Eyes turn to seat Walsh left behind

As Marty Walsh settles into the concrete confines of City Hall, the Dorchester-based House seat that he resigned from last Friday is attracting the attention of several attorneys and activists.

Four people have pulled nomination papers for the special election in the 13th Suffolk District as of Tuesday evening, according an informal list kept by the Secretary of State’s Office, which oversees Bay State elections. They include Daniel Hunt, a lawyer and former aide to the Department of Conservation and Recreation; Liam Curran, a City Hall attorney; Gene Gorman, a neighborhood activist who briefly contemplated a City Council at-large run last year; and William Lynch Sr., a longtime member of the Columbia Savin Hill Civic Association.

Two others are expected to join the race: Tony Dang, a MBTA police officer who is active in the Vietnamese-American community, and P.J. McCann, who has worked in the general counsel’s office at the Boston Public Health Commission.

Other potential candidates could still jump in. The deadline to submit nomination papers, with at least 150 valid signatures needed to get on the ballot, is Jan. 21. The primary is set for March 4 and the general election will be held on April 1. Since the winner of the final election will be finishing out the rest of Walsh’s term, he or she will have to run again in the fall for a full two-year term.

All candidates and potential contenders mentioned so far are Democrats. And because of the deep blue make-up of the district, the primary is likely to be determinative as to the winner of the general election a month later. The district includes Savin Hill, Clam Point, the Neponset area, Pope’s Hill, Port Norfolk, and a precinct in the northern part of Quincy, just over the Neponset River.

Hunt, whose father and brother have run for the seat in the last two times it has opened up, has a head start: He announced his candidacy in December, held a fundraiser at the Blarney Stone in Fields Corner, and already has been out gathering signatures. He is expected to announce that his campaign raised $58,520 in December andhas $54,000 on hand.

The last time the seat was open was in 1997. Walsh won the battle, besting five other candidates, including future state Attorney General Martha Coakley, and Jim Hunt III, Dan’s brother and future environmental chief under Mayor Thomas Menino.

Walsh succeeded Jim Brett, who ran against Menino in 1993, and after losing, spent several years at the State House before taking a job with the New England Council.

Brett won the seat in 1981, with Savin Hill as his base. He beat out Jim Hunt Jr., among others. “You don’t bank on Savin Hill as your base,” Brett told the Reporter earlier this year. “You hope to do okay there, but you have to do well in other areas.”