Galluccio ultimately withdrew from the race and endorsed Barrios, in a face-saving public appearance arranged by then–senate president Robert Travaglini, another former Galluccio supporter now noticeably quiet about the race.
Galluccio tells the Phoenix that going through the media grinder on the drunk-driving charge this past year was “one of my most horrible and meaningful experiences.” But he is not going the Patrick Kennedy admission-apology-rehab route. Galluccio insists that he did nothing wrong, and has no demons to work through.
Still, he is noticeably lacking the public support of a number of pols who had formerly championed him — most notably, US Congressman Michael Capuano and former State Senate president Robert Travaglini. He’s not quite toxic, but it’s as if high-profile officials want to keep some distance from Galluccio — in case there’s another shoe yet to drop.
The other candidates in the race, including Flaherty, are straining to avoid discussion of the drunk-driving issue. They — and perhaps Flaherty more than the others — don’t want to be the one throwing the stones. After all, Flaherty’s father left office in a swirl of scandal, pleading guilty to federal criminal charges of tax evasion.
That, and the fact that Flaherty’s father is now a high-powered lobbyist to the very legislature he is seeking to join, have so far been taboo subjects on the campaign trail. And Flaherty would like to keep it that way.
Family aside, Flaherty still faces an uphill battle. In addition to Galluccio’s other advantages, he has a well-organized, district-wide operation to identify and bring out his voters — an organization boosted further by the recent endorsement of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.
The importance of the campaigns’ get-out-the-vote organizations is one thing everyone agrees on, with voter turnout expected to be low in this special election. “The hard thing in a race like this is getting people to the polls,” says Shea.
But Flaherty might have a wild card in his pocket: Alice Wolf.
Wolf has not endorsed in the race — yet — but several well-connected Cambridge political insiders tell the Phoenix that she wants Flaherty to win. She may yet endorse him publicly, if he shows that he has a real chance of success. After all, Wolf represents nine of the 13 Cambridge precincts in the State Senate district, and some observers believe she could single-handedly cause Galluccio to lose the city.
Even if that isn’t enough to give Flaherty the victory, it might hand Galluccio the defeat for which many in Cambridge seem eager. Then again, Galluccio might get the votes he needs in the rest of the district to finally reach the next level — with or without his home town’s help.