The political campaigns doing battle in Boston’s neighborhoods hit the pause button this week in order to mourn the deaths and injuries and civic effects from the bombing attack at the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday.
The city is a battleground for several elections – two special elections and a nascent mayoral election cycle – but in the hours after the bombings the press releases and social media chatter slowed to a crawl as Boston sought to grieve and heal.
A South Boston forum that was set for Tuesday night in the race to replace former state Sen. Jack Hart has been postponed until April 25. The forum, put together by several South Boston-based civic organizations, is set for the new date with the same time (6:30 p.m.) and the same location, the Lithuanian Club at 368 West Broadway.
Garry Murad, who will be the moderator, said several of the candidates felt it was inappropriate to hold the forum so soon after the bombings.
A separate state Senate candidates’ forum put together by MassVOTE and other organizations, which was set for yesterday (Wed., April 17) at the Lee School on Talbot Avenue in Dorchester, was cancelled and appears unlikely to occur before the April 30 primary. “We hope to reschedule it after the primary, but think there’s not enough time in the campaign schedule to hold it before April 30,” Mike Prokosch, one of the organizers, said in an e-mail message.
DotOUT, a gay and lesbian group of activists from Dorchester, is holding an “endorsement forum” on Mon., April 22, at 6 p.m. at The Savin Bar restaurant in Savin Hill.
Four candidates are running in the First Suffolk race: State Rep. Nick Collins (D-South Boston), Maureen Dahill (D-South Boston), state Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Dorchester), and Joseph Ureneck (R-Dorchester). The winner of the Democratic primary will face off against the Republican in general election on May 28.
The Democrats running in the US Senate special election, Congressmen Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston) and Ed Markey (D-Malden) suspended their campaigns on Monday. One of the Republicans in the race, Gabriel Gomez of Cohasset, said in a statement that he had crossed the marathon’s finish line minutes before the explosions. “Today is not a day for politics, but I’d like to thank Mike Sullivan and Dan Winslow for calling immediately after the attack to make sure that we were clear of the danger,” Gomez said in a statement, referring to his rivals for the Republican nomination. The Democratic and Republican primaries in that race are set for April 30, while the general election is scheduled for June 25.
The contenders vying to succeed Mayor Thomas Menino largely stayed out of the political limelight. Those officially in the race include state Rep. Marty Walsh, Codman Square Health Center founder Bill Walczak, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, City Councillors At-Large John Connolly and Felix Arroyo, District 5 Councillor Rob Consalvo, District 8 Councillor Michael Ross, and David Portnoy, a Lower Mills resident who runs the popular Barstool Sports website. Two other candidates, considered long shots due to little fundraising, include Hyde Park’s Will Dorcena and pirate radio station owner Charles Clemons.
A source close to John Barros, the executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, told the Reporter earlier this week that Barros will be jumping into the race as well. Former state Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie, a former Menino administration official, and City Councillor At-Large Ayanna Pressley are weighing a mayoral run.
In a Tuesday e-mail to supporters, Arroyo said that he has frequently been a spectator at Boston Marathons. “We are suspending our campaign for the time being, including our first volunteer and organizing meeting on Thursday,” he wrote. “We will let you know when it is re-scheduled. “
Ross, whose City Council district includes the Back Bay area where the bombings occurred, also put out a statement: “When the first of two explosions went off, I, like so many Bostonians, was along Boylston Street cheering on runners as they crossed the finish line on what is normally one of Boston’s most celebrated days of the year,” he said. “Thankfully, I am safe but so many of our friends and neighbors are not. My heart is with the victims and the families of this tragic event.”
The mayoral election is scheduled for this fall, with a primary winnowing the field to the top two contenders in September, and a general election in November. The first day to apply for nomination papers at City Hall was yesterday.
UPDATE: Due to incorrect information provided by DotOUT, the article originally stated that their forum is occurring at Ledge in Lower Mills. It is scheduled for Savin Bar in Savin Hill. (4/22 5:08 p.m.)