Mayoral candidates likely to give up seats

April 2, 2013
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With Mayor Thomas Menino announcing last week that he will not seek reelection, the floodgates have been opened for potential candidates.

But many of those people contemplating runs are already in elected positions at the city or state level, posing the question whether they must relinquish their seats to run.

According to the Mayor’s Office, a city councilor can run for both positions, but must take out two sets of nomination papers and garner two sets of signatures. If elected as both a city councilor and a mayor, the official would have to decide which position to serve.

Larry DiCara, a Jamaica Plain resident and former City Council president who was a candidate in the 1983 mayoral race, said he would be “very surprised” to see any candidate run for both seats.

“I’ve never seen it done before,” he said.

DiCara reeled of a series of city councilors who relinquished their chance for reelection to run for mayor, including recent Menino challengers Michael Flaherty and Maura Hennigan, a JP resident.

Asked what type of strategy goes into that decision, DiCara said, “It’s a conversation at the kitchen table,” noting that city councilors would be giving up a secure office position for a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be mayor.”

On the state level, Secretary of State spokesperson Brian McNiff said there is no state law preventing a state representative or senator from serving in that capacity at the same time as mayor. He noted that that has happened before.

The most recent example is when William Lantigua served both as Lawrence mayor and as a state representative in 2010, though he did eventually resign from the state House of Representatives. It is unclear if the Boston city charter would prevent an elected official from serving in both capacities.

Some local elected officials who could face these circumstances if they run for mayor include City Councilors Felix Arroyo, Mike Ross and Tito Jackson, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz and state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez.

City Councilor Rob Consalvo, who represents the Hyde Park neighborhood where Menino lives, has also been floated as a possible mayoral candidate. Menino could conceivably run for Consalvo’s seat. But, DiCara said, he sees “no real reason” why Menino would, considering the mayor has a “wonderful pension” awaiting him.

DiCara said the only time a mayor went back to the City Council was when City Council President John Kerrigan became acting mayor in 1945 after Maurice Tobin was elected governor. Kerrigan was then defeated by James Curley in the next mayoral election and he went back to the City Council.

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