Arroyo, Lara lose Boston City Council seats in preliminary election

Two embattled incumbents lost in preliminary elections Tuesday, upending the political careers of two young progressives and shaking up the future of the Boston City Council.

District 5 Councilor Ricardo Arroyo and District 6 Councilor Kendra Lara both conceded Tuesday night as the City Clerk's office tallied the votes. Both expected to finish behind at least two other candidates in their respective races, knocking them out of contention for the November ballot.

Here's how voters decided, according to the city of Boston's unofficial results.

District 5

Arroyo's loss came at the hands of two former city workers. Enrique Pepén served as Boston’s former executive director of neighborhood services, and José Ruiz is a former Boston police officer.

Both had significant backing in their campaigns. Pepén, who pitched himself as a progressive alternative to Arroyo, was backed by Mayor Michelle Wu. Ruiz, meanwhile, racked up significant endorsements during the preliminary, including from several of Arroyo's city council colleagues and former Mayor Marty Walsh.

Arroyo had to campaign while fighting back against a series of scandals, from decades-old allegations of sexual assault to accusations of election meddling involving former U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins during his 2022 campaign for Suffolk County district attorney. On the campaign trail, Arroyo highlighted his progressive policy record and years of service to the neighborhoods of Hyde Park, Roslindale, and Mattapan.

But in the end it was not enough, and it wasn't close. Unofficial results show Pepén and Ruiz each garnered about double Arroyo's vote total.

Jean-Claude Sanon, a Haitian-American community activist and radio host, also ran for the seat.

District 6

William King, an IT director for a nonprofit, and Ben Weber, a labor attorney from Jamaica Plain, both bested Lara on Tuesday night.

King had the support of two of Lara’s more conservative city council colleagues, while Weber said he would champion many of the same progressive policies as Lara — but without the personal baggage. He earned the endorsement of the Boston Globe.

Lara repeatedly faced questions from voters about her criminal case stemming from a car crash earlier this summer where she veered off the road and crashed into a woman's house in Jamaica Plain while driving with a suspended license.

She's contested some of the allegations but has apologized to voters and said driving without securing her 7-year-old son in a child's car seat was a mistake. While making her case for re-election with voters, Lara pointed to her work around housing affordability on the council, such as her advocacy for increasing the city’s inclusionary development policy.

Both King and Weber significantly out-raised Lara in fundraising in the months following the car crash.

"What a two years it’s been," Lara said after conceding, according to a report from POLITICO. "When you fight the system sometimes the system fights back, and today we lost this battle."

District 7

Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson sailed through Tuesday's preliminary. The first-term progressive will now face Althea Garrison in November.

Garrison, who has run for the council dozens of times, briefly replaced Ayanna Pressley on the city council after Pressley left for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Fernandes Anderson also faced anti-vaccine activist Padma Scott, perennial candidate Roy Owens, Sr. and Jerome King, who works for the Massachusetts Department of Human Services.

District 3

Dorchester and South End-based District 3 saw the most crowded field, with seven candidates vying to replace outgoing councilor Frank Baker.

Boston Planning and Development Agency official John FitzGerald garnered the most votes in the district. But with 97% of the vote tallied, it was a tight race for the second slot on the November ballot. Boston Public School teacher Joel Richards led former city hall aide and education non-profit leader Ann Walsh by just 86 votes.

FitzGerald racked up endorsements from Baker and his political allies, like former Mayor Marty Walsh. Richards was endorsed by several service worker unions and the Boston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. And Ann Walsh was endorsed by The Boston Globe.

The race to replace Baker was packed, with several others falling during Tuesday's tally, including: Matt Patton, a labor lawyer, who had the backing of former Gov. Deval Patrick; Meetinghouse Hill activist Jennifer Johnson, who had the support of the Ward 15 Democratic Committee; Barry Lawton, a former educator; and Rosalind Wornum, a member of the Boston Neighborhood Trauma Team.


Walter Wuthmann General Assignment Reporter
Walter Wuthmann is a general assignment reporter for WBUR.



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