Lit Drop: Ballot picture comes into focus for mayor, council races

Former BPD Commissioner William Gross, left, walked along Blue Hill Avenue with Councillor Annissa Essaibi George last Thurs., May 20. Mia McCarthy photo

As of May 19, six mayoral candidates have secured the required 3,000 signatures needed to qualify for the September primary ballot, according to the city’s election department. There will likely be more to come. A total of 17 people had filed to gather signatures to run for mayor as of May 11. 
Those who have been certified for the ballot already include Mayor Kim Janey, John Barros, and City Councillors Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi George, Michelle Wu and State Rep. Jon Santiago. Among those whose nomination papers have been submitted, but not yet certified by election officials are Michael Bianchi, Robert Cappuci, Joao Gomes DePina, John Houton, Sophia Kim, William John Morgan Jr., Joe Nigo Sr., Roy Owens, Kevin Christopher Reed,  Richard Spagnuolo, and Patrick Williams.

Last Tuesday (May 11) was the final day for candidates to apply for nomination papers, and nearly every district councillor faces a potential challenger.  The at-large race has the largest number of potential candidates; as many as 25 could be vying for four seats.

Incumbent at-large Councillors Michal Flaherty and Julia Mejia will be joined on the ballot by Erin Murphy, Said Abdikarim, Kelly Bates, Alex Gray, David Halbert, Ruthzee Louijeune, Carla Monteiro, and Jon Spillane. 

Two would-be candidates have pulled papers to challenge Councillor Lydia Edwards for her District One seat, although Edwards has so far been the only one to qualify for the ballot.  District Two Councillor Ed Flynn faces no challengers this election cycle and has already secured his spot on the ballot.

District Three Councillor Frank Baker officially has one challenger on the ballot: Stephen McBride, a first-time candidate who lives on Jones Hill.
In District 4, which will be left vacant by Councillor Campbell, nine people have already qualified for the ballot. They include former state Rep. Evandro Carvalho, William Edward Dickerson III, Deeqo Jibril, Joel Richards, Leonard Lee, Sr., Josette Williams, and Brian Worrell. An additional seven people took out nomination papers, but have not yet been certified.

District Five councillor Ricardo Arroyo so far faces no opposition, although one other candidate has pulled papers. District Six councillor Matt O’Malley decided not to seek reelection, leaving behind a seat to fill. Three candidates to replace him have already secured a spot on the ballot: Winnie Eke, Mary Tamer, and Kendra Rosalie Hicks. There are two other potential candidates. 

Janey’s District Seven seat is also open, and out of the nine candidates that have filed nomination papers, five have already qualified for the ballot. They include Tania Fernandes Anderson, Angie Camacho, Joao Gomes DePina, Marisa Luse, and Roy Owens.

Only one candidate is challenging Councillor Kenzie Bok for her District Eight seat, but so far only Bok has made the ballot. District Eight requires only 130 signatures to qualify for the ballot, the fewest of any district. Most district seats require 200, with the other two exceptions being Districts Seven and Nine.

District Nine councillor Liz Breadon is also the sole qualifier for the ballot, but she could also face challengers as five other candidates have expressed interest in the seat.

All municipal candidates have until June 22 to have their signatures certified by the registrars.

– MADDIE KILGANNON

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Former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross endorsed at-Large City Councillor Annissa Essaibi George for mayor during an event in Mattapan on May 13. Gross, the city’s first Black police commissioner who resigned in February, called it “an easy decision. This is the person that I wholeheartedly believe can bring the city together, or make it more cohesive and make Boston what it is today and continue to make it number one in the country.”

Gross, who entertained a potential candidacy of his own for mayor in January, made his announcement during a visit to Brother’s Deli in Mattapan. He said he supports Essaibi George because of her work in every neighborhood.

Said Essaibi George: “I’m very proud today to be here with Commissioner Gross, and to talk about the future of our city and continue the work that I started on the council. Work to making sure that we have a safe and flourishing and booming Boston in which all of our residents can have full opportunity and education and safety.“

Gross added that he was endorsing Essaibi George because of her fair accountability of police issues and her relationship with the Boston Police Department. He said she regularly calls or sends a text when an officer or first responder is injured— or when there’s a police-involved incident in the city.

“We need folks that are actually out in the street,” Gross said. “I’ve seen other folks that are city councillors at large; I never see them in this neighborhood or any neighborhoods that look like this. This lady goes to every neighborhood and this is a time where we should be having conversations and bringing our entire city together.”

– MIA McCARTHY

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Former state Rep. Marie St. Fleur endorsed Andrea Campbell’s candidacy for mayor on Tuesday afternoon during a joint appearance in Mattapan timed with the celebration of Haitian Flag Day.

“Andrea Campbell is exactly the kind of leader Boston needs right now,” St. Fleur said in a statement. “She is informed by the painful losses and inequities she experienced growing up in Boston and driven by her understanding and knowledge of the opportunities that Boston holds for all people. These experiences allow her to see, hear, connect to, and fight for all people,” St. Fleur said in a statement released by Campbell’s campaign.

A longtime supporter of Campbell, St. Fleur first backed her in 2015 when she challenged longtime incumbent City Councillor Charles Yancey for the District 4 seat. A Dorchester resident who represented the Fifth Suffolk district, St. Fleur has frequently used her Twitter account in recent weeks to support “#Team Andrea” and encourage her followers to sign Campbell’s nomination papers. She donated $1,000 to Campbell’s campaign in 2021, according to filings with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, helping to push Campbell’s campaign war chest past $1 million as of May 3.

– MADDIE KILGANNON

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