Mayoral race will open up City Council seats

April 12, 2013
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With three Boston city councilors already in the mayoral race—including Jamaica Plain’s Felix Arroyo—there likely will be a domino effect of people running for council seats next year.

Two JP residents who have run in recent City Council elections, Kosta Demos and Francesca Fordiani, told the Gazette they will not run for open seats.

While candidates who already hold office almost surely will give up their seats to run for mayor, they aren’t required to, according to election authorities.

According to the Mayor’s Office, a city councilor can run for both mayor and city councilor, 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.

City Councilor Rob Consalvo, who represents the Hyde Park neighborhood where Menino lives, has announced a mayoral run. 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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