Field of mayoral candidates takes shape, slowly

Boston Mayoral Field Expands from Chris Lovett on Vimeo.

As the songs played on and the crowd thinned out, the Suffolk County district attorney and two city councillors stuck around. The television cameras, with reporters in tow, had arrived late at Villa Victoria on Tuesday night to them as they appeared at a fundraiser and kick-off for Michelle Wu’s City Council At-Large bid.

Daniel Conley, the district attorney and a former city councillor, said he planned to make his mayoral bid “official in the next day” or two, adding, “it’s a wonderful opportunity to continue my service to the public.”

District Seven’s Tito Jackson, said he’s “strongly thinking” about running. “I think I would be the only candidate with an economic development background,” he said, adding, “I’m going to run a grassroots campaign.” Jackson, who grew up in Grove Hall, had run for at-large before his district race and had worked in the Patrick administration’s economic development secretariat.

Michael Ross, who has served as District 8 councillor since 1999, told the cameras on Tuesday night that is he is also considering a run for mayor.

The list of possible candidates has continually grown since Mayor Thomas Menino’s announcement last week that he will not seek a sixth term. City Councillor At-Large John Connolly was the first major candidate to jump in the race, and his campaign said this week it has raised $84,000 since Feb. 26.

State Rep. Marty Walsh, a Dorchester Democrat and a top union official, has said that he would be in if Menino bowed out. He made clear-cut statements about his intentions to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, but his campaign shot out a statement later saying, “While Marty continues to talk to his family and friends and to listen to constituents about what they are seeking in the next mayor of Boston there has been NO formal announcement of his candidacy.”

City Councillor At-Large Felix Arroyo said he has his “family’s blessing” to run. “Now it’s about talking to my supporters and Boston voters.” The size of his bank account will not affect whether he runs or not, he added.

Arroyo said he sent a fundraising email on Tuesday morning and mailed out hard copies on Monday night to thousands of supporters. “It’s a serious job that requires serious consideration,” he said outside City Hall.

In his fundraising e-mail, Arroyo said, “The pundits say we need to raise $1 million to win. People may disagree with that estimate, but there is no doubt that a winning, grassroots mayoral campaign will require significant financial resources and a strong volunteer effort.”

City Councillor At-Large Ayanna Pressley is in the “seriously considering” camp, according to sources close to her. State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Jamaica Plain Democrat, told the Reporter on Wednesday that she will not be a candidate.

Former Codman Square Health Center CEO Bill Walczak, state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez of Jamaica Plain, District 4 Councillor Charles Yancey, and District 5 Councillor Rob Consalvo are also weighing the possibility of running. City Council President Stephen Murphy and former City Councillor At-Large Michael Flaherty could also jump in.

Rep. Byron Rushing, a Roxbury lawmaker who has worked at the State House since 1982, was one of the few politicians at Wu’s kick-off who did not want any part of the chatter about a mayoral race.

“I’m going to stand out as the only person not running for mayor,” he said as he headed for the door.


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