Jackson, Carithers announce bids for district 7 seat

The field of candidates aiming to replace former City Councillor Chuck Turner started to take shape this week, with the heavy favorite announcing his entrance and another candidate following shortly afterwards.

As expected, on Monday, Tito Jackson, a top political aide to Gov. Deval Patrick and Grove Hall native, said he is a candidate for the district 7 seat. Jackson finished fifth out of eight candidates in the 2009 Council At-Large race, falling just short of grabbing one of the four At-Large seats on the City Council.

Turner, who was booted from the council this month after he was convicted of accepting a $1,000 bribe, has said he is backing Jackson.

Natalie Carithers, a former aide to state Rep. Willie Mae Allen, has also jumped into the race, joining Jackson and former state Rep. Althea Garrison, a perennial candidate for public office, who was the first to formally announce for the Turner slot.

District 7 includes Dorchester, Roxbury, Lower Roxbury, and parts of the Fenway, and the South End. A preliminary election will be held Feb. 15 and a winnowed field will be on the ballot for a final election on March 15.

Said to be still weighing runs are Candace Sealey, a district liaison for U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano; Cornell Mills, son of former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson; and Roxbury attorney Hassan Williams, who ran and lost in a Democratic primary against state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz earlier this year.

In addition to those three, a number of potential candidates have applied for nomination papers in order to gather the 191 signatures needed to get on the ballot. So far, they include: Abdillahi Mash Abdirahman of Roxbury; Anthony Baker of Roxbury; Lee Buckley of Boston; Roy Owens of Roxbury; Sheneal Parker of Boston; and David James Wyatt of Roxbury.

Jackson has already started assembling a campaign team. His campaign manager is Tomas Gonzalez, the former at-large candidate who recently consulted for Rep.-elect Carlos Henriquez’s state House campaign. Ben Herman, who worked on Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray’s re-election campaign as deputy finance director, is Jackson’s finance director. Stephen Crawford, of Crawford Strategies, is handling press. Crawford also worked on Gov. Patrick’s re-election campaign and on Norfolk District Attorney Bill Keating’s successful Congressional run.

“Folks need jobs and economic development, they need quality education, and we need to have a safe neighborhood to live in and to put a stop to the type of violence that has been going on,” Jackson told the Reporter in outlining some of his top priorities.

The last time the seat was open was in 1999 when Councillor Gareth Saunders stepped down, and a field of about dozen candidates stepped up to run for his seat.