Legislature gets petition to bypass special election

Multiple members of Boston’s delegation in the Legislature said on Monday that they think the path is clear for a petition to call off a special election for mayor that would be triggered if Mayor Walsh resigns to become US secretary of labor before March 5.

Walsh signed the bill last Friday after the City Council unanimously approved the change to the city’s rules, sending the matter from City Hall to the State House where the Legislature and Gov. Baker must also sign off.

The Boston delegation met over Zoom on Monday to discuss the issue, and several lawmakers on the call told State House News Service that Rep. Chynah Tyler is expected to file the home rule petition in the House in the coming days.

“Since it was pretty unanimous from the council and signed by the mayor, I can see us moving pretty quickly on it,” said Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, a North End Democrat and chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“It does seem that everyone in the delegation is in agreement,” said Rep. Ed Coppinger, a West Roxbury resident. “The City Council passed it. In a way, who are we to disagree with them?”

Sen. Nick Collins, of South Boston, was at the State House Monday and said he did not expect any hiccups, given that Baker has also indicated that he would sign the petition if city leaders approved.

“I haven’t heard anybody in opposition, so I expect that it will be receiving broad support from the delegation,” Collins said.

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The city of Boston published its official 2021 election calendar last week. The preliminary balloting is set for Tues., Sept. 21, and the general election will be held on Tues., Nov. 2.

The first day for candidates to pull nomination papers needed to make the ballot from the city Election Department is April 13, and the deadline for filing the required signatures is May 18.

It’s important to note: Candidates who want to run for district city council are required to have lived in that district for one year prior to Nov. 3.

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Democrat Ben Downing, a former state senator who went on to work in solar energy, announced Monday that he is running for governor in 2022, mounting a campaign he said will aim to infuse state government with a sense of urgency.

Now an East Boston resident, Downing was 24 when he was elected to the state Senate from Pittsfield. He served there for a decade, becoming the chamber’s point person on clean power before opting not to seek a sixth term in 2016.

“I’m excited for this. I really am,” Downing told State House News Service ahead of his announcement. “The opportunities that are in front of Massachusetts, they’re huge, and the only thing that’s missing is leadership.”

Though Downing has spent the last five years away from Beacon Hill, he has continued to weigh in on state government matters, including through radio appearances and on social media, where he maintains a running Twitter thread dating back to September 2019 that encourages people to “focus on the record” of the Baker administration.

It is still unknown whether Baker will seek a third term, but Downing in recent weeks has amplified his criticism of the Republican on social media, blasting the administration for its choppy Covid-19 vaccination rollout.

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Dana Depelteau, a 36-year-old New Hampshire native who has lived in Dorchester since 2013, has filed paperwork with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance signaling his intention to run for mayor.

Depelteau, who lives with his husband on Claybourne Street, told the Reporter last week that he doesn’t plan on accepting any campaign donations. Instead, he will encourage any supporters to donate to organizations in the community.

Depelteau’s career to date has been in hotel management, but he says he lost his most recent job at a Boston hotel due to the pandemic.

“The mayor is the general manager of the city,” Depelteau said last week. “I feel strongly convicted to run for mayor. This is one job I’m applying for.”

Reporter correspondent Maddie Kilgannon and Sam Doran, Katie Lannan, and Matt Murphy of State House News Service contributed to this roundup.