Attorney and criminal justice reformer Andrea Harrington has won the Democratic primary for Berkshire District Attorney, following a concession from former DA David Capeless’ hand-picked successor Paul J. Caccaviello.
Harrington, Caccaviello, and Judith C. Knight all sought the Democratic nomination to be Berkshire County’s top prosecutor. The race has been a clash between Caccaviello, a longtime prosecutor who was appointed DA after Capeless’ March retirement, and two advocates for liberal changes to the Berkshires’ criminal justice system.
And the race went down to the wire between Harrington and Caccaviello as Tuesday night edged toward Wednesday morning, according to their campaigns. Around 10:45 p.m., Pittsfield City Councilor John Krol, a Harrington supporter, said Harrington had a narrow lead with just four precincts remaining, according to her campaign’s unofficial count.
Less than an hour later, Caccaviello’s campaign told MassLive he had conceded to Harrington.
Harrington is a veteran attorney who has worked on criminal defense and labor cases. She worked on overturning death penalty sentences in Florida after graduating law school, according to her campaign website.
She was the sole candidate without experience on the prosecutor’s side of the courtroom and centered her campaign on promises of criminal justice reform. She has endorsed treatment beds rather than jail cells for nonviolent drug users, proposed ending cash bail for low-level offenders and criticized the disproportionate prosecution of juvenile minorities.
Harrington’s opponents criticized her for her comparative lack of trial experience, Commonwealth Magazine reported.
Her positions cast a contrast with Capeless, who was strongly opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana, the Berkshire Edge reported.
Capeless endorsed Caccaviello, who was his First Assistant District Attorney, during his retirement announcement in March. Gov. Charlie Baker appointed Caccaviello as Berkshire District Attorney following Capeless’ abrupt retirement, allowing Caccaviello to run as an incumbent.
During the campaign, Caccaviello touted his experience, saying he had the know-how to both successfully prosecute cases and implement the criminal justice reforms recently passed by the Massachusetts legislature, Commonwealth Magazine reported.
Knight is a veteran attorney who has worked as a prosecutor and defense lawyer during her 30-plus years of practice, according to her campaign.
No Republican is on the ballot, making Harrington Capeless’ presumptive successor.