Candidates eye possible opening of Robert DeLeo’s House seat

A race is taking shape as rumors of House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s departure continue to fly around Beacon Hill, with three people filing for candidacy and several others reportedly in the running.
DeLeo on Friday announced his “intention to begin negotiating prospective employment opportunities with Northeastern University” in an ethics disclosure filed with the House Clerk’s office — kicking off the race for his successor.
Juan Pablo Jaramillo, a Democratic State Committee member and political coordinator for 32BJ SEIU from Revere, was first to file as a candidate with the state on Friday.
“I’m taking a very hard look at this seat,” Jaramillo said in an email to the Herald. “I’ve served my community in various capacities throughout my career and this would be an opportunity to continue to serve and bring that perspective to Beacon Hill.”
Joining him are former Winthrop Town Council President Jeffrey Turco and Revere Director of Veteran Services Marc Silvestri, who each had paperwork on file as of Monday.
Valentino Capobianco, a Winthrop School Committee member and state Sen. Paul Feeney’s chief of staff, posted on Facebook that he was “seriously considering” launching a bid.
And Alicia DelVento, a State Democratic Committeewoman and communication and policy aid for Rep. Danielle Gregoire, is also reportedly interested in running.
Rep. Russell Holmes, who is running to succeed DeLeo as speaker, said the leadership shakeup could come as early as Wednesday.
“I’m hearing by Christmas,” Holmes told the Herald.
But others aren’t so sure a lame-duck changing of the guard is in store with so much work still on the Legislature’s agenda before the session ends on Dec. 31.
Senate President Karen Spilka on Monday told the State House News Service with “so much other work” still before the Legislature, she said, “we need to keep moving.”
Lawmakers this week continue to press for passage on police reform and a state budget and have yet to tackle bills on health care, economic development, transportation funding and clean energy.
“Northeastern’s gain is our loss. Whoever is speaker, I will certainly work hard with for the people of the Commonwealth,” Spilka said, speaking as if DeLeo’s departure was assured.
DeLeo had not filed resignation paperwork as of mid-evening Tuesday, according to the House clerk’s office.
Majority Leader Ron Mariano, a Quincy Democrat, appears poised to ascend to speaker after more than 30 years on Beacon Hill.
Challenger Holmes has as much as conceded defeat, saying Mariano has the votes and “is basically waiting in the wings.”
Mariano has declined to speak with the Herald until if and when a leadership change occurs.
Lisa Kashinsky and Herald wire services contributed to this report.

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