Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Living At-Large in Boston

We hit our cycle over at Left Ahead on at-large Boston City Council candidates. I suspect we'll be able to hit each of the four incumbents and former member and president Michael Flaherty before the November election.

There weren't enough qualified candidates with the signatures to force a preliminary in September. So, this will be a high-intensity race from the start with no touchstone before the final. At LA, we did not get the two other qualified candidates, at least yet. Sean Ryan says he needs to find a day and time. Will Dorcena has not responded to requests.

Unless something truly boffo occurs, the top four finishers should be among the five we have done. Links to posts on their podcasts, replete with players are in the following table.

Flaherty5/17 – onlinebit.ly/lnyaIB
Connolly5/24 – onlinebit.ly/m156bq
Arroyo6/7 – onlinebit.ly/kR58oN
Murphy6/9 – onlinebit.ly/kdVimA
Pressley6/14 – onlinebit.ly/kgePrm

I'll do some analysis as the campaigns unfold. So far, the candidates sites are:

We don't have a lot of good material there yet. So far, no one is campaigning against anyone else. While clearly Flaherty would have to knock off one of the incumbents to regain an at-large seat, he says he'll build himself up rather than knocking down anyone.

By various stereotypes and political clich├ęs, each of these five might be vulnerable.

  • Pressley — She is the first to point out that she finished fourth to get her first term. Yet she can and does point to a lot of accomplishments in less than a year an one half.
  • Murphy — He finished in the top two, is body president, is well known, has served since 1997, and is the Council's financial expert. Pundits have said he doesn't have a natural constituency by neighborhood (as Flaherty does in Southie). He's well connected and has been a strong fund raiser.
  • Flaherty — Some see him as a loser because he came up short two years ago trying to unseat Mayor Tom Menino. Also, such a palace revolt should preclude him from the Mayor's considerable campaign influence. On the other hand, he was popular in office, a great fund raiser, and has a lot of loyal union, business and political types who like him.
  • Connolly — He was the other top finisher in the last race. He's the education guy (head of that committee) and beloved by the huge voting block of families with kids. He comes from heavy-voting WR. City Hall scuttlebutt is that his exposing the expired food fed to kids angered and embarrassed Menino. Here's another candidate who would have to do without overt help from the Mayor.
  • Arroyo — This other first-termer has several niches for shelter, youth, unions and housing among them. He is the only Latino on Council as well. Like Pressley, he's young and good looking and those traits don't hurt. He has a strong following and his own set of accomplishments.

I certainly play the safe money here. The top four finishers should be among these five.

Meanwhile, I'll keep tabs, check the websites and public statements, and go to any forum or debate I can. These appearances should be the best political theater of the year.

Keep in mind that we don't have Presidential, Congressional or Mayoral races to drive out voters. This is what we watchers and blowhards like, retail politics. Those who get the contributions and votes will be the candidates who work the hardest, come across personally, as well as on stage and camera, best, and put phone, car and walking minions together.

To be continued...

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