Council hopefuls chase signatures through raindrops

This week’s rain hasn’t dampened the spirits of the city’s political candidates as they fan out across the city to gather signatures each day. Competing for signatures, they cross each other’s paths often, and they’re civil to each other, most of the time.

Though Mayor Thomas Menino and challenger Michael Flaherty both turned in more than enough signatures to qualify last week, other mayoral challengers and those running for council are still slogging it out.

Both Ayanna Pressley and Felix G. Arroyo were moving past the 1,300 mark as of Tuesday, while Kevin McCrea, who intends to run for mayor if he can get enough signatures to qualify, had turned in around 2,200, according to his campaign manager John Tracey. All three campaigns had more bundles of signatures to carry in to the elections office.

Several of the other candidates including the incumbents have also submitted sheets, with the notable exception of Ego Ezedi Jr., the Baptist minister and YMCA-director running in the at-Large race.

An unexpected frontrunner in the signature race is Doug Bennett, ex-Republican who is noted on his home ground Nantucket as ‘Rotary Doug’ for his habit of accompanying his huge campaign signs along local roadways.

His moniker in Boston could become ‘Knock Knock Doug’ as he has been banging on doors in neighborhoods across the city since May last year—he claims over 30,000 so far.

Bennett’s campaign was claiming over 4,000 signatures as of Monday, putting his competitors in the dust. Many speculate money or Republican backers or both are behind the effort—though Bennett called his organization of 150 people “volunteers,” adding that around 20 are working around the clock.

Bennett is married to Kathleen Ann Galligan, daughter of Thomas J. Galligan III, CEO of Papa Gino’s Holdings. Bennett’s campaign chairman is John W. Sears, one of the only Republicans ever elected to City Council in 1980.

Bennett also allegedly got into a tangle with dark horse candidate Bill Trabucco of Dorchester at the Stop & Shop on Morrissey Blvd. last week.

Trabucco, who popped up when he pulled papers late last month, is campaigning as the ‘no-nonsense’ candidate.
“I don’t suffer fools and I don’t deal with nonsense,” said Trabucco, who grew up in St. Margaret’s parish. “I’m a straight shooter and I fight my fights for matters that make improvements for working class people.”

According to Trabucco, he spotted Bennett in the parking lot of the supermarket collecting signatures while he was on his shift as an EMT. On his way out of the lot, he pulled up the ambulance to introduce himself to Bennett.

On a lark, the two agreed to sign each other’s sheets, a sign of good will. But as Trabucco drove off, he noticed Bennett marked his address as “45 Porter”—which, as any good ambo driver would know, is a non-existent address. Bennett actually lives at 85 East India Row, in a luxury condo overlooking Boston Harbor.

After a few choice words with Bennett, Trabucco said it became his own personal side mission to see that Bennett does not get elected. He said he would be filing a formal complaint against Bennett for falsifying his address.

“I think he’s as artificial as anybody I’ve seen in my life,” Trabucco said, speaking of Bennett. “You are never becoming a candidate for Boston City Council. Go back to Nantucket.”

Called for comment, Bennett said he didn’t know what Trabucco was talking about. Confronted with the fact that his signature is on Trabucco’s nomination papers with a false address, he said,
“I don’t know anything about it. Hey listen, I have to go,” and then immediately hung up the phone.

The last time Bennett hung up on the Reporter was when he was asked about his campaign stickers, which are plastered all over the neighborhood.

According to the Mayor’s press department, which handles calls for the elections department, the incident is a new one on them. But likely Bennett’s signature would simply be disqualified.

“The elections board will look at it,” spokesman Nick Martin said of Trabucco’s formal complaint, if it is filed. “But I think the bottom line is it just wouldn’t count.”


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