ATTLEBORO — Jacob Ventura likes to tout himself as the Attleboro candidate in the special election campaign for state Senate against three challengers from Walpole.
In fact, he notes that if he is elected, he will be the first state senator from Attleboro since 1949.
“I’m excited to bring new representation to Attleboro as the only Attleboro candidate. This city and its residents deserve a state senator who understands its needs and who will fight every day for them,” he said in a recent press release.
Except Ventura just moved to Attleboro in June.
He moved in after former state Sen. James Timilty announced he was resigning and there would be a special election to fill his vacant seat.
Attleboro is part of Timilty’s Bristol and Norfolk District. Ventura’s previous home in Dartmouth is not.
According to his voter registration form at Attleboro City Hall, he registered to vote in Attleboro on June 13, using 17 Pamela Lane as an address. He switched to 214 Park St. on July 16.
He is a licensed attorney in California and the bar still lists his Dartmouth address. He has twice served as an aide to state Rep. Steven Howitt, R-Seekonk.
Ventura would not answer questions about his move to Attleboro, but issued a statement saying he is a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, a first-generation college graduate and has a law degree from Washington and Lee University in Virginia.
“As a young professional, I chose Attleboro because of its affordability, strong community, and access to public transportation,” he said.
Two of his three Republican opponents in the Sept. 19 primary were critical of his move.
Michael Berry of Walpole said Ventura is posing as Attleboro’s “native son,” saying it raises a question of honesty.
“He is passing himself off as something he is not,” he said of Ventura.
Another candidate, Harry Brousaides of Walpole, said Ventura is probably “ a very fine young fellow,” but he never lived in the district until the election began.
Ventura brushed off the criticism.
“In regards to my opponents’ attacks, we’ve conducted an honorable campaign by following Reagan’s 11th commandment, ‘Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.’
“I’ve been working hard and will continue to work hard to make sure that a Republican wins the Bristol and Norfolk Senate District. I hope I’m that Republican.”
The fourth Republican in the primary race, Tim Hempton, of Walpole, had no problem with Ventura’s move.
He said he remembers growing up in New York when Robert Kennedy moved into the state to run for U.S. Senate.
Both his parents voted for Kennedy and he did a good job representing the state.
Berry also questioned whether Ventura picked Attleboro to move into because it has a mayoral primary on the same day as the special election and turnout is expected to be much higher in the city than the rest of the district.
The Democratic and Republican winners of the Dept. 19 primary will run against each other in an Oct. 17 general special election along with independent Joe Shirtsleeve of Medfield.
The Democrats are Paul Feeney of Foxboro and Ted Philips of Sharon.
The district includes half of Attleboro, all of Seekonk, Rehoboth, Norton, Mansfield, Foxboro, Walpole, Medfield and parts of Sharon.