Samiyah gets spooky. Plus, who on earth is John Kelleher?

Second Suffolk update
By ADAM REILLY  |  August 30, 2006

Sonia Chang-Díaz
With all due respect to the various candidates for governor, the state Senate race in the Second Suffolk district is probably the most fascinating electoral contest of ’06. Dianne Wilkerson, the inspiring-and-infuriating incumbent, is running a write-in campaign to keep her job after failing to gather the 300 signatures necessary to get on the primary ballot. In the September 19 Democratic primary, she’ll face Samiyah Diaz, who happens to be a Republican (see “Potemkin Candidate,” News and Features, May 18); Sonia Chang-Díaz (emphasis added), who is, in fact, a Democrat; and possibly some guy named John Kelleher, about whom no one seems to know very much.

More on Kelleher later — but first, let’s parse the Samiyah Diaz TV ad that debuted last week. It’s weird for a couple of reasons. First off, it portrays the South End as a barren cityscape that’s rife with crime, when the neighborhood — though not without the occasional shooting — is actually bustling and highly desirable. (Diaz makes too much of those bars on the windows of “garden-level” apartments; she also looks to have filmed her spot early on a weekend morning so that the streets would be unusually empty.) Second, Diaz — who’s a very attractive woman — ends up looking like some sort of spooky vagrant, an impression exacerbated by the fact that the eerie music used to set the stage keeps playing as she talks to the camera!

Back to Kelleher. The possibility of a fourth candidate jumping into the write-in race surfaced on the political blog Blue Mass Group several days ago, but the man and his candidacy remain enigmatic. The state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) has received no paperwork for a committee affiliated with “John Kelleher”; the two phone numbers Google provides for “John Kelleher” in Boston don’t help (one is disconnected, one just keeps ringing); and a source close to one of the actually existent campaigns professed ignorance about who Kelleher might be. The best guess: it’s the same John Kelleher who served as a state rep some three decades ago, went on to dabble in real estate, and calls Jamaica Plain’s Moss Hill neighborhood home.

In the coming days, watch for a dramatic entrance by the Mysterious Mr. K. And keep your eyes on the various campaigns’ first filings with OCPF, which should be available online (at as of September 12. They’ll offer some additional clarity — just a bit, anyway — about a race that defies easy prediction.

Related: Incumbency, Potemkin candidate, The First Annual Spotty Awards, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , U.S. Government, U.S. State Government, Election Campaigns,  More more >
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