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Adam Hinds wins Democratic primary for state Senate seat

Hinds said he wanted a “positive political process” going into November “to demonstrate that we can work together to overcome big issues...we can’t afford to be dividing residents in this district at a time when we face big challenges.”

Great Barrington — With nearly all precincts reporting, Thursday’s (September 8) Democratic primary race for state Senator Benjamin Downing’s (D-Pittsfield) seat shows Adam Hinds as the clear winner over candidates Andrea Harrington and Rinaldo Del Gallo. All three are natives of the district.

As of 10:42 Thursday night MassLive showed that with 96 percent of precincts reporting Hinds has amassed 8,357 votes to Harrington’s 5,738 and Del Gallo’s 1,056 in a mostly rural district that includes Berkshire, Hampshire, Hamden and Franklin counties.

In Great Barrington, however, Harrington had a 104 vote margin over Hinds, 393-289, according to Town Clerk Marie Ryan.

The three jumped into the race after Downing decided to retire this year. Hinds and Harrington ran on similar platforms to jumpstart a lagging regional economy amid rural issues like lack of high-speed Internet, school funding problems, environmental issues and population decline. Hinds, Executive Director of Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, said he would use his skills as a Middle East negotiator to solve the district’s problems and move the economy forward.

A Great Barrington police officer arrives at Town Hall with the primary ballot boxes after escorting them from the fire station. Photo: Heather Bellow
A Great Barrington police officer arrives at Town Hall with the primary ballot boxes after escorting them from the fire station. Photo: Heather Bellow

Harrington, an attorney who used to litigate death row cases in Florida, and said she was familiar with the struggles of working families, said she would go to Boston and fight for them and state dollars, and work hard on economic development in the district.

Del Gallo, a Pittsfield-based attorney and fathers’ rights activist, said from the beginning he was running on a Bernie Sanders platform, and said the fundamental issue was that too much money was in too few hands, and that many of the district’s economic problems could be fixed with more taxation on the super wealthy.

As the primary drew near Del Gallo went on the attack to distance his position from Harrington and Hinds, criticizing them at a candidates’ forum. Del Gallo accused Hinds of wavering on a $15 statewide minimum wage, and soon after, Harrington hit Hinds over some campaign contributions from donors with interests in the fossil fuel industry, after all three candidates said they had signed a pledge to refuse such donations.

The democratic primary winner will face Republican candidate, Lanesborough resident and former schoolteacher Christine Canning in the November general election.

Andrea Harrington, announcing her candidacy.
Attorney Andrea Harrington, announcing her candidacy last year in front of her husband’s business in West Stockbridge.

From his reception at Hotel on North in Pittsfield, Hinds told the Edge he was “exhausted” but “happy,” and staying focused on concerns like the transition to green energy, school funding and “standing up for working families.”

Hinds said he wanted a “positive political process” going into November “to demonstrate that we can work together to overcome big issues…we can’t afford to be dividing residents in this district at a time when we face big challenges.”

Hinds said he wanted to use his candidacy and role as senator to work for “real change and the highest ideals.”

Harrington told the Edge she felt good about her campaign. “We definitely did our best,” she said, adding that bringing attention to the plight of local working families was important. She said she would be “fully behind” Hinds in the November race, “absolutely endorsing him,” and that the two had had a “great talk” Thursday night.

Harrington further said while it was a “tough race, having a strong opponent made me better, and I learned a lot that will make me a strong advocate for my clients.”

Rinaldo Del Gallo at a campaign event. Photo: Heather Bellow
Rinaldo Del Gallo at a campaign event. Photo: Heather Bellow

Harrington, who lives in Richmond, and took a leave of absence from work during the campaign, said she would now take a little time to do things like pick her children up from school, and pick up all of her lawn signs, before heading back to work.

Del Gallo was on his way home from Hinds’ reception when the Edge reached him. He said he knew in June he couldn’t win, but with “political courage,” stayed in the race in order to push the other two candidates, with “moderate rhetoric,” to the left and towards more “progressive” positions.

“I feel good,” he said.

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