District 3 City Council candidate Craig Galvin has netted the high-profile endorsement of DotOUT, an influential Dorchester-based civic group representing gays and lesbians. At a meeting on Monday night at the Ledge restaurant in Lower Mills, the group also endorsed incumbent City Councillor Tito Jackson, who represents District 7, and Suzanne Lee, a former principal running against incumbent Councillor Bill Linehan in District 2.
The session featured three rounds of voting in Districts 3 and 7. An endorsement required support from two-thirds of members present, and by the last round, a number of them had left, leaving 31 remaining to vote. DotOUT declined to release breakdowns of the votes, citing bylaws that call for a secret ballot.
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of my friends from DotOUT,” Galvin said. “I share their commitment to work hard, to continue to make Dorchester a great place to live and raise a family.”
Newcomer Sheneal Parker, a Fenway resident who is challenging Jackson, made it to the second round. Jackson is also facing a Sept. preliminary challenge from former state Rep. Althea Garrison, who frequently runs for office, and her fellow many-time candidate Roy Owens.
In the District 3 balloting, Galvin, Frank Baker, and Stephanie Everett made it to the second stage with Galvin, who heads a Neponset real estate firm, and Everett, an aide to state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, facing off in the third go-around. Candidates receiving less than 15 percent of the vote were eliminated in each round.
DotOUT member Mark Juaire called Galvin a “contemporary voice” and took aim at one of his opponents, John O’Toole.
An unsuccessful candidate for the District 3 seat a decade ago, Juaire criticized O’Toole for signing a 2005 petition that would have put gay marriage to a statewide ballot vote after the Supreme Judicial Court had ruled it legal two years before. Juaire said O’Toole’s move was “very hurtful.”
The marriage issue flared up publicly after anonymous fliers sprung up along the gay pride parade route in early June. In an interview with the Reporter afterwards, O’Toole, who marched in the parade, acknowledged he had signed the petition and said he’d made a mistake.
O’Toole told the 70 attendees of the DotOUT forum that he supported the efforts of local gay activists to allow the 2003 court ruling to stand. He also circulated and read aloud a letter of support from Robert Small-Jason, a former Dorchester resident who worked with O’Toole at Olde Towne Real Estate.
Small-Jason called O’Toole, who has been endorsed by retiring City Councillor Maureen Feeney, a “true friend” of the gay and lesbian community, citing his support for an Olde Towne gay pride float.
But O’Toole was dropped in the first round of voting, as were District 3 candidates Martin Hogan and Marydith Tuitt.
Juaire said O’Toole had “ample opportunity” to ask for the removal of his name from the KnowThyNeighbor.org website – which controversially listed all those who signed the gay marriage petition – but he did not do so until recently.
Richard O’Mara, a member of DotOUT, wore an O’Toole campaign sticker and defended the former Cedar Grove Civic Association president, saying O’Toole was getting short-changed.
“Obviously John having signed the petition played against him,” O’Mara said after the vote, adding that he left “very comfortable” endorsing him. “John is a candidate for the whole district.” O’Mara also praised Galvin, saying, “I respect the hard work Craig has done.”
Ed Cook, a co-founder of DotOUT, told the crowd he was supporting Baker, while Kelley Ready, a senior lecturer at Brandeis University, said she was supporting Everett.
The candidates differed little in their views, though former Nantucket selectman Doug Bennett, who now lives in Adams Village, blundered earlier in the forum, expressing support for a State House bill that would include transgender residents in the state’s anti-discrimination laws but referring to it as the “bathroom bill,” a tag used by opponents who argue it allow transgender individuals into opposite-sex bathrooms.
“You don’t call it the bathroom bill,” DotOUT member David Breen shouted from the audience.
Bennett, who also drew flak for maintaining that he supported gay marriage and a ballot vote on the issue, said he was sorry. Earlier, he had apologized for not answering the DotOUT questionnaire, saying he was busy as a single father.
Bill Linehan, the incumbent in the South Boston-based District 2, and another challenger, Bob Ferrara, were invited to the forum but did not attend.
DotOUT did not endorse in the 2009 mayoral race, despite four rounds of voting. Mayor Thomas Menino received a majority, but fell short of the two-thirds necessary. In the 2009 at-large race, the group backed John Connolly, Ayanna Pressley and Andrew Kenneally.
In 2008, support went to Dianne Wilkerson, who lost to Chang-Diaz in the 2008 Democratic primary and pleaded guilty to bribery charges in 2010. And in 2005, they endorsed Linda Dorcena Forry, the eventual winner of a five-way race to replace state Rep. Thomas Finneran, a Mattapan Democrat.
The preliminary election is scheduled for Sept. 27, which will winnow fields down to two contenders for each district in the Nov. 8 final election.
O’Toole grabs more labor support
Unions continue to come to O’Toole’s side. On Tuesday, his campaign released a list of eight additional supporters of his candidacy, including his own union, Plumbers and Gasfitters Local 12. The others: I.B.E.W. Local 103; Pipefitters Local 537; Carpenters Union Local 67; International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 25; Sheet Metal Workers Local 17; Bricklayers Local 3; and UNITE HERE Local 26.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Check out updates to Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at dotnews.com/litdrop. Follow us on Twitter: @LitDrop and @gintautasd.