The following are Douglas Bennett's Power Rankings of the 2013 Boston Mayor Candidates as of May 27, 2013. These rankings are determined by a combination of each candidate's previous electoral history which includes geographical and voter population base, potential money raised, grassroots organizational strength, and potential to harness issues:
1. Daniel F Conley, West Roxbury (Ward 20, Precinct 20)
2. John R Connolly, West Roxbury (Ward 20, Precinct 10)
3. Felix G Arroyo, Jamaica Plain (Ward 19, Precinct 7)
4. Martin J Walsh, Savin Hill(Ward 13, Precinct 10)
5. Rob Consalvo, Hyde Park (Ward 18, Precinct 18)
6. Charlotte Golar Richie, Meeting House Hill(Ward 15, Precinct 3)
7. Charles Calvin Yancey, Mattapan (Ward 17, Precinct 3)
8. Michael P Ross, Mission Hill (Ward 10, Precinct 5)
9. Charles L Clemons Jr, Dorchester (Ward 14, Precinct 4)
10. John F Barros, Uphmans Corner(Ward 13, Precinct 5)
11. Bill Walczak, Savin Hill(Ward 13, Precinct 10)
12. Robert Cappucci, East Boston, (Ward 1, Precinct 2)
13. David S Portnoy, Lower Mills(Ward 17, Precinct 13)
14. John G C Laing Jr, Hyde Park(18, Precinct 14)
15. David James Wyatt, Roxbury (Ward 11, Precinct 2)
Conley is ranked at the top of the list because of the fact that he has the largest voting base (all of Suffolk County for a decade), 20 years of elected service including being Robert Consalvo's predecessor and the politician who stepped into Menino's seat as soon as it opened. Conley also has over $1 million in the bank. Conley has been hit by critics and has lost some support from East Boston Power Brokers like State Represenative Carlos Basile and Local East Boston Politico and Funeral Home Director Joseph Ruggiero who organizes the Columbus Day Parade which alternates evry other year with the North End. This is due to Conley's support for a City-Wide referendum on the Casino Vote. While his position may have alienated some in East Boston, by taking his position that the vote should be City Wide has generated a lot of media attention for himself. Over the past two weeks he has publicly feuded with City Council President Stephen Murphy and has positioned himself as the Opposition Leader on this issue to Mayor Menino, Felix Arroyo, and others who believe this issue should be an East Boston vote only.
However, until he began asserting himself, it seemed that Conley was endanger of losing enthusiasm in his candidacy. The reason why Conley is still at the top of the power rankings is because of his strong fundraising performance in the first half of May by raising $100K. Conley has been staying active on the campaign trail. He was seen marching in the Mother's Day March Against Violence recently in Dorchester and his campaign handed in 10K signatures. However, although signs do not vote, there have been few Conley Yard signs across Boston so far. The only one I have seen was in South Boston.
John Connolly is ranked second because he's won three straight City-Wide elections as an At-Large City Councilor, topping the ticket with an impressive 50K plus votes in 2009. Not only is Connolly a prolific fundraiser (he has over 500K in the bank and raised $160K in April alone), but he is intelligent, presents himself well and knows the issues. By declaring his candidacy early before Menino opted out, an agressive Connolly got out to a good head start and it is evident by the amount of Connolly yard signs on fences and bumper stickers on cars seen across the city from West Roxbury where his support is deepest through Roxbury all the way to Dorchester and even Orient Heights in East Boston. Also so far, other than Dan Conley recently harnessing the casino issue, Connolly is the only other candidate to really focus on specific issues (ie- education and the Boston Public School System).
Felix Arroyo is in the third spot because of his electoral strength in 2011. Arroyo who finished 2nd in the At-Large vote in 2011 beat Connolly by 3000 votes. Arroyo is the sole Hispanic candidate in the field and will need a monolithic vote from Boston's growing Hispanic population to make the finals. 20% of Boston's voters are Latino and if this voting block turns out, we could have the 2nd Hispanic Mayor in Massachusetts History behind Willie Lantigua in Lawrence. Arroyo is definitely working hard. At the Future Boston Alliance event on May 14th, Arroyo was working the crowd hard. This was Connolly's territory (Future Boston Alliance Leader Greg Selkoe is a big supporter of Connolly).
