Signature-gathering deadline is next Tuesday
The door to the Election Department closed on Monday at 5 p.m., marking one end to the first leg of Boston’s 2013 municipal elections countdown as the last-day candidates applied for nomination papers that had been available since April 30.
While 24 people – a mix of elected officials, community activists and long shots – have applied for the papers, not all of them are expected to gather enough signatures to make the ballot. Others may run for other municipal offices.
Nearly half of the two dozen hail from Dorchester, including state Rep. Marty Walsh, former state Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie, former School Committee member John Barros, Codman Square Health Center co-founder Bill Walczak, Barstool Sports’ David Portnoy, Rev. Miniard Culpepper, TOUCH 106.1 FM co-founder Charles Clemons, and District 4 Councillor Charles Yancey.
Others live in West Roxbury (City Councillor At-Large John Connolly and Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley), Hyde Park (District 5 Councillor Rob Consalvo), Jamaica Plain (City Councillor At-Large Felix Arroyo), and Mission Hill (District 8 Councillor Michael Ross).
Yancey, who was elected to the City Council in 1983, has been cagey about whether he plans to run for reelection or plunge into the mayor’s race, or run for both.
The Walsh and Conley campaigns say they already have enough signatures – each candidate needs 3,000 certified signatures from registered voters – to make it onto the ballot. Conley’s camp said last week that it had turned in 10,000 signatures, though the Elections Department stops counting them after 3,600.
Four years ago, Mayor Thomas Menino’s crew picked up 20,000 signatures on the first day the nomination papers were available, while challenger Michael Flaherty’s team cobbled together about 5,000.
A Boston voter can sign nomination papers for many mayoral candidates, but the signature only counts for the first candidate to get the name to the Elections Department. The complicated rules surrounding signature-gathering have led Rep. Walsh to call for a change through a home rule petition.
“It’s an unfair barrier to getting on the ballot, and it mostly affects candidates of color, candidates who aren’t as well funded as others, and candidates without networks that take years to build,” he said in a statement issued by his campaign on Wednesday. “If you can get 3,000 valid signatures, you should be able to get on the ballot. Boston’s rules should be closer to the Commonwealth’s rules.”
Fundraising is another matter. In 24 hours this week, Barstool Sports’ Portnoy apparently raised over $15,000. The Internet mogul, who lives in Lower Mills and who wavered several times over jumping in, said on his website that he is now in the race for “the long haul.” “This is just the beginning,” he wrote. “We’re going to come up with some fairly unique ways to run this campaign and raise money.”
Next Tuesday, May 21, is the next deadline for candidates: They have to get their nomination signatures back in the hands of city elections officials for certification. The preliminary election is slated for Sept. 24. The top two vote-getters in that election will face off on Nov. 5.