Reporter’s Notebook: Scratch Christopher, Hurley, O’Neill from D3 campaign

The make-up of the District 3 race to replace City Councillor Maureen Feeney is hewing to Mark Twain’s maxim about New England weather: If you don’t like it, wait a few minutes.

Some 48 hours after jumping in, Savin Hill’s Michael Christopher jumped out, saying he preferred to focus on his job in Gov. Deval Patrick’s Office of Public Safety and Security. His departure drew in several potential candidates from Savin Hill, including Deirdre McDermott Habershaw, former head of the Columbia Savin Hill Civic Association, and Frank Baker, who once owned the Avenue Grill on Dorchester Ave. Baker’s family has also been involved in developing the area around the restaurant.
Joyce Linehan, who worked on Patrick’s reelection campaign and was a Christopher supporter before he dropped out, said in an e-mail that she hasn’t decided whom she will back instead. But she sounded notes of support for Habershaw.

“Not only does she make a great candidate, having shown her commitment to the neighborhood time and time again, but she’d be the only declared female in the race, and women are woefully underrepresented in that body,” Linehan said. “I know it’s a tough decision that has the potential to pit neighbor against neighbor, but I hope it works out for her. I think she has a very good shot at winning if the declared field doesn’t substantially change.”

Christopher wasn’t the only potential candidate to bow out last week. Doug Hurley, a political activist from St. Mark’s Area, said he would not be running because he wanted to spend time with his young daughter. And Catherine O’Neill, a local playwright who has hosted the weekly public affairs show “The Boston Connection,” said on Tuesday that she is not running.

Candidates must gather 200 certified signatures in order to make it onto the September ballot. The final election is in November. Monday was the last day to apply for nomination papers, but the layout of the ballot won’t be clear for another few weeks, as potential candidates travel the city looking for voter signatures. Next Tuesday, May 24, is the deadline for getting the required amount of signatures to the Elections Department.

The list of potential District 3 candidates includes unsuccessful City Council At-Large candidates Doug Bennett and Martin Hogan; Marydith Tuit, an aide to state Rep. Gloria Fox; John O’Toole, former president of the Cedar Grove Civic Association; laborer Robert McDonagh; Sean Weir, current president of the Cedar Grove Civic Association; realtor Craig Galvin; Leonard Lee of Mather Street; and Stephanie Everett, deputy chief of staff to state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz.

Provided potential candidates get their signatures in, incumbents could see challenges in other districts. Bob Ferrara, a South Boston activist and sports coach, said he was clambering into the District 2 race, a field that already includes the incumbent, Bill Linehan, and Suzanne Lee, a former Boston school principal.

“Schools, community centers and libraries are closing in a shortsighted attempt to save money – yet property tax bills continue to rise,” Ferrara said in a statement. “I love our neighborhood and I won’t sit on the sideline as its future prosperity is jeopardized.” District 2 includes the St. Margaret’s Parish neighborhood in Dorchester.

Two Dorchester residents are hoping to knock off District 4 Councillor Charles Yancey: Joseph Jones Jr. of Bernard Street, and J.R. Rucker of Tonawanda St.

In District 7, eight people have expressed interest in booting Tito Jackson, the freshman incumbent who won a special election to replace Chuck Turner in March. The candidates include Fenway’s Sheneal Parker and veteran activist Haywood Fennell, who ran as a write-in in the special election.

Rob Consalvo, the District 5 incumbent who represents two precincts in Mattapan, is not facing any challengers.

O’Toole draws Galvin

Parades, contests and civic association meetings are staples on the district race campaign trail. Last Friday’s $10,000 drawing at Florian Hall to benefit St. Ann’s Parish, an event in its 28th year, was the scene of one stop on the trail for John O’Toole. To narrow down who is eligible for the grand prize, folks take turns pulling names out of a bowl. And during the few moments that O’Toole was emceeing, he managed to randomly pull out a name that drew some good-natured “ooohs” from the crowd: Craig Galvin, the other top contender for the District 3 seat. (Galvin wasn’t there, but his brother was representing him.)

For the record, six people ended up splitting the grand prize: Melissa Graham, Annie Nolan, Eileen Cotter, Bridie Kelly, Chris Ryan, and Kathy Finn.

Quote of Note: Mayor Menino vs. Tampa’s Mayor Buckhorn
Mayoral sports bets are supposed to be easy. For example, if Boston wins, the losing city has to hand over a pile of items it’s famous for. If Boston loses, we customarily ship over a box of lobsters and one of the Kennedys.

So here we are, with the Bruins facing the Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs. But somehow a bet that involved the loser representative wearing a tie with the winning team’s logo on it went awry with finger-pointing.

“He wanted to bet ties,” Mayor Tom Menino told CBS, referring to his Tampa Bay counterpart, Bob Buckhorn. “He doesn’t have too much confidence in his team.”

But according to the St. Petersburg Times, Buckhorn said the ties were Menino’s idea. The May 14 edition of the paper had this account of Buckhorn wanting more: “[Buckhorn] demanded a case of lobsters, champagne, and ‘a fine Shamrock plant.’ He said some Samuel Adams beer would be nice, too.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Check out updates to Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at dotnews.com/litdrop