Watching both Connolly and Arroyo working hard for votes at this event looked as if this was a harbinger of what's to come. It appears that one of the spots in the finals may be between these two individuals Connolly and Arroyo angling for the Progressive vote and young voters alike. The reason why Arroyo is not ranked higher is that although he has strong union ties specifically with the SEIU and good grassroots organizational strength, his weakness is his fundraising abilities. In order to make the finals, Arroyo needs to raise significantly more money than he has so far. Can he? Maybe. Arroyo has raised more money than his father did when he was City Councilor At-Large, but part of the reason why Arroyo is strong early is because of the good will his father built by his strong work as on the City Council for 5 years and as Boston School Committee Member before that. I know Arroyo is working hard because he's having a house party this Wednesday May 28th from 6-7:30Pm at 224 Florence Street in Roslindale. I know this because I go everywhere all the time and meet everyone.
Marty Walsh is in the fourth spot but he has room to grow. Walsh has an unbelievable organization and has the deepest roots with organized labor. Walsh is also a strong fundraiser and he is starting to corner the Southeastern side of Boston in Dorchester. His bumper stickers are seen on many cars and his "Marty" window signs are popping up in store and house windows. Walsh has the ability to expand into a strong city-wide candidate because he understands the importance of door knocking and going house to house. Walsh already has doorknocking teams which already have been dropping literature across Ward 16 beginning last week. For instance, while jogging up King Street in Ward 16, Precinct 4 I came across a car with 6 young college aged Walsh supporters going house to house leaving Walsh's literature. It looked like their data and their voter maps were good so Walsh is obviously using good technology to identify his supporters so he can turn out the vote. Walsh must demonstrate that he can expand the playing field. This is why he had his kickoff event at the Strand Theature (home region of rival John Barros and also a major polling location) so he could demonstrate that he is not a two dimensionsal candidate but can be a candidate who can transcend race and class. His effort turning out a thousand supporters is a good start. But for Walsh to win, he has to ensure his neighbor Walzciak doesn't straw any local vote from Savin Hill and Arroyo is limited on how much labor support he receives. These are the big question marks for Walsh and only time will tell. However, as of now he is running strong.
Rob Consalvo is is in the 5th slot for several reasons. I believe that Consalvo is a potential dark horse candidate. His signs are all over Hyde Park and East Boston which means he is starting to stretch the field by evolving into a true City-Wide Candidate. Also, as reported previously, Consalvo is doing a decent job raising money. In fact, he raised more than Arroyo in April. I believe that Consalvo could make the finals. The reason why is because I believe that Menino's forces are starting to align behind Consalvo. WHY? Because there is a HUGE Consalvo sign at the top of Chesterfield Avenue which is Menino's street. And there is many other reasons. Menino's protege Anthony Petrucelli of East Boston and North End is heavily supporting Consalvo.
Charlotte Golar Richie is sixth. Although she is the only woman in the field which is a major strength for Ritchie, she has not been on the ballot since the mid-90s. Ritchie entered the political arena by knocking off everyones' favorite perennial candidate Althia Garrison for State Rep. She has also been a power player in both Menino's and Patrick's administration. However, there have been rumors saying she left the Governor's adminstration on unfavorable terms with other members of Patrick's team. This is either true or it is smear attacks by opponents who are afraid of Ritchie's potential. Either way, she may have to address these concerns. Ritchie does have some organizational strength as seen in her supporters' impressive signature drive by collecting 8K sigs. Time will tell if she can break away from the field and make the finals.
Charles Yancy is in the Seventh slot. The former City Council President has been in office for three decades. Yancy has been a strong supporter of the African American community and has been fighting to build a new public school in Mattapan for a very long time. Because he has been around for so long, I expect Yancy to pull a decent vote from his constituents. Does he have the potential to make the finals. With the field so deep, probably not, but there is a chance. Most likely, Yancy loses the preliminary for Mayor and returns to the Council representing his District 4.
