Two raise money for parade via Dot ‘mayor’ contest

Mayor of Dorchester hopefulsMayor of Dorchester hopefulsOur hyper-political hamlet has a new race to keep its eyes on: Two young political guns from Neponset are vying for the neighborhood’s annual ceremonial brass ring, the Mayor of Dorchester.

Twenty-three-year-old Pat O’Brien first tossed his hat into the race in late Feb 27, followed by Cam Charbonnier, 21, on Feb. 28. Unlike most elections, the ceremonial title is awarded to simply whoever raises the most money by 7 p.m. on May 19.

“If you look at the whole idea of the contest itself, it is to have fun. At the end of the day, it’s an honorary title,” said Dorchester Day Parade Clerk Ed Geary. “The more money that comes in, the more entertainment we can put on.” The Mayor of Dorchester title was devised years ago by the parade committee as the title for the biggest fundraiser for the annual Dorchester Day parade, which can cost between $25,000 and $45,000 to put on. This year’s parade will be held on June 7 beginning at 1 p.m.

O’Brien, who has planned to run for the seat for years but is finally able to do so while on leave from the military this year, rolled out a Facebook page, Twitter account, and the all-important Go Fund Me webpage on the 28th.

The next day, Charbonnier’s boosters were abuzz on social media, the encouraging the mayor’s advance staffer to run for the purely ceremonial office with the hashtag “#runCamrun.”

“I felt a little like Elizabeth Warren–it’s like my own ‘Ready for Hillary’ moment,” Charbonnier said with a laugh. One of the main proponents of the “heavy social media push,” as he put it, was Joyce Linehan, who also was the first to donate to Charbonnier’s campaign.

O’Brien, however, has his own arsenal. Backed by Katie Hurley, the 2012 Mayor of Dorchester, O’Brien said he has a few other tricks up his sleeve, including the coveted endorsements of the Boston Yeti–seen roaming Boston’s snow-clogged streets during the month of storms, and Beth O’Brien, his mother, he adds with a laugh.

“I’ve been talking to my leadership team, aka my mom. We’ll be rolling out some big events,” O’Brien said. Throughout the campaign season, candidates will host creative events and activities to rake in the dough, all for the parade.

The traditional kickoff for Dot Day Parade season is the First Parish Meatloaf Dinner, this year held on Thurs., March 26 at 6 p.m.
“The biggest thing for Pat and Cam: Do not over-eat at meat loaf dinner. I was 120 lbs before that meal,” said Steve Bickerton, the 2009 Mayor of Dorchester, and a Charbonnier backer. “Don’t over-indulge at the Chief Marshal’s Dinner either,” Bickerton added. “It could really be devastating.”

More information about parade events and planning committee meetings at

Encourage your 6-8 grade students to participate in the Dot Day Essay Contest, sponsored by the Reporter. See page 12 for details.