Tuesday night’s results were disappointing for those in Chelsea who were looking to elect the local guy, Roy Avellaneda, and keep the Chelsea seat in the hands of a Chelsea guy.
Dan Ryan of Charlestown will certainly serve ably for the City, and we know that he truly cares about Chelsea, but there was a bit of long-standing history broken when the votes were counted and a guy from Charlestown was comfortably on top.
To put it in context, this will be the first time since the district was created in 1978 that someone from Charlestown will call the shots. Chelsea residents like Richie Voke and Gene O’Flaherty have held sway over the seat for a long, long time and certainly had Chelsea close to their hearts.
In the older days, Chelsea was a voting force, and so too was Charlestown. One hears of 70 percent turnouts and thousands of votes in Ward 2 of Chelsea – a place where some precincts only had 90 votes all day this past Tuesday.
Charlestown would routinely go head-to-head with Chelsea in such state rep contests – pitting the Townie candidate against the Chelsea guy. Charlestown would put up 7,000 votes or so, but Chelsea was too much of a dependable voting block and would return 9,000 to 10,000 votes strong – overpowering Charlestown.
That was the story of the 2nd Suffolk District for so very long, but that has quite obviously changed.
Said one long-time voter in a Ward 2 precinct: “I can’t believe only 90 people came out all day long in our neighborhood. What is wrong? This is important, but it’s almost to the point where we should say, ‘Why Bother?'”
And so Chelsea is a much different place now.
To get elected from Chelsea in the 2nd District, one now has to bank on and count on the Latino vote.
That’s a conundrum.
It’s an enigma.
Will they vote?
Mark my words, the Latino vote is a potential tidal wave of political power that could one day turn this City and the entire area on its ear. That day has not come yet, though, if it ever does unlocking that vote would be no small piece of magic. But if a born-and-raised Chelsea Latino guy like Roy Avellaneda cannot do it, then I don’t know who will.
And so the tables have turned on Chelsea, and there doesn’t appear to be any clear path to victory any time soon – barring that piece of magic referred to above.
For so many years, Charlestown was the smaller community with the smaller voting block – always trying for the seat but never landing one. Now, that role appears to be Chelsea’s.