What You Need to Know About the Boston Mayoral Race

Bet you didn't know Boston had a flag, either? Image via Svgalbertian/Wikimedia Commons.

Who knew Boston has its own flag?
Image via Svgalbertian/Wikimedia Commons.

With only three weeks to go before the September 24 preliminary election, the field of Boston’s mayoral hopefuls is taking shape. Twelve candidates are vying for the chance to replace outgoing Mayor Thomas Menino, who has presided over the city for over twenty years.

Although the field has candidates representing all of Boston’s many neighborhoods, the race has struggled to catch the city’s attention. A recent poll by the political consulting firm Sage Systems found that more than a third of potential voters remain undecided.

Amongst the twelve candidates still in the running, there are only a couple that can realistically go the distance.

At-Large City Councilor John R. Connolly was the first to announce, even before Mayor Menino formally declared that he would not be seeking an unprecedented sixth term. Connolly has made education reform his signature issue, even going so far as to brand himself “The Education Mayor.” In August Connolly came under fire after he initially accepted a $500,000 push from the education advocacy group Stand for Children, only to reject the offer later in the week.

Martin J Walsh. Image via Getty Images.

Martin J Walsh.
Image via Getty Images.

State Representative and Boston College alumnus Martin J. Walsh is also in the running. In the aforementioned Sage poll, Representative Walsh registered a close second and a statistical tie to the leading John Connolly, drawing eleven percent, compared to Connolly’s twelve. Walsh has won the backing of numerous labor unions around the city, drawing on his connections as a union rep before serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he has stayed for over sixteen years.

Although Representative Walsh topped the fundraising totals for the month of August, coming in at roughly $383,000 according the Boston Globe, District Attorney Dan F. Conley still leads the field at over $1.25 million. As the District Attorney for Massachusetts’s most densely populated county, Conley oversaw the prosecution of between 40,000 to 50,000 criminal cases every year.

Councilman Felix Arroyo. Image via Getty Images.

Councilman Felix Arroyo.
Image via Getty Images.

As the first Latino elected to the Boston City Council, Felix G. Arroyo has attempted to galvanize Boston’s growing Latino community, releasing several Spanish-language television ads. Before being elected to the council in 2009, Arroyo served as the Political Director for the Service Employees International Union Local 615. Arroyo is one of the few candidates to oppose lifting the cap on the number of charter schools in the Boston school system.

Former State Representative Charlotte Golar Richie. Image via Getty Images.

Former State Representative Charlotte Golar Richie.
Image via Getty Images.

Former State Representative Charlotte Golar Richie would also set a new precedent if elected to Boston’s highest office as the city’s first female mayor. Although she is the only female in the race and has been placed on the political advocacy group Emily’s List's fundraising rolls, Richie has only raised $122,000 as of August 22, according to WGBH News. Touting her experience as the Executive Director of the Department of Neighborhood Development, Richie has seen her support jump in the recent Sage poll, reaching fourth place and seven percent.

With the race by all accounts wide open, it remains unclear which two candidates will claim the top two spots on September 24, and therefore move on to the general election on November 5. Boston College students that live off campus in Brighton or in Edmonds, Walsh, 90 Saint Thomas More Road, Vanderslice or the Mods are eligible to register to vote in Boston and have their voice heard on the September 24. The necessary form can be found here and must be postmarked by September 4 in order to be processed in time for the preliminary election.

Featured image via Manu_H/Flickr.

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James Cody