State Senator Dianne Wilkerson: Close Call

It looks like Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson isn’t going down without a fight. The eight-term incumbent lost her reelection bid by 228 votes to two-time challenger Sonia Chang-Diaz last Tuesday. But on September 22, both Wilkerson and Chang-Diaz filed papers with the secretary of state's office for an official recount of the votes.


Wilkerson and her team were stunned last week when the final results showed Chang-Diaz with 50.57 percent of the votes, compared to Wilkerson’s 49.29 percent. Wilkerson even had the support of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Governor Deval Patrick, who both sent recorded messages to constituents urging them to vote for the 15-year veteran. Each candidate must collect signatures from 50 registered Democrats from the ten wards where they want to have a recount of the ballots. The signatures must be submitted to city election officials, who will conduct the recount.

Some in the Wilkerson camp claim that a last-minute change in nine polling locations caused many voters confusion. Campaign staffers even scoped out the old polling spots ready to drive voters to the correct locations. The city received 13 complaints from Wilkerson’s district about the poll relocation, but Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the secretary of state office, said the change was necessary to include wheelchair accessibility and voters were alerted two weeks prior to election, which complies with their guidelines.

Others feel Wilkerson should be counting her blessings. Last August she settled her case with the state attorney general over alleged financial indiscretions claiming her campaign owed her $30,000. In return, she paid $10,000 out of pocket and admitted that she failed to keep proper campaign records.

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