By Amanda Drane and Haven Orecchio-Egresitz, The Berkshire Eagle
PITTSFIELD – Andrea Harrington, a Richmond attorney whose progressive message is about Democratic primary voters, has become a Berkshire district attorney.
Shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday, it was apparent that the campaign by incumbent Paul Caccaviello had fallen short.
"It's over," said Barry Clairmont, a former Pittsfield city councilman and Harrington supporter, prompting a roar from the Jubilant Crowd at Tavern at the A in Pittsfield.
Harrington took the stage shortly after 10 p.m. following introductory remarks by state Rep. John Barrett III, D-North Adams, and Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer.
"I really want to thank the voters for their trust and their faith in me," said Harrington, who will become the county's first female district attorney. "I want to work with our officials in Berkshire County to prevent crime, to bring public safety, to put dangerous people behind bars, but also to provide help for people who need it."
By 11:45 p.m., Harrington had taken a substantial lead, and the votes had been counted in most of the county's largest communities.
Caccaviello arrived at Mazzeo's Ristorante just after 10 p.m. and thanked his supporters who were invited there in hopes of a celebration.
Pittsfield wards. Early in the night, the crowd, which included many law enforcement officials.
As the night went on, however, the tone of the gathering soured. Several officials, including the Lee and Lenox Police Chiefs and former District Attorney David Capeless, are pleased to share their feelings about the results.
"Paul is undoubtedly the most qualified person for the position," former Pittsfield Mayor Daniel Bianchi said early in the night. "The implication of having someone in there is less significant."
"Right now, I'm sharing some hugs and handshakes," Caccaviello said about his next steps. "We'll make more of a determination once everything is done and we'll figure out what's next."
He had not officially conceded the race as of press time.
He said: "We did not come this far to make sure that everything is counted," he said of the results.
Harrington, 43, of Richmond, emerged victorious in the three-way Democratic primary in September, beating out incumbent Caccaviello by about 700 votes and earning her place on the Tuesday ballot. Caccaviello announced a write-in campaign about two weeks later.
Judith Knight, who polled third on the primary ballot with about 5,000 votes – or 24 percent – had since endorsed Caccaviello.
Caccaviello, 54, of Dalton, so set out to gather votes from Republicans who did not vote for him in the primary. State data show that there were about 7,700 registered Republicans in Berkshire County as of Oct. 17th
Harrington has run a progressive platform, touting the bail system, and increasing the use of diversion programs for first-time offenders, addicts, and those with mental illness. She won endorsements from leading Democrats near and far – including Mayor Tyer, Attorney General Maura Healey and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Caccaviello stopped short of endorsing progressive reform, asserting that each case should be handled individually. But after the endorsement from Knight, he signaled support for some progressive ideas that emerged during the election season. So he earned the support of state law enforcement organizations, including Sheriff Thomas Bowler and Berkshire County's chiefs of police.
Caccaviello, a veteran of the Berkshire District Attorney's office for nearly 30 years, served as first assistant under David F. Capeless for 14 years, until he retired in March. Gov. Charlie Baker appointed Caccaviello to succeed Capeless.
A native of Pittsfield, Caccaviello earned his degree from Western New England Law School in 1989.
Harrington, graduate of American University, Washington College of Law, 15 years, including post-conviction work with individuals on death row in Florida, employment law, and appeals and defense work in Western Massachusetts district and juvenile courts.
Sen. Adam Hinds. In 2016, she sent an unsuccessful bid for the state Senate's seat previously held by Benjamin B. Downing.
Jack Downing, executive director of Soldier On in Pittsfield, said Harrington as "a bright woman" and backed her candidacy Tuesday.
Downed said in an interview at the Berkshire Athenaeum's Ward 5 polls in Pittsfield.
Erika Martin of Pittsfield So added her vote to Harrington's column.
"She's smart and good and a Democrat," said Martin Harrington. Virginia Donovan emerged from the Berkshire polling station Athenaeum to say she will what she'll write-in vote ever: for Caccaviello.
"He's been doing the job for a while, and doing a good job," Donovan said of the veteran prosecutor. Though Harrington's campaign on the ballot, Donovan said she believes Caccaviello has undergone changes in the Berkshire District attorney's office, particularly in relation to opioids.
John Betters, a pharmacist at Berkshire Medical Center, backed Caccaviello. He said he preferred Caccaviello's years of experience as a prosecutor. But war is guided by his dislike of a national politician, Elizabeth Warren, who weighed in for Harrington.
So, in this case, he asked, did Warren's endorsement help Harrington? "Just the opposite," Betters said.
Harrington and Caccaviello have grown more contentious than the general election approach. Harrington's campaign began comparing Caccaviello to President Donald Trump after he garnered endorsements from the county's Republican organization.
In advertisements, Caccaviello's campaign, which upped its game dramatically post-primary, tried to poke holes in Harrington's resume and criticized her for garnering support from "political outsiders."
On social media, both candidates were subject to vicious character assassinations from the supporters of their opponent.
At Harrington's party, supporters were elated.
Jonathan Lothrop, Former City Councilor and Field Coordinator for Harrington, said the campaign had about 100 volunteers working on the polls on Election Day. He said he's put countless hours into Harrington's campaign because "what we're doing is fundamentally not working."
Dina Guiel, volunteer coordinator for Harrington, said: "We needed somebody who understands the change that we need, and so had the ability to inspire people." "She is a leader."
After Speeches were over, the disco lights came on and "Sweet Caroline" played at the Tavern at The A.
Put simply, Darcie Sosa said, "I believe in her."
Caccaviello's supporters, but one of his longtime staffers, say he'll do it in the coming days.
"Lonely, the longtime spokesman for the Berkshire District Attorney's Office. "They will do the best for the people of Berkshire County to bring them justice."
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