With a supportive push from eager voters, Thomas B. Concannon Jr. announced his plans to run against embattled incumbent John Buonomo for Middlesex County register of probate — a race the former Newton mayor hopes to win this time around.
With a supportive push from eager voters, Thomas B. Concannon Jr. announced his plans to run against embattled incumbent John Buonomo for Middlesex County register of probate — a race that the former Newton mayor hopes to win this time around.
Back in 2000, Concannon lost Democratic nomination to Buonomo after a recount. But with Buonomo facing more than 30 criminal offenses based on allegations he stole thousands of dollars from copy and change machines from the Registry of Deeds earlier this month, potential challengers are eyeing his elected post.
Concannon, who will run as a Democrat, said he has a short campaign window to work in — the state primary being Sept. 16 — but is seeking a nomination for November’s statewide election.
“I am going to try and get people to write my name in,” Concannon said about making calls for his recently launched campaign. “It’s going to be interesting, but it’s worth a shot.”
All challengers must receive at least 1,000 votes to have their names placed on the ballot in November. Democratic challengers must defeat Buonomo in order to move on to the November ballot.
Buonomo, a Newton resident who is currently running unopposed for the $110,000-a-year-job, has pleaded not guilty to charges of pocketing cash from his Cambridge office in early August. He has been suspended without pay after an order from the Supreme Judicial Court. Buonomo was charged with 18 counts of breaking and entering into a depository, eight counts of theft of public property and eight counts of larceny under $250. He is accused of taking money out of copy and money machines at the Registry of Deeds, which is in the same building as his office.Buonomo’s pre-trial hearing takes place Sept .18, two days after the primary. Eight years ago, both Buonomo and Concannon fought hard to win the registry seat.
Buonomo demanded a recount after losing the Democratic primary contest in September 2000 to Concannon, now a Newton attorney. The tally was reversed that October, and Buonomo won the general election in November.Although it may be tough to win against a Democratic incumbent, Concannon said it’s a challenge he’s willing to take on.
“I’m going to do what I can,” he said. “If I didn’t do it, I would feel bad about it. The fact of the matter is I’m going to try and get that seat.”Other Middlesex politicians are also vying for that seat.
Among them are Natick Republican John Lambert, who ran against and lost to Buonomo six years ago, and Somerville Alderman Sean O'Donovan, who announced that although he is a registered Democrat, he might run as a potential Working Families Party candidate.
“I am running because I want to restore professionalism and integrity to the office,” O’Donovan said recently. “It’s part of the judiciary and in my practice of law I have dealt with probate matters. I love the court system and I hope I can make it better.”
Concannon, O'Donovan, and Lambert all began their campaigns well after the deadline to file for the election and will have to mount write-in/sticker campaigns for the primary."This is going to be a word-of-mouth campaign," Lambert said. "Because I can't be in 54 towns at once." But if Buonomo wins back his seat, there's no guarantee his name will stay on the ballot.
Following the primary, Buonomo could still withdraw from the race by Sept. 22, said Brian McNiff of the Secretary of State’s office.In that case, he said, Democratic committees would have until Sept. 25 to meet in caucus and put forward a candidate.
If Buonomo wins re-election, chances are he could still be convicted of the charges and removed from his post by the Supreme Judicial Court.This would leave a chance for a candidate to be appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick. Auditi Guha and Peter Reuell contributed to this report.