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One Springfield council candidate lands a big-name endorsement; others say they prefer backing of residents

2023-09-28
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SPRINGFIELD -- A little more than a month before a Nov. 7 election in Springfield, unions and local and statewide politicians have begun to show support for municipal candidates. While some candidates for City Council say they don't emphasize endorsements, one of them landed an unusual salute. Former Gov. Charlie Baker and former Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito say they are backing Jose Delgado, an at-large candidate for City Council. Delgado served as the Western Mass. director and deputy chief of staff for access for the Baker administration for two years and works now in the Executive Office of Public Safety in Gov. Maura Healey's administration. In statements, Baker and Polito described Delgado as a hard worker who doesn't get distracted by divisive politics. Delgado, came in fifth place in the preliminary election Sept. 12, receiving 3,841 votes, or 6.94% of the vote, according to the city's website. Delgado said the endorsements honor his 15 years of public service. Endorsements are powerful, especially in the City Council race, says Anthony Cignoli, a political consultant and owner of AL Cignoli Co. of Springfield. "There are so many candidates running that anything that helps you differentiate yourself from another candidate, like an endorsement from former Governor Baker and former Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, can be super helpful," he said. "That's a great endorsement and I'm sure that a lot of the other candidates have got some powerful endorsements too." Of the 21 candidates on the preliminary election ballot for the five at-large council seats, 10 advanced to November, including Delgado. Sean Curran, Kateri Walsh and Trayce Whitfield are seeking re-election. Brian Santinello, Gerry Martin, Nicole Coakley, Willie Naylor, Juan Caraballo III and Juan Latorre are also campaigning for one of the five seats. Some of the candidates have received a bundle of endorsements. Coakley, for instance, has received support from the group Democrats for Education Reform, former state Rep. Ben Swan, School Committee member Latonia Monroe-Naylor and councilors Lavar Click-Bruce and Malo Brown. Actually reaching out to residents, however, is the main goal for most candidates, they said in responses to The Republican. In interviews, Naylor and Curran both said that the most important support comes from the residents and voters of Springfield. "We're not really looking for those," Naylor said of endorsements. "This is my first time running and it's really the people that have gotten me this far." Curran said he expects to announce endorsements later. "But really the greatest endorsement I can get is from the voters of Springfield. And hopefully it reflects in the hard work I do on the City Council." Whitfield, who's received an endorsement from Democrats for Education Reform and from the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, said her endorsements are "from the people." Whitfield received 5,515 votes, or 9.96% of the vote, according to the city's website. "Based on election results, I think I'm going to accomplish that," Whitfield said. "I'm going to just keep working hard, knocking on doors, listening to people talk because what they want matters most." Latorre declined to comment on endorsements he's received, saying he planned to list them at a later date. Santinello, Caraballo III and Walsh could not be reached for comment.

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