Saturday, 2:15 PM
Chang-Diaz beats Wilkerson in state Senate primary
By John Drake, Globe Staff
In a huge upset, Sonia Chang-Diaz defeated incumbent state Senator Dianne Wilkerson today by a margin of 9,051 to 8,823, according to an unofficial tally provided by city officials. The defeat ends Wilkerson's 15 years in office in the Senate seat representing Boston.
The primary was a rematch between Wilkerson and Chang-Diaz who squared off in the 2006 primary election. Wilkerson edged Chang-Diaz by six percent in that race after the incumbent senator was forced to wage a write-in campaign because she failed to file enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Voters who chose Chang-Diaz said that while they mostly agreed with Wilkerson on the issues, they could not forgive her ethical transgressions, and were ready to give someone else a chance.
"It wasn't just a one-time incident; it was a pattern over time," said Dora Golding, a 33-year-old Jamaica Plain resident who voted at English High School. "I think she's been an effective state senator and probably in the next term would be more effective because of the experience and connections (but) I felt that we don't have to settle for that. It's time to give a new voice a chance."
In August, Wilkerson paid a $10,000 fine to the state attorney general and acknowledged campaign finance violations dating back to 2000, related to improper reimbursements of campaign contributions to herself and failing to report some contributions. She also once faced foreclosure proceedings on her home, which she was able to stop, and faced a federal income tax investigation, in which she pleaded guilty to four misdemeanors and served 30 days in a halfway house.
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