Suffolk Sheriff Cabral keeps her job in impressive primary win
By Ann E. Donlan
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral won the battle to keep her badge last night, beating back a hard-fought challenge by City Councilor Stephen J. Murphy after a nasty campaign to oust the county's first sheriff to be both female and black.
Facing her first electoral race since being appointed to the seat in 2002 by GOP acting Gov. Jane Swift, Cabral won a full six-year term, switching parties to run as a Democrat. She faces no Republican opposition in November.
``Thanks for sticking around because you didn't have to,'' Cabral told supporters at a victory party at Boston's Hampshire House last night. ``I love being your sheriff, and the next six years are going to be tremendous.'' :uc:
In an interview, Cabral said the race was ``rough and tumble'' not nasty, and credited her campaign with the ``revolutionary'' achievement of uniting diverse supporters, including women, minorities, gays and lesbians and conservatives.
``I think it was the turnout in the communities of color, and the inroads we made into my opponent's base,'' Cabral said of her victory. ``God love the women. The women turned out in huge numbers for this.''
With 96 percent of the precincts reporting, Cabral had 59 percent of the vote to Murphy's 41 percent.
In a brief concession statement, Murphy said, ``I look forward to working with Sheriff Cabral to ensure the public safety in Suffolk County. She should be commended for running a great race.''
A political novice, Cabral won high praise for pushing for reforms while serving out the final two years of the scandal-ridden term of former Sheriff Richard J. Rouse. She had won a series of high-profile endorsements, including one from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy [related, bio].
``It seemed like (Cabral) has a pretty good focus in what she needs to do to clean up the sheriff's office,'' said 20-year-old Elizabeth Owens.
Murphy's bid came after several other unsuccessful attempts at higher office, including a failed bid for state treasurer.
``I voted for Murphy,'' said Joan Bok, 74, of Boston. ``I don't like that (Cabral) was a Republican and then she became a Democrat. I think it's sort of sneaky.''
Voters in other polling places encountered problems with the city's new ballot machines, including malfunctioning scanning machines at the Nate Smith House in Jamaica Plain.