Special election petition on move in Legislature
In preparation for Mayor Walsh’s imminent departure from City Hall, the state House of Representatives on Monday passed a petition to cancel a special mayoral election that would be required under city rules if Walsh resigns before March 5 to become US Secretary of Labor.
The US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions voted, 18-4, on Feb. 11 to “report favorable” on Walsh’s nomination. But, as of Tuesday, a vote of the full Senate on the Walsh appointment had not yet been scheduled, according to a spokesperson for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Senate’s Majority Whip.
Meanwhile, Walsh’s former chief of staff at City Hall, Dan Koh, was preparing to start as chief of staff at the. Department of Labor on Tuesday in anticipation of Walsh’s confirmation.
If Walsh were to leave office on March 5 or thereafter, that could trigger a special election before the regularly scheduled mayoral contest in November. The Boston City Council has unanimously approved a home rule petition to call off the special election, but it needs approval by the Legislature and Gov. Baker.
The petition, filed by Rep. Chynah Tyler, next moves to the state Senate where it must also be approved before getting to Baker, who has said he will sign it. The state Senate met briefly Monday before adjourning with plans to meet again on Thursday.
The pace of confirmations for Biden’s cabinet nominees has been sluggish, even by Capitol Hill standards. Also waiting for a vote is Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, Biden’s choice for Secretary of Commerce. Raimondo, like Walsh, has won committee approval, but does not yet have a date certain for full Senate consideration. On Monday, Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said he had signed a “cloture petition,” a legislative maneuver that would compel Republicans to end debate on her nomination and move for a speedy vote. It is not yet clear if such a petition will be sought in Walsh’s case.
Reporter editor Bill Forry contributed to this report.