Monday, May 09, 2011

Flaherty Living Large At-Large

Those of us who get aflutter at Boston politics increasingly anticipate the fall City Council races. In particular, the at-large contest will surely mean:
  • Promises loudly made
  • Innovations proclaimed
  • Accusations muttered
  • Defamations insinuated
  • Rosy pictures painted
  • Artificial distinctions asserted
  • Mayoral and Councilor records debased
  • Campaign inequities decried
  • Opponent's platforms and strategies denounced
No District race is likely to see more of each than the at-large one. At the moment, we seem to have 13 candidates who have filed for the four available seats — each Council seat taken by someone running for reelection. (Tip of the toupee to the zak for the list.)

The 9/27 preliminary should winnow that at-large field to eight for the 11/8 general, whereat the top four win. Meanwhile, there are still 15 days to file nomination papers, after which candidates must collect 1,500 certified voter signatures to get on the preliminary ballot. Normally not all those who file papers get enough petitions to advance.

So, you may ask, why does anyone can in a non-mayoral/non-Presidential election year? Ah, count the catalysts:
  • Two of the at-large Councilors, Felix Arroyo the younger and Ayanna Pressley, are newish, completing one term, so considered moderately vulnerable.
  • The other two, current President Steve Murphy and John Connolly were by far the top vote-getters in the previous election. Allegedly the latter angered Mayor Tom Menino by grandstanding about expired food fed to BPS kids, perhaps suggesting loss of his support. The former supposedly does not have a natural constituency ethnically or in specific neighborhoods beyond his own Hyde Park.
  • When federally convicted Councilor Chuck Turner had his fitness hearing before the Council, Pressley and Arroyo were in the awful spot of voting to oust their mentor. His supporters swore revenge in the election.
  • Former Councilor Michael Flaherty just announced he'd run for an at-large seat. He lost solidly to Menino in the last mayoral and has been sitting out politics until the past few days.
Mild Disclaimer: I've had several Councilors on the Left Ahead podcast and know them. Also, I live a couple of blocks from Murphy. I try to keep it clean by endorsing but not donating time or money to candidates I cover. I claim objectivity, as far as a blogger may.
So, there we have the basics, political fans. There's already lots of chatter. Stuff is up with much more to follow at Universal Hub. The Phoenix' David Bernstein has begun qualifying this and that, with quantifying sure to ensure soon. The Globe has its Flaherty v. Menino grudge match story on display. In his own logorrheaic announcement, Flaherty claims he isn't running against the Mayor, that he just needs to help the city again.

There's speculation at each of the four at-large Councilors is vulnerable. Likewise, will it be Michael who? and will money fly to the seat holders or can Flaherty convince folk to back him yet again?

All in all, tropes will be spewed, pledges will be asserted, aspersions will be cast. If the summer won't be warm enough on its own, this promises to heat up the beans.

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