Baker, O'Toole To Face Off In Boston Council Race

Preliminary elections in three Boston districts Tuesday set November match-ups for City Council seats.

Candidates Frank Baker and John O'Toole finished first and second, respectively, in the preliminary District 3 election, meaning they will square off later this fall in a bid to replace departing Councilor Maureen Feeney.

Baker topped six other challengers for the Dorchester seat with nearly 32 percent of the vote, according to the city's unofficial results. O'Toole beat the third-place finisher, Craig Galvin, 26 percent to 24 percent, to secure a spot on November's ballot.

"I've always been passionate about where I live," Baker, a former city employee, said. "To get involved, it's in your blood. If you think you can make a difference, you jump in and you run."

O'Toole, a union plumber, said, "People are struggling, Dorchester in particular, in particular you know there's a lot of folks that are going to need help, and I'd like to think of myself as the kind of guy that's able to fix things."

In District 2, which includes South Boston and the South End, challenger Suzanne Lee surprised some political watchers by topping incumbent Councilor Bill Linehan in the preliminary election. According to the unofficial tally, Lee finished with 39 percent of the vote; Linehan had 35 percent.

If Lee wins, she would become the first Asian-American woman on the City Council.

"I'm not looking to make history," she said. "I've always worked hard, my whole entire life has been about fighting for ordinary people to have a voice in the process."

In Roxbury-centered District 7, Councilor Tito Jackson — who just six months ago won the seat in a special election to replace ousted Councilor Chuck Turner — easily advanced to November's ballot, with 76 percent of the vote. He'll be joined in the final race by Sheneal Parker, who received 11 percent of votes.

Jackson said the results show strong solidarity within the district.

"I'm very pleased that the momentum that we came in with is still there and we're going to keep pushing, we're not going to let up," Jackson said.

Across the three districts, 16,547 votes were unofficially cast Tuesday — nearly 14 percent of Boston's registered voters. Turnout was highest in District 3, where more than 7,400 voted across 30 precincts.

The council's four at-large seats will also be decided in November.

This article was originally published on September 27, 2011.

This program aired on September 27, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


More from WBUR

Listen Live