Reporter’s Notebook: More names surface for District 3 seat

The field of potential candidates in the District 3 derby continued to expand this week while one campaign drew 50 people to a VFW post in Neponset for an organizational get-together. Potential challengers also lined up for a run at several other district seats and the four At-Large seats.

In the days after City Councillor Maureen Feeney said she would not be running for a ninth term, opening up the seat for the first time since 1993, nine residents applied for the nomination papers needed to gather signatures and get on the fall ballot.

They include John K. O’Toole, a longtime civic activist who at one point was part of a group of parents that sued the city over its school assignment plan; Marydith Tuitt, an aide to state Rep. Gloria Fox (D-Roxbury); Robert McDonagh, a union laborer; Doug Hurley, a St. Mark’s civic activist who has worked for former state Rep. Jim Brett and former City Councillor At-Large Michael Flaherty; Sean Weir, president of the Cedar Grove Civic Association; and Michael Christopher, manager of public policy and public affairs at the Executive Office of Public Safety who worked on Gov. Deval Patrick’s reelection campaign and in state Rep. Marty Walsh’s office. Some are said to be still weighing whether to run.

Doug Bennett and Marty Hogan, who both have unsuccessfully run for City Council At-Large in 2009 and 2005, respectively, were running for Feeney’s seat before she announced she would not be running for reelection. They applied for nomination papers last week.

Henry Paquin, who worked on Karen Payne’s unsuccessful state representative campaign, also applied for nomination papers, but announced via Twitter, the social networking site, that he would not be a candidate.

Craig Galvin, a local realtor who is also wading into the race, said he plans to apply for nomination papers soon.

"I’ve been busy assembling my team,” Galvin said. “My campaign is very active. I wanted to give Maureen an opportunity to have her day.”

O’Toole, former president of the Cedar Grove Civic Association, held an organization meeting at the Neponset VFW on Tuesday night, passing out sign-up sheets and maroon and white bumper stickers.

“We need to build an organization,” he told the crowd. “We need to build it throughout the entire district.” O’Toole said he has set up a headquarters above the butcher shop in Adams Village.

Phil Carver, head of the Pope’s Hill Civic Association, and Dan Cullinane, a former Feeney aide who also worked on state Attorney General Martha Coakley’s U.S. Senate campaign, are backing O’Toole.

Other names that remain in circulation despite no application for papers – as the Reporter headed to the presses – include Catherine O’Neill, local cable television host; Eileen Fenton of the Columbia Savin Hill Civic Association; Michael Mackan, chief of Boston’s Code Enforcement Police; and Ed Geary, deputy director for communications and external affairs for Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral.

District council hopefuls must gather 200 certified signatures from voters in order to make it onto the ballot. The threshold is higher for City Council At-Large candidates, with 1,500 valid signatures needed to get on the ballot.

So far ten people have applied for at-large papers, including the four incumbents, John Connolly, Stephen Murphy, Felix Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley, as well as Kevin McCrea, who attempted runs for at-large and mayor and railed against the city’s powerful planning agency, the Boston Redevelopment Authority; Kenneth Jervis, a private chef and a parent who fought the closure of the Clap Elementary School, who says he has been spurred by dissatisfaction with the school system and lack of an elected school committee; Hyde Park’s William Dorcena; Deshon Porter, who lists the St. Francis House shelter on Boylston St. as an address; Robert Frasca (who also applied for nomination papers in East Boston’s District 1); and occasional candidate William Feegbeh.

All eyes remain on the Boston Election Department’s front door to see who else walks in, and in particular if Flaherty, who is mulling a return to the council, will stroll in to take out papers.

Aside from the incumbent, Tito Jackson, those who have applied for nomination papers in District 7 include perennial candidates Althea Garrison and Roy Owens, and David James Wyatt, who fell short on signatures during the special election to replace former City Councillor Chuck Turner.

Longtime District 4 Councillor Charles Yancey has applied for papers, as have Joseph A. Jones Jr. and J.R. Rucker, both of Dorchester.

As expected, former Boston school principal Suzanne Lee has taken out papers to challenge South Boston’s Bill Linehan in District 2. Linehan has also applied.

Jackson makes staff hires
Councillor Jackson announced this week the hiring of a Villanova University professor as his chief of staff. Frank Allen Pryor, who worked as a political science professor at the Pennsylvania college, has also served in administrative roles at UMass Boston and the Dorchester Counseling Center.

Other staff hires include Miguel Chavez as director of external affairs; Liana Poston as director of legislative affairs; Rajon Brooks as director of constituent services; and Bennett Wilson as communications director.

Brooks, a Dorchester native, was a Commonwealth Corps Teaching Fellow for a year, coordinating student activities and working young adults to develop business and customer service skills. He attended Boston Arts Academy and is pursuing a degree in psychology.

Chavez worked as Jackson’s field director during the special elections in February and March to replace former City Councillor Turner. Chavez also worked on Gov. Patrick’s reelection campaign and served as regional field director for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Poston has held jobs at Boston Public Schools and Northern Kentucky Area Development District.

Wilson, the communications director, is a South End resident who served as deputy communications director on Jackson’s Council campaign. She has also worked on Congressman Barney Frank’s 2010 reelection campaign and interned at MTV Networks International and Boston Common magazine.

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