Primary School: Legislatures (2/22/2021)

Note: This piece was originally published on Primary School's Substack. Labyrinth supports the brilliant work done by Primaries, but does not necessarily endorse all views articulated in this piece.

Primary School

22 February 2021

Née Primaries for Progress, the third release by Primary School to be published in Labyrinth covers the crowded 2021 New York City mayoral field. Labyrinth is pleased to share a truncated version of the piece and encourages all readers to read the full article on the the official Primary School Substack.

As promised, we’re officially relaunching under our new name, Primary School. Our two years under the Data for Progress umbrella were great, and we are immensely thankful for the opportunity (without it, there never would’ve been a newsletter at all.) However, our time with Data for Progress had to come to an end. We kept the old name for a few weeks for continuity’s sake, and now is a good time to move beyond it.


We remain editorially independent, but we are now financially independent, too: our ability to keep doing this in the long term rests on your support. Paid subscriptions are the same as they were before—$5/month, $50/year—but we need them now more than ever. Of course, because we are asking you for more money, we will be giving you something for your money, too; we haven’t yet decided on what we’ll do for paid content besides occasional special previews of certain races, and potentially some more long-form writing - in fact, we have something from the latter category coming out soon - but we can guarantee it will be more than it was when subscriptions were meant to be supplemental. (We also welcome suggestions, within reason, because hey, you might know what you want to pay for better than we do.)


Paid subscriptions also come with full access to our archive, including past subscriber issues and all regular issues over a year old. Regular issues less than a year old are open to everyone.

State Legislative Special Elections


We’re continuing our experiment of doing combined spotlights/general news in issues, but at this point there’s enough actual news happening that it’s going to take up more space than the spotlights. This week, we’d like to talk about some upcoming special elections for state legislature.


CA-SD-30 (March 2)


We’ve actually tackled this one before; this is an update. The Los Angeles Times has made its endorsement in the race: Assemb. Sydney Kamlager. This is largely expected, as she is the prohibitive favorite for the seat. Notable, however, is the reasoning for the actual endorsement itself, which also sings the praises of progressive candidate Daniel Lee, to the point of saying they were considering endorsing him to get them both in the legislature. That sort of implies that they might endorse Lee if Kamlager wins and he runs for her old seat. Kamlager is seen as such a favorite in this race that people are already declaring for the future special election to her current Assembly district. Also issuing an endorsement this week was African-American newspaper the LA Sentinel, also backing Kamlager.


MA-HD-19th Suffolk (March 2)


There was big news in Massachusetts politics last December, while we were on hiatus: State House Speaker Robert DeLeo stepped down from his position after 12 years. The speakership race was decided quickly, going to Ronald Mariano, another old-school moderate. Something that couldn’t be decided quickly was the fate of his House district, since he resigned from the House, too. The 19th Suffolk district contains Winthrop and part of Revere, two historically middle-class Italian towns that have recently seen considerable diversification and immigration.

The primary is set for March 2, and the overwhelming establishment consensus choice is Valentino Capobianco, a Winthrop School Committee member, chief of staff to state Sen. Paul Feeney, and a former aide to Speaker DeLeo. Capobianco seems to have personally progressive politics, but the problem with the state house is that individual votes tend not to matter much; it’s all about who runs the place, and Capobianco doesn’t seem interested in changing that. Many local activists are excited instead about SEIU organizer Juan Jaramillo. In a major boost to his campaign, Bernie Sanders announced an endorsement this week.


While many unions have gotten behind Capobianco, Jaramillo has both his SEIU chapter as well as teacher’s unions. Two other candidates are in the mix here. The first is cop candidate Jeffrey Turco. Turco is a lawyer, formerly of the county sheriff’s department, and a Winthrop Town Committee Member. He’s supported by cops and cop unions, and has stacked up piles of money in his campaign. Ed Markey campaign volunteer Alicia DelVento has some endorsements from Winthrop and EMILY’s List, but little money. That makes 3 serious Winthrop candidates, and only Jaramillo from Revere, a geographic balance that may work in his favor.

To read the rest of this post, please visit the Primary School Substack.

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