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Only candidate of color leaves South End race

Tanisha Bhat
Only candidate of color leaves South End race
Amparo “Chary” Ortiz COURTESY PHOTO

Amparo “Chary” Ortiz has announced she is suspending her campaign for the State House seat based in the South End for personal reasons. Although her name will still be on the ballot, Ortiz said she does not want the position, leaving John Moran as the only active candidate in the race ahead of the May 2 primary and final election on May 30.

The decision by Ortiz, who is Latina, means in all likelihood Moran will likely be the first white representative from the 9th Suffolk district since Richard F. Finnigan in 1975.

The special election comes after the resignation of Jon Santiago, the district’s former representative, after being tapped by Gov. Maura Healey to be the secretary of veterans’ services. He first won the district in 2018 against long-time incumbent Byron Rushing, who had held the seat since 1983. Prior to him the seat was held by Mel King from 1979 to 1983 and Doris Bunte from 1975 to 1979.

Doris Bunte, Mel King and Byron Rushing, all Black, subsequently represented the district. The special election is being held because Jon Santiago, who is Latino, resigned to join the administration of Governor Maura Healey.

“Unfortunately I have made the difficult decision to suspend my campaign to attend to personal and family matters,” Ortiz said in a statement released earlier this month. “I am truly grateful to everyone I have met and who have offered their support and ideas on how to make our world a better place.”

Ortiz told the Banner the decision to suspend her campaign was difficult, but at the same time she was not able to give it 100 percent while dealing with family matters.

“I am truly humbled and grateful for the people who came together to support me. This was a very empowering experience,” she said.

While Ortiz is suspending her campaign for the time being, she did not rule out a possible run for the seat in the 2024 election.

“I still believe it to be true that our community needs a voice and there’s a lot of work to be done. The idea is that hopefully down the line, I can come and maybe do this if the opportunity arises again,” Ortiz said.

In an official statement released by his campaign, Moran said: “Chary is a caring and informed community leader. I thank her for her continuous dedication to the 9th Suffolk district, and I wish her nothing but the best as she embarks on other opportunities.”

As of January, the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus had 25 members out of the 200 representatives and senators in the state legislature.