Tuesday September 11, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. said he plans to take time to reflect before deciding his political future.

"I think I will let the dust settle for a little while," the Pittsfield Democrat said on Monday. "I'm going to spend some time thanking our supporters. That's the priority for now -- to thank them for what they did and to make sure I finish strong" at the Registry of Deeds.

The outgoing Middle Berkshire register of deeds and a former state senator, Nuciforo, 48, lost to Richard E. Neal in Thursday's election for the U.S. House seat in the 1st Congressional District.

Nuciforo ran against Neal, who has represented the 2nd Congressional District for 24 years, and activist Bill Shein of Alford in the state's newly redrawn 1st Congressional District. There is no Republican contender for Neal to face in November's general election.

Neal, a former mayor of Springfield, received 65 percent of the vote to Nuciforo's 25 percent. Shein received 10 percent.

But the vote was much closer in Berkshire County, where Neal received 40 percent of the vote to Nuciforo's 39 percent.

In Nuciforo's hometown of Pittsfield, he beat Neal by 192 votes, although he lost eight South County towns to Shein, who garnered 21 percent of the Berkshire vote.

"I think we ran a good campaign," Nuciforo said. "It certainly focused on issues."

If he had won, Nuciforo said, he had hoped to bring to Washington the example that had been set by the late Silvio O.


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Conte, the Pittsfield Re publican who represented the 1st Congressional District for 32 years before his death in February 1991. Conte was succeeded by Amherst Democrat John W. Olver, who is retiring this year following 21 years in Washington.

"I remember how effective and personal [Conte's] relationship and reputation was," Nuciforo said. "I carry with me the memory of him and respect for him. It was the kind of reputation that I hoped to bring to Washington for Berkshire County and this region. It's one of the things that motivated me to run."

Nuciforo was criticized by some local Democrats by announcing his intention to run for Congress in 2012 during the summer of 2009. At the time, Nuciforo said he planned to endorse Olver in the 2010 election, which Olver won, before mounting his own campaign two years later.

On Monday, Nuciforo said he had no regrets about declaring his intentions when he did. Nuciforo said he came forward early because he knew the state's legislative districts would be redrawn based on the population results of the 2010 federal census, and that he believed Western Mass achusetts would be the affected area.

"Obviously, I was right on both counts," he said. "Now any responsible candidate needs to take time to prepare. It was absolutely the right thing to do. I stand by those judgments today.

"There's an old saying, there's things that you can control and you leave the rest to God," he said. "We could not control the drawing of the district. It included Springfield not Amherst and Neal not Olver. This was never about personalities. It was entirely about making a judgment about what redistricting might do. I'm comfortable with the decisions we made."

In a written statement, Nuciforo thanked those who supported his campaign.

"I am forever grateful for the faith that these people have shown in me, and for their commitment to the ideals advanced by our campaign. A vote is an expression of trust and I am honored and humbled that so many placed that trust in me."

Nuciforo also congratulated Neal for his victory and commended Shein for his participation.

"When we formally kicked off my campaign for Congress I expressed my belief that the middle class in this country was falling behind, and that for too long the economy has been rigged against people playing by the rules," Nuciforo stated. "I hold those same beliefs today."

Nuciforo stated that he plans to help Neal achieve those goals in Washington.

"I trust that Congressman Neal understands this, and that he, working with others, will shape policies in Washington to address these critical issues. I stand ready to help the Congressman and others that have committed to advancing an agenda that reflects middle class issues."

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6224.
On Twitter: @tonydobrow