Mayoral hopefuls take to trail again

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Apr. 24, 2013

Candidates hoping to succeed Mayor Thomas Menino slowly returned to the campaign trail this week after most of them had suspended campaign activities following last week’s Boston Marathon bombings.

Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley appeared at a First Suffolk State Senate forum organized by DotOUT, a group of LGBT activists from Dorchester. He worked his way through the crowd at Savin Bar before heading out to another event. And District 8 City Councillor Michael Ross, also a candidate for mayor, came by as the Monday night forum was winding down.

City Councillor At-Large John Connolly, who announced his candidacy before Mayor Thomas Menino said he wouldn’t be seeking a sixth term, stopped by the city’s Election Department on Tuesday to apply for nomination papers, one of the formal first steps toward a run. City Councillor At-Large Felix Arroyo applied for nomination papers 24 hours later and announced that he has tapped Clare Kelly, a top organizer for Gov. Deval Patrick and former executive director of Massachusetts Democratic Party, as his campaign manager.

But the beginning of the week was marked by the entry of additional candidates from Dorchester. State Rep. Marty Walsh of Savin Hill and Codman Square Health Center co-founder Bill Walczak are two major candidates who have already announced.

Now former state Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie and John Barros, executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, are joining the field: Golar Richie, a former aide to Menino and Patrick, spoke with friends and supporters on Sunday, telling them she will be a candidate. Barros formed a campaign committee last week and on Tuesday, he told the Reporter he is resigning his post on the School Committee.

“I really feel the work of the School Committee is too important to be distracted by me as a candidate sitting on the School Committee,” said Barros, who was first appointed to the seven-member panel by Menino in January 2010.

A source close to him told the Reporter last week that Barros will be a candidate for mayor. He planned to formally announce his candidacy at the Haley House in Roxbury on Thursday morning.

An Uphams Corner resident, Barros is a Dorchester resident and the first Cape Verdean to serve on the School Committee. His term was set to expire in January 2014, according to a profile on the Boston Public Schools website.

School Committee chair Michael O’Neill said Barros will be missed and praised him as a “very strategic thinker.”

City Councillor At-Large Ayanna Pressley, an Ashmont resident, said she would not be a mayoral candidate, choosing instead to run for a third term on the City Council. “I am grateful for and humbled by the outpouring of support from those urging me to consider running for mayor,” she said in a statement. “While the time may come for me to pursue a different office, that time isn’t now.”

The list of people who applied for mayoral nomination papers has been growing steadily. Last week, Hassan Williams, who unsuccessfully challenged state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz in 2010, joined the pack. According to the city’s Election Department, the applicants include, among others: Lee Buckley; pirate radio station owner Charles Clemons Jr.; William Dorcena of Hyde Park; former state Rep. Althea Garrison; John Laing Jr. of Hyde Park; Divo Rodrigues Monteiro of Dorchester; Barstool Sports’ David Portnoy of Dorchester; former City Councillor Gareth Saunders; Christopher Womack of Hyde Park; David James Wyatt of Roxbury; and District 4 Councillor Charles Yancey.

Walczak has also applied for nomination papers, and tapped Reuben Kantor as his campaign manager. Kantor has worked on the campaigns of Gov. Deval Patrick and City Councillor At-Large Pressley. For a year and a half, he was Councillor Ross’s chief of staff inside City Hall.

Yancey, the longtime city councillor, has also applied to pull nomination papers for his District 4 seat.

Candidates are allowed to pull papers for both the City Council and mayor, but they must gather separate signatures for the two offices. And if elected to both offices, they will have to choose one or the other to serve in.

Last week, as he was leaving City Hall, a coy Yancey was asked if he had made a decision. He said he had, but he declined to disclose what it is.

Mayoral candidates need 3,000 certified signatures to get on the ballot. They can pull nomination papers starting on April 30, the same day as primaries for the US Senate and the First Suffolk State Senate races.