Joe O’Brien is in the mayor’s race, officially announcing his candidacy in a Dianne Williamson column as this paper hits the stands. O’Brien’s in an interesting situation as a candidate: He’s long been respected as a political campaigner and organizer, but hasn’t always been successful himself. The former School Committee member, rumored to run for mayor in 2006 before officially stepping out, finished in dead last place in 2003 for School Committee, and lost a memorable 1998 State Rep. race against Vincent Pedone. But despite running Tim Murray’s Lieutenant Governor campaign and working for Congressman Jim McGovern, O’Brien’s been out of the political limelight for a few years now, and will have to raise his general profile beyond the Democratic Party faithful.
Trying to steal O’Brien’s thunder is Gary Rosen, who contacted both Kate Toomey O’Brien – and Telegram columnist Nick Kostopolous at the same time – telling the two other candidates to drop out of the race in an article that ran Wednesday. Rosen’s rationale is based on the conventional wisdom that it’ll be near impossible for any of the three to beat incumbent Konnie Lukes in a four way race. O’Brien has also made overtures asking his opponents to back-off; Toomey has maintained that the right to run is hers, as she’s been in this race the longest, though she’s holding off her official announcement until September. That leaves what amounts to a staring contest between three stubborn pols, all who feel they have earned the right to run.
The other problem with a four person race? The votes will be divided so much that we could be looking at a mayor winning with no more than 35% of the vote; in a low turnout year, that could be around 11,000 votes.