FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Two prominent South Coast lawmakers are throwing their support behind Democrat Jake Auchincloss in the race to succeed Congressman Joe Kennedy III, giving the Newton city councilor a noteworthy boost in the region.
Speaker Pro Tempore Pat Haddad, D-Somerset, and state Rep. Carole A. Fiola, D-Fall River, announced Tuesday they are endorsing Auchincloss for the 4th Congressional District seat ahead of the Sept. 1 primary.
Auchincloss, a 32-year-old U.S. Marine veteran, is one of nine Democrats seeking the party’s nomination as Kennedy moves on to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Ed Markey. State Rep. Paul Schmid, D-Fall River, has also endorsed Auchincloss.
“In the Marines, in business, and in local government, Jake has been a leader. And in this moment, Jake is the leader we need,” Haddad, the highest-ranking woman in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, said in a statement. “From clean energy to health care to jobs, Jake will deliver results for our constituents. I look forward to partnering with him as our next member of Congress.”
“Jake is focused on jobs — good jobs,” added Fiola. “He’s the partner I want in Congress to ensure Fall River and the South Coast comes out of this recession stronger than ever. Jake has gotten results in the military, in business, and in local government, and together we’ll get results for our constituents.”
The 4th District stretches from northern Fall River through the Attleboros and Taunton up to the suburbs that border Boston. With nearly all nine Democratic candidates hailing from Newton and Brookline, they have all been seeking ways to establish credibility in the southern part of the district ahead of the primary.
“Carole Fiola and Pat Haddad are titans of the South Coast,” Auchincloss told WPRI 12 in an interview. “For years now, these two women have been champions for their constituents on Beacon Hill and they are well-respected by their fellow lawmakers, and I’m honored to have their support.”
Auchincloss said he won the pair over by emphasizing he would look out for their constituents and be “an effective partner” in Washington if elected.
“We’ve got serious work to do to make sure that we have a green economic recovery, to make sure that health care is a human right, to make sure that local budgets are not hit hard in these next two fiscal years,” he said.
Two other Democrats have also scored endorsements from members of Bristol County’s legislative delegation. Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Michael Rodrigues of Westport is supporting Newton City Councilor Becky Grossman, while longtime state Sen. Marc Pacheco of Taunton is backing City Year founder Alan Khazei.
Auchincloss was the financial leader in the 4th District race as of March 31, having raised nearly $1.1 million, according to Federal Election Commission reports. With Tuesday being the last day of the second fundraising quarter, candidates are making a last-minute push to bring in donations before the reporting deadline.
Meanwhile, arguably the biggest Fall River endorsement of all is still waiting to be won: Mayor Paul Coogan told WPRI 12 last week he has not decided which 4th District candidate to support. And the other prominent 4th District mayor in the region, Attleboro Democrat Paul Heroux, said Monday he will make no endorsement in the congressional race.
“It’s a crowded primary, and it’s a strong primary field,” Auchincloss acknowledged.
Ted Nesi (email@example.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook