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Liz Miranda wins decisive victory in 2nd Suffolk

State Rep., Roxbury native scores win in four-way race

Anna Lamb
Liz Miranda wins decisive victory in 2nd Suffolk
Liz Miranda declares victory at the Prince Hall lounge in Grove Hall. ANNA LAMB

On Tuesday night, state Rep. Liz Miranda declared victory in the five-way race for the Second Suffolk state Senate district after a hard-fought campaign spread over more than eight months.

“This has been a long journey,” Miranda said, speaking to a large crowd in Roxbury’s Prince Hall. “I wanted to give up so many times, but God kept pushing me to keep going, keep pushing.”

With 98% of the precincts reporting as on election night, Miranda had 6,541 of the 19,660 ballots cast in the race. State Rep. Nika Elugardo had 5,297 votes. Former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson had 4,243 votes and Rev. Miniard Culpepper had 3,020 votes. James Grant, a first-time candidate, had 529 votes.

Elugardo was the closest in the race, having run a competitive campaign with a similarly progressive platform. Perhaps surprisingly, Wilkerson, who was ousted from the seat in 2008 because of corruption charges, finished third, followed by Culpepper and finally deacon Grant who did little campaigning.

Miranda is a Roxbury native, having grown up in the neighborhood before attending Wellesley College. She was galvanized to run for public office in 2018 after her brother was killed in an act of gun violence. During her tenure as the 5th Suffolk state representative, she has not only worked to curb violence but has also centered other progressive issues such as an end to mass incarceration, legislation to support maternal health, and environmental justice.

Miranda will take over the seat from former gubernatorial candidate Sonia Chang-Diaz. Chang-Diaz withdrew from the Democratic primary for governor in June after announcing she could see no path to victory.

Chang-Diaz was in attendance at her successor’s victory celebration, offering hugs and congratulations.

“Liz knows what she’s doing. Her values are deep and strong,” she said. “She brings such a profound authenticity to the work and in the State House, and I think my advice to her is keep doing what you’re doing.”

City Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune, who repped a purple-and-yellow Team Liz shirt Tuesday, also lent her endorsement of the legislator’s power to impact the community.

“She is going to be an amazing representative to the people of the Second Suffolk,” Louijeune said. “We have spent decades and decades of disinvestment and I think she will really push to reverse that and work really hard, as she’s always done on the Hill, to bring back money and resources to our community.”

Emotional after being greeted so enthusiastically, Miranda thanked her family and friends — especially her mother, who she said has been a constant source of motivation.

“My family always encouraged me, this little girl growing up on Dudley Street, to never think that Dudley Street was the end of the road for me. They always told me to go bigger, to do better, to study hard,” she said. “That’s what all the kids in the Second Suffolk deserve — they deserve somebody to tell them that they matter. Somebody that loves them unconditionally and someone that pushes them.”

Hugging her daughter, Miranda’s mother beamed over the night’s victory as she told the Banner how proud she was.

“I’m very proud of my daughter. I don’t even know the word to describe it … this year, everything that she’s accomplished in her life. Now I wish her more success in the future,” she said.

Miranda’s father, with whom she also shared a close bond, passed away during the campaign due to complications from cancer, as did her grandmother from COVID.

“I know they’re in this space tonight,” Miranda said, asking the crowd for a moment of silence.

Before taking her first break for the night to enjoy a plate of hot food, Miranda said she’s immensely excited for the work to begin.

“It’s going be the honor of my lifetime to serve in the district where I was born and raised,” she said.