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[This Just In]

CITY HALL
Paper trail

BY DORIE CLARK

Last Wednesday candidates had their first chance to take out papers to run for Boston municipal office. Candidates have until July 31 to gather signatures - which then must be validated by city election officials - but as of July 2, the field already looks more crowded than expected. Most significantly, former state representative Althea Garrison of Dorchester, a perennial candidate, has indicated her intention to run for mayor, as has David James Wyatt of Roxbury. If either succeeds in getting on the ballot, it will force a September preliminary election - which would have been avoided if the field had remained limited to incumbent mayor Tom Menino and challenger Peggy Davis-Mullen, an at-large city councilor. The top two vote-getters in the preliminary election will advance to the November 6 final election. If Menino triumphs decisively in September, however, it could provide a knockout punch to Davis-Mullen's beleaguered campaign. Says former city councilor Mike McCormack, " [Menino's] goal would be to run up an impressive victory that would hopefully put an end to the Davis-Mullen candidacy. "

The usual suspects (incumbent at-large councilors Mickey Roache and Stephen Murphy, as well as current district councilor Maura Hennigan of Jamaica Plain, former Boston School Committee president Felix Arroyo, and Rob Consalvo, an aide to State Representative Angelo Scaccia of Hyde Park) signed up for the at-large council race. But a number of district councilors will face surprise opposition. The most contested race so far is in Dorchester, where three challengers are taking on incumbent Maureen Feeney, who was among a number of pols snared in a Boston Globe exposť two months ago for not filing a state tax return in at least one of the previous eight years. Her opponents include Mark Juaire, the president of the Dorchester Allied Neighborhood Association; Nathan Cooper, the 45-year-old past president of the Codman Square Neighborhood Council and the proprietor of a local business (for seven years, he sold Afrocentric accessories; for the past three, he's been retailing cell phones); and former cable talk-show host John Comerford, whom Feeney defeated in the last two elections.

Councilor Dan Conley of Hyde Park will face Joseph D. Wells of Roslindale. Another contender for the seat, 23-year-old city employee Michael J. Kelly (no relation to Michael Kelley, Menino's director of campaign operations), signed up for papers, but decided not to proceed because he says he didn't realize running would require a leave of absence from his job. John Tobin and Mike Rush will compete for the Jamaica Plain/West Roxbury district seat being vacated by Maura Hennigan. John F. Callahan of Brighton will face off against incumbent Brian Honan, and Rich Evans - cousin of powerful police commissioner Paul Evans - plans to challenge South Boston councilor Jimmy Kelly. Roy Owens, a perennial candidate from Roxbury, will run against incumbent Chuck Turner, and Vikki Middleton of Dorchester will take on council president Charles Yancey.

So far, only Mike Ross of the Fenway and Paul Scapicchio of the North End face no opposition. But in the strange world of politics, they may be the unlucky ones. Incumbent pols are rarely defeated - which means " it's not necessarily a bad thing for these guys to have opponents, " says Democratic consultant Michael Goldman: " It may cost them a couple of bucks, but it revs up their organization for [future races]. It's an aggravation, but it's a chance to get the rust out of their political machines. "

Issue Date: July 5 - 12, 2001






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