Reporter’s Notebook- One to keep an eye on this fall: Cullinane’s run for reelection

Put this race down as one to watch in the fall: The 12th Suffolk House election. After winning a special election last year, Dan Cullinane, a Dorchester Democrat, is running for a full two-year term. Several potential challengers who have pulled nomination papers have until April 29 to submit 150 voter signatures each to local elections officials. Corey Allen, a Mattapan activist, jumped into the race in December. If he and the others get on the ballot, a spirited race for the majority-minority seat will follow.

Cullinane took the seat vacated by Linda Dorcena Forry when she won a separate special election for the First Suffolk Senate seat, leaving Gloria Fox as the only black woman in the House. A Cedar Grove activist who once worked for then-Rep. Marty Walsh and former City Councillor Maureen Feeney, Cullinane also worked on Dorcena Forry’s state Senate campaign. He won a three-way primary in August with 1,373 votes, and has been logging time at the State House – days and weekends – since then.

“It’s 12:40 a.m. and I am just getting home after putting in a 13- hour Sunday at the State House,” he wrote on Facebook earlier this month. “I spent today personally writing more than 100 letters to residents who sent emails and letters to me regarding issues and legislation.”

Potential candidates, aside from Cullinane and Allen, could include Marydith Tuitt, who ran against Cullinane last summer and picked up 324 votes; Carlotta Williams of Hyde Park; and Ruthella Logan-Cruz, who waged a write-in campaign last year and received 59 votes. All are Democrats.

Other Boston races are unlikely to generate as much heat. Dorcena Forry, a Dorchester Democrat who is married to Reporter editor Bill Forry, has yet to draw an announced challenger. The same goes for state Reps. Russell Holmes (D-Mattapan) and Nick Collins, a South Boston Democrat who angered unions last year when he endorsed John Connolly over Marty Walsh in the mayor’s race. Despite whispers of an attempt at vengeance, nobody has pulled nomination papers for Collins’s Fourth Suffolk House seat.

As to the Second Suffolk Senate seat, Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Jamaica Plain Democrat who represents parts of Dorchester and Mattapan, could face minor challengers. Roy Owens, a perennial contender, has applied for nomination papers, as have David James Wyatt, a Republican who unsuccessfully ran for mayor last year, Brad Howze, and Tony Patton.

Walsh hits 100-day mayoral mark

The systematic marker of a politician’s first 100 days in office dates back to Franklin Roosevelt in 1933, and it has become a traditional yardstick that politicians and reporters regularly use to measure progress or the lack of same. Marty Walsh hit his 100th day this week. His office says it was Tuesday, a day he spent focusing on honoring the victims and survivors of last year’s Marathon bombings. (By another calculation, his 100th day fell on April 16.)

Whatever the case, it came and went this week. Walsh was sworn in on Jan. 6, even though for many he seems to have been in the mayoral suite for much longer. It’s not the days, it’s the mileage.

“Oh, man, it’s been incredible,” Walsh told reporters. “I don’t think rollercoaster’s the right word; but really, there’s been highs and lows.”

Walsh’s mind turned to the death of a nine-year-old boy who allegedly was shot by his 14-year-old brother in a Mattapan a month into his tenure. “You know it might come, [I] thought it may come at some point but getting that call was a difficult call…and secondly, you know, the loss of the two firefighters,” he said, referring to the deaths of Michael Kennedy and Edward Walsh, who died fighting a Back Bay fire.

Asked by a Globe reporter what he had learned, Walsh said, “This job changes every single minute, and I mean that. No two days have been the same. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a Saturday or Sunday, no two days have been the same since I’ve been mayor of the city of Boston.” In the last 30 days, he has settled in, he added. “I’ve come to understand that’s my life for now.”

But it is the velocity of each passing day that has been an adjustment for Walsh, who served as a Dorchester state representative for 16 years before moving into Thomas Menino’s old office. “It really is the pace and the clip,” Walsh said. “As mayor of the city of Boston, you can’t focus on one issue; it’s just what comes in the course of the day.”
 
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