Reporter’s Notebook: It’s Marty Party time at Labor Council breakfast
On Labor Day, the inside of the Park Plaza Hotel looked a lot like Dorchester Avenue: Marty Walsh signs were hanging from nearly every available surface.
The Greater Boston Labor Council’s breakfast drew several mayoral candidates, including City Councillor At-Large Felix Arroyo, former School Committee member John Barros, former state Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie, District 8 Councillor Michael Ross and District 4 Councillor Charles Yancey, all of whom worked the room. But it was a Marty Party, with even the waiters and waitresses wearing “Marty Walsh” stickers on their lapels as they served union members their scrambled eggs. The hotel workers union, Local 26, is backing Walsh.
Members of SEIU 615, a union of janitors and security guards that once employed Arroyo as an organizer and is backing him for mayor, were seated far away from the main stage. Another union, SEIU 1199, whose canvassers are coveted by political operatives, is apparently staying neutral in the mayoral race’s preliminary, according to breakfast attendees with ties to the union. Widely viewed as likely to endorse Arroyo, SEIU 1199 declining to wade into the battle will be seen as a win for state Rep. Walsh.
In his speech at the breakfast, Walsh, a Dorchester Democrat who was elected to his Beacon Hill seat in 1997, defended his roots in the labor community. “Of course, when it comes to elections, we all know that certain people, especially in Washington, but even here in our city, are going to claim that labor unions are just another bunch of people looking out for number one,” he said. “That couldn’t be more wrong.”
Walsh pledged to “represent all the people of this city to the utmost of my ability” and with fairness. “I am a son of labor, but I am a man of principle and courage, ready to work with anybody who wants to move our city forward and willing to stand up to anyone who gets in the way.”
Capuano giving governor’s race ‘serious consideration’
U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, a Somerville Democrat, said on Tuesday he is still weighing a run for governor in 2014. Capuano, whose Congressional district runs through Dorchester, said he has been meeting with friends and supporters “off and on” during the summer months and was giving the race “serious consideration.”
Asked if his friends and supporters were encouraging him to run, Capuano said, “Some do, a fair number do.” But as for a timeline, Capuano would only say, “soon.”
The field of gubernatorial candidates has slowly grown while Boston’s mayoral race has dominated the headlines. Four Democrats are already running: State Treasurer Steven Grossman, former Patrick administration official Juliette Kayyem, former Obama administration official Don Berwick, and Wellesley executive Joseph Avellone. Harwich’s state Sen. Dan Wolf is hashing out differences of opinion with the State Ethics Commission, which released an advisory opinion in August pointing to Wolf’s stake in his company, Cape Air, and saying he could not hold public office while owning interest in a company with a state contract.
This week, Republican Charlie Baker, who unsuccessfully ran in 2010, announced that he was trying again. Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown has said he isn’t running and has thrown his support behind Baker, a former health care executive who served as former Gov. William Weld’s budget chief.
Independent candidate Evan Falchuk is also running for the office, up for grabs next year with Gov. Deval Patrick declining to run for a third term.
Congressman Stephen Lynch, a South Boston Democrat who also represents Dorchester, might also jump into the governor’s race. “That’s a question for another day,” he said yesterday. “No, I haven’t made a decision on that.”
GOP candidate for mayor given cult status by some
Mayoral candidate David James Wyatt is unlikely to be one of the two contenders that make it beyond the Sept. 24 preliminary. But the Roxbury Republican is a frontrunner for cult status among political junkies and reporters in the 12-person race for mayor.
Wyatt, in introducing himself to voters at the forums he attends, usually notes his political affiliation and the fact that he is against abortion. (The remark prompted a union member attending the Greater Boston Labor Council’s forum in Dorchester several months ago to say to another member, “He’s off to a great start.”)
And, Wyatt adds, he is the only candidate to have run for mayor before. Which is technically true, though it was as a write-in candidate in 2001. “I’m not choosing to do this now simply because there’s a prospective vacancy in the seat,” he said in an interview with Boston Neighborhood News’s Chris Lovett.
In the interview, he admits he would not have much power as mayor to change abortion policies. “However, I am 100 percent pro-life, I’m also a Republican, and I feel that it’s important to have two-party government in this country and in the city. I know that the election is non-partisan but people have gut feelings about whether they want to support someone who is supposedly liberal or conservative or fiscally conservative. I’m putting it out there that I’m a conservative, I’m a Republican, 100 percent pro-life, and if I do not win this race…I think everyone who is running for office this year in the city of Boston would be a Democrat and would be pro-choice.”
He has $17 in his campaign finance account. “I have not raised any money,” Wyatt acknowledged when Lovett noted his lackluster fundraising. “I’m not sure that I’m going to ask anyone. I don’t know how to ask, really, people for money. It gives me some flexibility that the other candidates will not have should they happen to be mayor in January. There would be no strings attached to what I would do.”
Wyatt has also appeared at events by himself, without staff in tow, unlike the usual entourage that travels with mayoral candidates. But that could soon change.
Boston magazine’s David Bernstein wrote on Twitter last week that he was hearing reports of “staffers from some campaigns sniffing for post-prelim jobs w/ other campaigns.” The posting prompted Cayce McCabe, Councillor Michael Ross’s mayoral campaign manager to quip: “I will neither confirm nor deny that I have reached out to the Wyatt campaign.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Check out updates to Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at dotnews.com/litdrop. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Twitter: @LitDrop and @gintautasd.