South Boston may have two candidates in the race to replace former state Sen. Jack Hart if Maureen Dahill, a South Boston native who works for an online retailer and has co-founded an online magazine, makes it onto the ballot. She said this week that she is a candidate for the First Suffolk District seat.
She joins two other Democrats, state Reps. Linda Dorcena Forry of Dorchester and Nick Collins of South Boston , in pulling nomination papers and beginning to gather signatures as the Bay State recovers from a historic snow storm that has temporarily slowed down life in the city.
Republican Joseph Ureneck, a frequent candidate for office, has also pulled nomination papers, according to Secretary of State William Galvin’s office.
The primary is set for April 30 and the special election is scheduled for May 28. Candidates must collect 300 nomination signatures and submit them to state election officials by Feb. 27.
Dahill, 43, and the mother of three, is a political novice who considered running for state representative in 2010, but ultimately decided against it. This time is different, she said in an interview with the Reporter, citing Hart’s sudden departure for a law firm, encouragement from family and friends, and Mayor Thomas Menino’s focus on working women in his 2013 State of the City address.
“I’m not the political norm, so to speak,” Dahill said, though she does have some ties to local politics: she went to grammar school and Boston College with Michael Flaherty, the former city councillor at-large who briefly considered running for the Senate seat.
In 2009, Dahill co-founded an online site dedicated to South Boston entitled “Caught in Southie.” She has also worked as a vintage clothing store owner.
Dahill said she has felt pressure not to run by some who feared that more than one South Boston candidate would split the neighborhood’s vote and cost the area a seat it has held for decades. “Obviously the district has changed,” she said, noting it now includes most of Dorchester along with Mattapan and a part of Hyde Park. “So it’s not the same district, but yet certain people in South Boston are extremely fearful that two people are basically opening the door” for Forry, she said. Rep. Forry is married to the publisher and editor of the Reporter newspaper group, Bill Forry.
“For me, I feel I am the stronger candidate from South Boston,” Dahill said, adding, “I’m in it to win it.”
She said she is still looking for a campaign manager. “The first 24 hours, making my announcement, was literally like political boot camp,” she said.
The other announced Democrats were making their own moves this week: Collins was scheduled to hold a fundraiser last night at Amrhein’s Restaurant in South Boston and Forry tapped Cayce McCabe as her campaign manager for the 11-week sprint to the primary.
McCabe was the campaign manager for Suzanne Lee, a former school principal who challenged South Boston Councillor Bill Linehan in 2011 and came up short by less than 100 votes. He also worked on Concord Democrat Joseph Goodwin’s unsuccessful run for state Senate last year.
Collins’s campaign manager is Jay O’Brien, who worked for Cambridge Democrat Elizabeth Warren during her winning US Senate campaign.