Election Day: Candidates make final push in First Suffolk Senate race

At the end of day today, residents of a swath of South Boston, Dorchester, and Mattapan will have a new senator – at least through the fall of this year.

State Rep. Nick Collins, who won his uncontested Democratic primary in the First Suffolk race by garnering 94.59 of the vote on April 3, is facing off against Donald Osgood, Sr. and former state Rep. Althea Garrison in Tuesday’s special election.

The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Collins is the heavy favorite to take the seat, which he lost in a close race with Linda Dorcena Forry in 2013. She vacated her seat in late January to take a post with Suffolk Construction, prompting the special election.

The South Boston representative boasts a campaign account of nearly $200,000 and has served the Fourth Suffolk since 2010 in the House, a hefty advantage in the special, and in the general election in the fall.

For Collins, the state of his campaign is “strong”; he says he has been out talking to voters, “building a great coalition of supporters,” and racking up a steady stream of endorsements from other elected officials.

Osgood, a city anti-violence worker and pastor in Dorchester, ran for mayor last year but did not make the ballot. He struck an optimistic tone in an interview with the Reporter. “I learned a lot during that process, and felt that was the precursor to this race,” he said. “I understand how politics are working, people are tired of business as usual, tired of the way things are going.

During this stage for me, I feel like on May 1st, come May 2nd, I’ll be First Suffolk Senator.”

He said he prioritizes bolstering housing protections; he praises the Jim Brooks Stabilization Act while saying it needs “tweaks”; and he has called for additional protections for low-income tenants and the homeless. Affordable housing is not meeting the needs of all potential residents, Osgood said, adding that systemic issues like scarce employment opportunities for recently released inmates contribute to a feeling of instability.

Collins is hopeful for higher turnout than was the case in the primary, though that hope has a low bar to clear. The Democratic primary saw only 3.68 percent of the district’s 111,183 registered voters turning out to cast 4,096 cards, and 213 write-ins counted for 5.41 percent of the vote.

“I was unopposed so there was not as much anxiety for some people,” he said. “I had it, of course.” Tuesday’s election should “make it official,” he said. “The race wasn’t over there, so this is it.”

Collins and Osgood have already pulled papers for the First Suffolk election in the fall, as the special election is only to serve out the remainder of Dorcena Forry’s term. Garrison is not running for the Senate in the normal cycle, instead opting to seek the Fifth Suffolk seat in the House left open by State Rep. Evandro Carvalho.

Several other potential candidates have pulled papers for the Fall election: Duckens Petit-Maitre (D), Samuel H. Pierce (D), and unenrolled candidates Jesus Rosa, and Elciana M. Ogunjobi.