Mayor Thomas Menino, who has served a record-breaking 20 years in office as perhaps the city’s most popular and influential leader, has told close allies that he will not run for reelection and will announce that tomorrow, according to a source close to the mayor.
“It’s a colossal moment,” said the source, who spoke to the Gazette on the condition of anonymity, adding that the mayor’s close friends were shocked by his decision. The source is close to Menino but does not work for the mayor or the announced mayoral candidates, City Councilor John Connolly, Will Dorcena and Charles Clemons. The source allowed for the possibility that Menino might reconsider or be bluffing, but said that is unlikely because he gave the word privately to close friends and allies.
Dot Joyce, Menino’s top spokesperson, did not immediately respond to a Gazette phone call.
If Menino indeed announces his withdrawal from the Mayor’s Office, it will throw the race wide open.
“Nobody’s sleeping tonight,” a City Hall source told the Gazette, referring both to political strategizing among potential candidates and the idea of Boston life without Menino after two decades. “This is the mayor we know. This is the mayor we think of,” the source added.
“Today we celebrate and thank Mayor Tom Menino for his service and unquestionable love for our City,” Connolly said in a written statement provided to the Gazette by his campaign. “He has personally touched the lives of tens of thousands of Bostonians, and he ensured a higher quality of life across Boston’s neighborhoods. I am thankful to have worked with him, and to have learned from him.”
Jamaica Plain is a politically powerful neighborhood with high voter turnout, and its elected officials are frequently named as among the many possible contenders in a wide-open mayoral race. At-large City Councilor Felix Arroyo and local City Councilor Matt O’Malley could not be reached for immediate comment.
The Gazette will continue to update this article with any new information.