Up next: An at-large council campaign; Wu says midterms showed appetite for more voices

With state and federal elections now wrapped up, a well-populated city council race is looming on the horizon as Councillor At-Large Ayanna Pressley heads off to Washington, setting up a contest to fill her seat until next fall.

In the meantime, former state Rep. Althea Garrison, Garrison, who has sought elected office repeatedly and was the fifth-place finisher in the 2017 council voting, will serve out the remainder of Pressley’s 2018-2019 term.

Garrison, who speaks supportively of President Trump, ran unsuccessfully for the Fifth Suffolk seat in the Massachusetts House this year as an independent candidate.

Councillor at-large Michelle Wu, the top vote-getter last year, thinks that Garrison will likely be a more conservative voice on the council over the next year.

“So that’ll add some interesting diversity to our conversations there,” Wu said last week. “I have had conversations with probably five or six folks who are either seriously thinking about or in the running for city council at-large, and I have been in touch with a whole bunch more. I think it’s going to be a really exciting race and the talent of the people who are weighing it or committed to running is just incredible.”

Wu joined other officials and political strategists last Wednesday in weighing in on the midterm elections at a live taping of The Horse Race, a Massachusetts-centered political podcast hosted by Reporter news editor Jennifer Smith and Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC Polling Group.

The election served up numbers much higher than recent norms. The office of newly re-elected Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin reported the state’s highest turnout in a midterm election in 24 years, with around 2.7 million voters showing up to the polls.

“I know that the appetite and hunger is out there on the community side,” Wu said. “More people running for office, more women running for office, and more people deciding to vote, too. That was my big takeaway from yesterday: how high the turnout numbers were for that type of election. Even with the rainstorm in the middle of the day. It was thrilling to see that.”


US Rep. Clark: Look for bipartisan paths

Katherine Clark, newly re-elected Democratic Congresswoman for the state’s 5th Congressional District, said she will be running for vice chair of the Democratic caucus in the upcoming term, with her party set to take control of the House. One of the members of the Massachusetts delegation seen as warmer than others to the prospect of Nancy Pelosi retiring as House speaker, Clark said the focus for Democrats should be on finding bipartisan paths where they can and preparing to “protect the Mueller investigation” should the President plunge the country into a “constitutional crisis.”

In other conversations, incoming Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins discussed the dynamic between her office and law enforcement agencies while Baker/Polito campaign manager Brian Wynne credited the administration’s outreach and bipartisan relationships with Democrat and Republican elected officials for their strong showing in Boston, with competitive showings in Dorchester and Mattapan compared with other Republican candidates on the ballot.

The 34-point margin over Jay Gonzalez was heralded by earlier polling, Wynne said, with three surveys in one week showing Democrats split between the candidate of their own party or the popular Republican governor.

“It was an exciting week for us,” Wynne said.” We were thrilled with those results and the ones that we saw in those exit polls with us coming very close or almost tying among Democrats, us doing extremely well in communities of color. Those were things that we had seen in our internal polling and that we really hoped it would play out on election day. And they did.”

To listen to the full live episode of The Horse Race and prior podcasts, visit soundcloud.com/user-72751714 or subscribe on iTunes.