Q&A #2 -- At-Large, Again

"William" asks via email:

What do you think about the large field of candidates in the at large city council race. Do you think it will be a interesting election? Do you think they will all stay in until September? Who do you think should just forget about it? Etc?

I do think it will be an interesting election. I think some candidates will not make the preliminary ballot; I suspect one or two others might decide to drop out as they face fundraising difficulty. But we should end up with a very interesting field.

The preliminary itself should be interesting: some "serious" candidates will not make the cut. That's a big change from recent cycles.

There are at least seven candidates who you would figure to be in that top eight getting through to the final: Felix Arroyo, John Connolly, Ego Ezedi, Tomas Gonzalez, Andrew Kenneally, Stephen Murphy, and Ayanna Pressley. And, if Kevin McCrae decides to drop the mayoral bid and run a serious at-large bid, he might have already made a spot for himself in that group.

But there are a bunch of other candidates who are planning to run serious campaigns as well -- these aren't a bunch of one-percenters. These are people who, if they run strong campaigns, could easily get into the top 8... which means bumping out someone on that list above. And with so many candidates essentially starting at zero name recognition, the ones who hustle enough might outperform the ones with the "right" resume and connections. (In other words, don't count out Doug Bennett.)

In fact, with votes likely to be widely dispersed among a large number of candidates, it's likely that you'd need to get tagged on a relatively small percentage of ballots to finish 8th or higher. So, a candidate who find a niche group, he or she might be able to ride it into the general-election field -- say, if Peter Lin-Marcus can become a darling of Sam Yoon supporters, or if Jean-Claude Sanon can create a wave of Haitian/Dominican/Trinidadian etc. voters, or if Robert Fortes can mobilize Republican-leaning voters.

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