Last week the gates finally opened on applying to pull papers to run for mayor and in just two days’ time the number of potential candidates has jumped to 24,
meaning the race is only 6 entrants away from being a WWE pay-per-view.
In order to become an official candidate, you need at least 3,000 certified signatures from registered Boston voters. Anyone can pull papers, but few have the organization and support to get enough signatures in just a few weeks’ time.
This is why in 2009 the 12 individuals who initially pulled papers were narrowed down to Michael Flaherty, Sam Yoon, and Kevin McCrea—
who all ultimately lost to Mayor Thomas Menino.
Candidates have until May 21 to submit their signatures, which leaves plenty of for other would-be contenders to jump in. For now, here is a quick guide to the candidates.The five-term mayor is sitting this one out, so we should be seeing more people hitting the 3,000-signature mark, meaning that we probably have a free-for-all on our hands with the city’s political future at stake.
The first tier of candidates includes anyone with proven records for fundraising and building a campaign machine. In no order, these candidates include:
Dan Conley – He’s the Suffolk District Attorney, which is why he has been able to grandstand at any press conference pertaining to the marathon bombing for free publicity.
Rob Consalvo – He’s perceived to be the mayor’s guy, but this election will be the first opportunity for Menino and his machine to actually show whether or not they have Consalvo’s back.
John Connolly – This at-large councilor declared his run before Menino stepped aside. Since then his prospects have been steadily sinking. He’s approaching half a million in funds, so he’ll remain a top-tier candidate.
Mike Ross – District Councilor for the part of Boston with the lowest voter turnout for municipal elections. His $200,000-plus campaign fund makes him a contender.
Felix Arroyo – He’s another at large councilor, and he was trumpeted as the first minority candidate in the race by ignorant reporters who didn’t realize Will Dorcena and Charles Clemons were already in the running. His SEIU background will give him an edge against candidates not named Marty Walsh.
Marty Walsh – As a state Rep. from Dorchester and union leader, Walsh has a lock on significant chunks of Boston’s blue-collar electorate. He also has access to the union’s political machine and its fundraising apparatus.
The next tier includes wildcards and candidates who will have to effectively build a grassroots campaign. Doing so is incredibly difficult, but possible—
especially considering the number of top-tier guys possibly cancelling each other out.
Charles Yancey– After applying for papers for both mayor and his district council seat, he has yet to announce whether he has decided which race to enter. The council seat is his safest bet, but after 30 years in office, retirement might be just as appealing as a promotion.
David Portnoy – He publishes Barstool Sports, which has a well-earned reputation for softheaded sexism and homophobia. He might not actually be kidding about running.
John Barros – He resigned from the Boston School Committee to enter the race. The Roxbury native with Cape Verdean parents has the rags-to-riches story that will likely give him serious street cred to a “man of the people” image.
Charlotte Golar Richie – Sadly, she is just one of two women running. She’s a former state rep., so that means she knows how to win an election, and she’s a former aide to Menino, which gives her access to the sorts of folks she will need to help run her campaign.
Bill Walczak – Conventional wisdom is that the mayor’s office will go to a politician with experience running a city-wide campaign. He has community organizing credentials and the ability to mobilize a variety of activist networks.
Charles Clemons – He’s well known for co-founding Touch 106.1, which should help him know how to work the media. His activism will also boost his appeal among Boston’s communities of color.
John Laing – He was Clemons’s business partner at Touch 106.1. At this point, it is not clear why he is running. Perhaps he is still mad at Clemons for the time he stole his yogurt from the employee fridge.
Will Dorcena – Just a few months after his failed bid for an at large city council seat, Dorcena announced his run in January 2012. He then did very little with his head start and seems to still be trying to grasp the concept of fundraising.
Althea Garrison – If there’s an election in the city, there’s always a good chance she’ll get involved. If there’s an election to lose, she usually has that covered as well.
Finally, the bottom-tier is comprised candidates known only for losing previous elections or those who are political rookies, like Lee Buckley and Christopher Womack.
Miniard Culpepper – He is the pastor at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Dorchester.
Hassan Williams– Failed to defeat state Sen. Sonia Chang Diaz in 2010.
Divo Rodrigues Monteiro – He has unsuccessfully run for state rep. As a justice of the peace he can also perform marriages.
Gareth Saunders – This guy spent three terms on the City Council in the 1990s.
David James Wyatt – He’s another former also-ran, who failed in his 2007 at large city council bid.