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Three-way race for 2nd Suffolk District seat

Culpepper, Miranda, Elugardo compete for newly drawn district

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the former senior editor of the Bay State Banner. He has written for the Banner since 1988.... VIEW BIO
Three-way race for 2nd Suffolk District seat
State Rep. Nika Elugardo (2nd from left) is joined by state Rep. Russell Holmes, Suzanne Lee, Jose Masso and former City Councilor Tito Jackson during her January campaign kickoff. BANNER PHOTO

The Rev. Miniard Culpepper announced his candidacy for the Massachusetts State Senate 2nd Suffolk District seat Tuesday, jumping into what’s now a three-way race.

State Reps. Liz Miranda and Nika Elugardo have been for weeks raising cash and assembling campaign operations to run for the seat, which represents the district with the highest percentage of Black voters of any Senate district in the state. The district lines were redrawn last year, losing parts of Jamaica Plain and picking up more heavily Black precincts in Dorchester. State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, who currently represents the district, is running for governor.

Rev. Miniard Culpepper announces his candidacy for the 2nd Suffolk District seat in Grove Hall Tuesday. PHOTO: HG Goetz Creative

Culpepper, who retired as the regional counsel for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this month, said he joined the race to continue his work in the local community.

“I looked at my career and how I could be effective on issues such as housing, youth violence, working to get people vaccinated, and it became clear that this open seat would give me the opportunity to help people,” he said in an interview with the Banner.

Culpepper has not yet opened a campaign account and hasn’t yet hired a campaign manager.

Miranda, who launched her campaign in December, said she wants to work on issues including economic opportunity and mobility, police reform, voting rights and prisoners’ rights.

“I want to continue to do the work I’ve already begun,” she said.

Miranda said she’s happy that Culpepper joined the race.

“I’m really honored to be in the race with him,” she said. “I like healthy competition.”

Miranda has raised more than $100,000 since her Dec. 9 launch. She has contracted with Rivera Consulting and Mapoli Strategies, hired Richeline Cadet as deputy campaign manager and hired Joseph Okafer as an organizing director.

Elugardo, who kicked off her campaign in January, also said she wants to continue the work she has begun in the House, including the creation of affordable housing, prisoners’ rights, economic development and expanding job skills training programs.

“I want to continue my work to expand the concept of public housing to include home ownership,” she said.

At her campaign launch, Elugardo was joined by state Rep. Russell Holmes, former interim Mayor Kim Janey, former District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson, and community activists including José Massó and Suzanne Lee. She says she has raised more than $40,000 since her campaign launch.

Her campaign manager is former legislative aide Isabel Torres. She has contracted with consultants Doug Chavez and Eldin Villafane on communications.

House seats

The departures of Elugardo and Miranda from their House seats has touched off campaigns in their Jamaica Plain and Roxbury/Dorchester-based districts.

Running for the 15th Suffolk District seat being vacated by Elugardo are former Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation organizer Samantha Montaño, Roxanne Longoria, the city’s director of youth homelessness initiatives, and Northeastern University graduate student Richard Anthony Fierro, who most recently worked in the governor’s Operations Office.

Running for the 5th Suffolk District seat being vacated by Miranda are Danielson “Donny” Tavares, appointed the city’s chief diversity officer during the administration of former Mayor Martin Walsh, and Christopher Worrell, assistant director of diversity and equity at the Boston Planning and Development Agency.

While there’s no vacancy in the Roxbury-based 7th Suffolk District, former legislative aide Mark Martinez is challenging incumbent Rep. Chynah Tyler and has raised $27,639 since he announced in January. Tyler showed a balance of $40,277 in her campaign account at the Jan. 30 reporting date.