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Analysis: Incumbents Face Strong Challengers For Boston City Council

This article is more than 11 years old.

Boston residents are among those in 53 communities set to go to the polls Tuesday in municipal elections. A key race in Boston has seven candidates competing for the four at-large seats on the Boston City Council.

The incumbents — Felix Arroyo of Jamaica Plain, John Connolly of West Roxbury, Council President Stephen Murphy and Ayanna Pressley of Dorchester — are all running for re-election.

Three candidates are trying to unseat them: former City Councilor Michael Flaherty of South Boston, businessman Will Dorcena of Hyde Park and schoolteacher Sean Ryan of Jamaica Plain.

We sat down with our longtime city political analyst, former president of the Boston City Council and a one-time mayoral candidate Larry DiCara, and asked him to assess the field.

"Realistically there are five candidates with all due respect to Dorcena and Ryan: the four incumbents and Michael Flaherty," DiCara said.

With low voter turnout — predicted to be around 50,000 people — and a multi-candidate field, accurate polling is impossible. DiCara said any four of the five candidates could win, but points to Flaherty's higher visibility as an important factor in a race like this one, where people will vote for multiple candidates.

"It goes both ways, his visibility is higher than most of the incumbents, on the other hand, he made a few enemies in the course of what was a very bitter campaign (for mayor in 2009 against incumbent Thomas Menino)," he said.

Asked if he thinks Flaherty has plans to run for mayor again, DiCara responded, "There's probably no one who's ever served on the City Council who doesn't sometimes think about running for mayor from time to time, and I can say that from personal experience."

This program aired on November 7, 2011.

Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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