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Contest for Berkshire district attorney shrinks to two candidates, incumbent Andrea Harrington and a Democratic challenger, Timothy Shugrue

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On a filing deadline Tuesday, three candidates have thrown their hat in the ring to seek the office of District Attorney of Berkshire County. 

Editor's note: This story was updated Wednesday to include a statement from the Andrea Harrington campaign. 

Though three candidates met Tuesday’s filing deadline to run for Berkshire district attorney, only two remain and are now headed to a Democratic primary.

Incumbent Andrea Harrington’s spokesman confirmed Tuesday that she is seeking reelection. Harrington will go head-to-head in the primary with a fellow Democrat, Timothy Shugrue.

Robert Sullivan had been running as an unrolled candidate for the top law enforcement job in the county. However, he announced late Tuesday afternoon that he was leaving the contest and called for his supporters to back Shugrue.

“From day one, I have made it clear that this campaign is not about me,” Sullivan said in a statement highly critical of Harrington.

“It isn’t about a headline, my resume, politics, or power. It was about ending the failed experiment that currently exists and restoring skill and training to the chief prosecutor’s office with one goal in mind: public safety,” Sullivan wrote. “It has become clear to me that the best way to achieve this goal is for me to work with and give my support to Tim Shugrue.”

In a statement from her campaign Tuesday, Harrington said she plans a formal announcement about her candidacy for reelection "in the weeks ahead."

In her time in office, the statement said, "Harrington has spent the past three years committed to making Berkshire County safer and healthier for all of its residents by prosecuting violent crime, securing justice for victims, and keeping communities safe. DA Harrington has led efforts to reform the criminal justice system to break cycles of poverty and provide treatment and services to non-violent offenders struggling with substance use and mental health challenges."

Shugrue and Sullivan are former prosecutors who now work as defense lawyers. Shugrue ran for district attorney in 2004 against David Capeless, who had been appointed district attorney by then-Gov. Mitt Romney to serve out the remainder of Gerard D. Downing’s term.

Harrington and Shugrue each gathered signatures from voters registered in Pittsfield, City Clerk Michelle Benjamin said Tuesday, the final day for candidates to file nomination papers with local election officials.

The candidates needed to collect 1,000 certified signatures from voters living anywhere in Berkshire County to qualify for the ballot.

Nomination papers are next due to be filed with the secretary of the commonwealth by the end of the month.

Harrington, a Richmond attorney, was elected on a progressive platform in 2018, outpolling incumbent Paul Caccaviello, who first lost to Harrington in the Democratic primary, then mounted an unsuccessful write-in campaign. She is seeking a second term.

Shugrue has focused his campaign on his experience as a trial attorney.

According to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Harrington’s reelection committee had $17,042 cash on hand at the end of March. Shugrue’s campaign raised $43,166 in April, buoyed by a $25,000 loan from the candidate.

Sullivan has $9,589 in his campaign account.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

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