State Senate: Adam Hinds wins Democratic spot on November ticket
Photo Gallery | 2016 Primary Election
Related | State Senate Primary Election Results
PITTSFIELD — In the state Senate race, Adam Hinds built a solid early lead in the three-way Democratic Primary and handily defeated his two challengers.
Hinds, of Pittsfield, defeated attorney Andrea Harrington of Richmond, who finished second, and attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo of Lenox, who was a distant third.
In Berkshire County, Hinds received 6,695 votes to 5,024 for Harrington and 901 for Del Gallo.
Hinds now will face Republican Christine Canning in the Nov. 8 general election. Canning, of Lanesborough, was unopposed in that party's primary.
Incumbent Sen. Ben Downing, D-Pittsfield, did not seek re-election after five terms.
"It feels great," said Hinds, during his post-election party Thursday night at Hotel on North. "A lot of hard work got us across the finish line."
Hinds said Harrington had called him to congratulate him on his victory in the primary.
"I am thrilled that we have the opportunity to continue sending a strong message in Western Mass. for working families, energy and [other issues]," Hinds said. "We also want to do politics differently and stick to our message. I want to be defined by bringing people together to get things done, in contrast to the divisiveness on the national level."
At his boisterous election party, Hinds said there were "a lot of people here who worked a lot of hours and they deserve to have some fun."
Hinds has been on leave from his job as executive director of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition in North Adams. He said he now is considering his first weekend off after seven months of campaigning.
The Democratic nominee built an early and eventually insurmountable lead over Harrington as the vote was slowly counted in the massive 52-community Senate district. After a boost from his hometown of Pittsfield, Hinds maintained about 55 percent of the total vote as the results trickled in throughout the night.
Harrington hovered at about 38 to 39 percent, with Del Gallo trailing with about 7 to 8 percent.
In Pittsfield, Hinds received 2,878 votes to 1,924 for Harrington and 434 for Del Gallo.
The Senate district includes all of Berkshire County's 32 communities and towns in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties.
Hinds won Pittsfield, the district's largest community, with a solid but not overwhelming margin, winning in every precinct with about 55 percent of the city vote. He also won in North Adams, while Harrington was strongest in several towns in South County, such as Great Barrington, Lee, Richmond and West Stockbridge.
Hinds, 40, said during the race that as a native of the Buckland-Shelburne area who has served in recent years as organizer of the Pittsfield Community Connection program to combat youth violence and gang influences, and as executive director of the NBCC, he has developed "a real understanding of the issues and the challenges" facing the district.
He had grown up in Franklin County, worked recently in Berkshire County's two cities and had earlier worked in the Middle East with the United Nations. That combination of experiences made him the best qualified to succeed Downing, Hinds contended.
The candidate also cited his experience in helping to negotiate power-sharing, cease-fire and other agreements between factions in the Middle East after the Iraq War, saying that would help him in working with political factions toward positive solutions.
"That has been my model," the candidate said during an interview, "ensuring that people understand the narrative and helping to define the narrative and proactively working with folks across the spectrum and to demonstrate action. That's what we have done and what I've done since I came back, and pretty much what I've done in my career."
Harrington is an attorney whose husband, Timothy Walsh, owns the Public Market in West Stockbridge. Harrington said she wanted to fight to improve the lives of working people and families in Berkshire County.
She grew up in Richmond and graduated from Taconic High School in Pittsfield in 1993. Harrington is a 2003 graduate of American University's Washington College of Law, who returned to the area in 2007 after practicing in Florida.
In the primary race, which included more than a half-dozen debates, all three candidates stressed progressive views on the issues facing the district and the state. Del Gallo in many instances drove the debate topics, saying he wanted to run as a Bernie Sanders progressive and asserting that he has been out front first on those issues.
Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.