out of the state budget. We need somebody in the Senate who can get our community its fair share of resources. I don’t think a first-time senator can do that.”

Others who spoke at the Grove Hall event cited Wilkerson’s advocacy in the Senate on behalf of her African American, Latino and Asian constituents, as well as her advocacy for gay rights, human services, health and social justice issues.