A local official, little known outside his hometown of Winthrop, is headed to the state Senate after winning a special election yesterday.
Attorney Joe Boncore, 33, defeated six other Democrats, including the former mayor of Revere and a sitting state representative, to capture the seat vacated by former Senator Anthony Petrucelli, who left to become a lobbyist.
As a member of the Winthrop Housing Authority, Boncore built out a base in that town that put him over Daniel Rizzo, who was unseated as Revere's mayor last year, and third place finisher Rep. Jay Livingstone from Boston.
The First Suffolk and Middlesex District is split between Winthrop, Revere, East Boston, downtown Boston and Cambridgeport and covers most of the communities served by the MBTA's Blue Line.
Boston fielded several candidates, none of whom could put together enough of a coalition to take on Boncore's Winthrop stronghold.
There are no Republicans running for the seat, so Boncore will likely walk away with the general election May 10.
Don't count Boncore among those that might disagree with the relaxed leadership style of Senate President Stan Rosenberg.
"I think he's doing a great job and I look forward to working with him," Boncore said.
"Joe will get sworn in probably right before the budget in the Senate. So that's his immediate challenge It'll be on-the-job training, but he's a skilled attorney who's been in private practise for a number of years now, so he can deal with complex issues and learn on the job and react the way he has to," Petrucelli, who did not officially back any candidate, said at Boncore's event.
Bonacore says he's "looking forward to moving this Democratic party forward," when he gets to the Senate and credits his campaign's field team for his win.
As the presumptive next senator, Boncore was greeted at his Winthrop victory party by Democratic Party Chairman Sen. Tom McGee, Petruccelli and others.
"We ran a good race on issues. We stayed above it all and we're going to stay above it all going forward," Bonacore told supporters when he took the podium after his win was called.
The race got nasty in it's closing weekend when a flier hit doorsteps in the district accusing Rizzo of endorsing several Republicans and claiming that he shares the GOP's views. Rizzo's camp denied that the former mayor had ever endorsed Mitt Romney, Scott Brown or John McCain, the three Republicans he was pictured alongside and called for an investigation into the group that paid for the flier. The money behind that group comes from labor unions unfriendly to Rizzo, CommonWealth magazine reported.
A second open Senate seat, formerly held by Robert Hedlund, who is now Weymouth's mayor, was narrowed down to Democrat and Republican nominees who will face off May 10. Weymouth's Patrick O'Connor was the Republican primary, while Joan Meschino from Hull captured the Democratic nod.