Reporter’s Notebook: Mattapan’s Allen set to challenge Cullinane

Forty-four days. That’s how long Dan Cullinane, a Cedar Grove activist who won a special election in mid-September to fill the seat left behind by now-state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, had in office as a state representative before drawing a challenge for the 2014 election cycle.

It appears he’ll have at least one contender for his seat: Corey Allen, a longtime community activist who worked on District 5 Councillor Rob Consalvo’s mayoral campaign, is jumping into the race for the 12th Suffolk House seat, which was held by Speaker Tom Finneran, a Mattapan Democrat, before Dorcena Forry won it in a 2005 special election.

Allen set up a campaign committee on Nov. 8, days after the end of the mayoral election, and he’s planning a kick-off, which is doubling as a fundraiser, at the Ledge restaurant in Lower Mills next Monday.

Cullinane said Wednesday that he was committed to being an “effective, accessible, and responsive legislator who will continue to deliver results” for the district, which includes parts of Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park and Milton. Cullinane, who was among the Dorchester legislators tapped to be on Mayor-elect Marty Walsh’s transition team earlier this week, noted that the next few months will be busy on Beacon Hill and he plans to work on raising the state minimum wage, earned sick time and reducing gun violence.

“It is an honor to represent the hard-working people of the 12th Suffolk District as state representative,” he said. “I am grateful for the belief and confidence voters placed in me by electing me to serve as their voice in the State House. I am focused on doing the job they sent me here to do.”

Allen, 30, has worked as a writer for the Mattapan Reporter, a sister publication of the Dorchester Reporter, and as a board member of the Mattapan Patriots Pop Warner program.

“I’ve been active in the district for a long time,” he said, adding that he seriously considered running earlier this year when the special election first came up. But he was focused on volunteering for the Consalvo campaign and ended up staying neutral in the 12th Suffolk race.

Consalvo, who gave up his seat to run for mayor, said Allen was one of his closest advisers during the campaign. Allen’s father, Jerome, introduced Consalvo at the mayoral campaign’s kick-off at Cedars of Lebanon.

“He cares a lot about our neighborhood. I think it’s great,” Consalvo said. “He’s a real great kid and he’s got a lot to offer.”

Cullinane is unlikely to be the only member of the Dorchester delegation on Beacon Hill to be facing an opponent next year. State Rep. Nick Collins, a South Boston Democrat, could draw an opponent. At least one South Boston resident told the Reporter this week that he is considering it.

Pat Mahoney, a 33-year-old electrician with IBEW Local 103 who has lived in South Boston for the last 13 years, said he has been chatting with friends and possible supporters about a run.

“I look forward to making my announcement after the first of the year,” he said. He said he spoke to Collins on Sunday about jumping into the race. Mahoney said he volunteered in the mayoral election and voted for state Rep. and mayor-elect Marty Walsh.

Collins endorsed mayoral runner-up John Connolly, a stance that drew a furious response from members of Team Walsh who felt it was payback for Walsh staying out of the First Suffolk Senate race earlier this year. Labor union members were particularly incensed because they had backed Collins in the state Senate race.

When asked about the potential challenger, Collins said he is focused on working with state Sen. Dorcena Forry on the expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

“I am proud of my work focused on job creation and economic development in the district,” he said.

As to Walsh’s seat in the 13th Suffolk district, Dan Hunt of Ward 16 remains the only official name in the mix for the job. Hunt, an attorney and Department of Conservation and Recreation official, opened up a campaign committee last month; Walsh is expected to step down in early January.

Annissa Essaibi George, who fell short of getting one of the four City Council at-large slots in the November election, said this week that she is leaning towards running for representative. The owner of a yarn shop on Dorchester Avenue, George came in fifth place, just outside the fourth place finish needed to make it onto the Council.

You can add the name of another person who has also run for at-large to the mix of possible 13th Suffolk contenders: Hiep Q. Nguyen. The Fields Corner accountant didn’t make it past the 15-person preliminary in 2009, but he later signed on as City Councillor At-Large Connolly’s campaign treasurer.

Nguyen, 31, came to the US from Vietnam in 1991, joined by his eleven-member family. He attended St. William’s grammar school in Savin Hill. He said he did not have a specific time frame for deciding whether he hopes to make another run for public office.

Other names that continue to float among neighborhood activists and insiders include a slew of former District 3 Council candidates (Craig Galvin, John O’Toole and Michael Cote) and community activists (Phil Carver and Mariama White-Hammond).

EDITOR’S NOTE: Check out updates to Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at Email us at and follow us on Twitter: @LitDrop and @gintautasd. Material from State House News Service was used in this report.