Will Mayor Thomas Menino run for re-election next year? The landscape of the entire 2009 city election hinges on the answer, which Menino has yet to give.
Local City Councilor John Tobin—who used to write “Tobin for Mayor” on his notebooks as a schoolboy—said he probably would make a mayoral run if Menino decides to retire.
At-large Councilors Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon are already openly exploring mayoral runs as well. It is unclear whether they would attempt to run against the powerful and popular Menino, who is in his 15th year as mayor.
But it is certain that if Menino retires, there will be an electoral frenzy over the open Mayor’s Office and a domino effect in the campaign for other city positions.
Tobin said he is now running for re-election to his District 6 Council seat, which includes most of Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury, plus a bit of Roslindale.
But, Tobin said, “If the mayor decided that he wasn’t going to seek another term, I would give that run strong consideration. It would probably take me a minute [to decide].”
“If I had to bet my house, I’d probably say [Menino is] going to run again,” Tobin added.
Various political observers have assumed for years that, if and when Menino decides to retire, he will wait as long as possible to announce the fact while taking time to select and support a possible successor.
Asked whether he is preparing for a last-minute announcement from Menino, Tobin said, “Oh, yeah. We’re just doing our job and constantly raising money. [I] try to champion issues that have an effect around the city.”
Meanwhile, Tobin is trying to make it easier for future candidates to take a shot at the top city offices. On Dec. 1, the City Council will hold a hearing on his proposal to limit the mayor and city councilors to 12 years in office.