In the eighth spot is Michael Ross. This former City Council President is an impressive local politico and is popular in his district. He is a prolific fundraiser, but he has limited name recognition across the city. It is unlikely he will make the finals because the field is so deep. However, like Yancy because the vote could be so split you can not count Ross out. Los Angeles just elected their first Jewish Mayor, and New York City may elect Anthony Weiner. Could Michael Ross follow as well. It's possible but in my view, Ross is more like 2013's version of Larry DiCarra. Both very ambitious (DiCarra ran unsuccessfully for both State Treasurer and Secretary of State and Ross withdrew for Congress when Joe Kennedy entered the race), yet both of their careers seem to be hit by the same thing: the Peter Principle.
In the Ninth slot is Touch 106.1FM Radio Host Charles Clemons. Clemons has breakout potential and can rise towards the top. The critics are underestimating Clemon's known name recognition and network within the African American community. Clemons already has a Headquarters opened Monday-Friday from 10:30AM-6:30PM at 2 Washington Street in Dorchester and is about to open two more Headquarters in other strategic locations across the city. Clemons was the first to announce his candidacy for Boston Mayor at his 50th Birthday party in 2011.
John Barros is in the Tenth spot. Barros is young, charismatic, and handsome. He is experienced having served on the Boston School Committee and he lives in Upham's corner. He has raised some money so far and is the only other Mayoral Candidate besides Conley who supports a city-wide referendum on the Casino. His only downfall is that he has not been elected to office previously so the voters have never seen him on the ballot. Barros like Walzciak would have been a terrific At-Large City Council Candidate if he ran.
Bill Walzciak is in the Eleventh spot. Walzciak is a bigtime activist from Marty Walsh's neighborhood and is the only candidate to have his name on a building especially in a major intersection such as Codman Square. Walzciak has the potential to straw votes from Walsh in Savin Hill. If he does, then this will eliminate Walsh from making the finals. Walzciak is starting to build a strong core staff with City Hall Veteran Rubin Cantor becoming his campaign manager. And he is not afraid to loan his campaign money (ie-$50K). Walzciak may have to explain why he left Carney Hospital abruptly within the last couple years. This information was probably leaked by a rival campaign in effort to smear Walzciak. Therefore he must address these rumors before they become a "whisper campaign" against him. Like I mentioned in previous posts, because the field is so deep, I can not see Walzciak making the finals. Walzciak should have run for At-Large City Council which I believe he would have won.
Robert Cappucci is at twelve. Cappucci, the sole candidate from East Boston, is a Former Elected School Committee Member in Boston. Cappucci is a retired police officer and boasts having an organization of 72 individuals who collected 4500 signatures for him. With the last two weeks, Cappucci made the news because Congressman Stephen Lynch crashed into his car on the way home from the gym in South Boston. However, for being out of the political spotlight for 25 years, if Cappucci's signature total holds and he does officially make the ballot it is impressive.
David Portnoy is in the thirteenth spot. Portnoy is an amazing entrepreneur and fundraiser as evidently seen in first his abilty to raise 200K for the One Fund charity, but he also raised 20k for his own Mayor candidacy as well. I don't know if Portnoy is a serious candidate?However, for all voters who are sick of politics as usual may toss Portnoy a vote for Mayor which could end up strawing support away from other candidates trying to win a place in the finals.
Businessman John Laing is at fourteen. Laing, with Charles Clemons, created Touch 106.1FM. He is a Hyde Park resident. Other than the fact that he participated in a Mayoral forum a few weeks ago in Jamaica Plain and he also has appeared to collect enough signatures to make the ballot.
Lastly, David James Wyatt has appeared to have made the ballot. If it does stand and he has indeed made the ballot, then this is impressive for Wyatt. Wyatt finished near last in a nine person field in the 2007 At-Large Boston City Council Election behind Marty Hogan.
**** Please let me know your thoughts my friends. These power rankings are tentative and very fluid and as we have seen many times in politcs, this election is anyone's to win****
Douglas Bennett (@bostonpolitics)