“I like to be the guy who shows up at the graduation the year he isn’t running,” says Galluccio, who says voters in the district expect to meet and get to know candidates personally.

Flaherty argues that his years spent as a Norfolk County prosecutor and running his own private law practice mean more to voters than glad-handing. He has helped people professionally and personally, out of genuine concern, “not just because I was trying to get elected,” he says.

Will it get dirty?
Many local political observers suspect that Galluccio holds the advantage, exactly because of those repeated visits to every corner of the district. “I think the people of Everett think Galluccio lives in Everett,” says one pol in that city, where Galluccio has gained the support of Mayor John Hanley, and former mayor David Ragucci.

“This is a district you win by shoe leather,” says Barrios. “The candidate who meets the most voters, knocks on the most doors, will be the winner.”

“If I was giving free advice to candidates, I would say spend all your time in Everett knocking on doors,” Birmingham says. Personal contact, not issues, matter most in the city, he adds. “In Everett, politics is not an amateur sport — it’s very, very serious.”

No surprise then that Everett is seen by many as the battleground in the race. Of the other candidates running for Barrios’s vacated seat, Paul Nowicki, a long-time Chelsea city councilor, is expected to do well in his home base, in Revere, and in Charlestown. And Jeff Ross, a Cambridge immigration attorney, could draw a number of votes from the left. Nobody in the race can claim Everett as his own — and with roughly 30 percent of the district’s vote count, that city is the big prize for the taking.

Galluccio, who made his announcement speech in Everett, is certainly aware of this, and is working the city doggedly. “Nobody will outwork Anthony in this race,” says one neutral pol in the district.

But hard work might not be what decides the race. After all, it is pretty clear — one need only skim the Blue Mass Group Web site for evidence — that the anti-Galluccio progressives will make sure his drunk-driving charges follow him.

That scandal, which broke in February 2006, occurred when Galluccio was running for this same State Senate seat (at the time, Barrios was running for Middlesex District Attorney rather than re-election.) WCVB-TV’s Janet Wu reported that three witnesses described Galluccio as drunk when he caused a four-car collision in downtown Boston at 2 am the previous December 18. Galluccio had not, however, been charged with any alcohol-related offense.

In light of Wu’s evidence, Boston police re-opened the investigation, and a clerk-magistrate ruled in April 2006 that evidence was insufficient for a DUI charge. It was less than a complete exoneration, however: the court found that Galluccio had been drinking, which Galluccio had strongly denied; an emergency medical technician testified that Galluccio showed some signs of intoxication; and police officers said that they had to put him in restraints at the hospital.

Perhaps most important, reporting of the incident revived consideration of Galluccio’s two previous DUI convictions, one pardoned by Governor William Weld in 1993, and another in 1997.

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