Q&A #3: At-Large City Council

Bundling a few questions on the topic -- "Jim-C" asks:

Predictions:  Order of finish in Boston City Council At-Large race in November?

"BeantownBill" asks:

What impact will the 2011 Boston Elections have on the 2013 Mayor's Race? And when would you expect candidates to announce their intensions for Boston's Elections in 2013 including Mayor Menino?

And "Johnny" asks:

Is there any historical precedent for the four at-large councilors effectively endorsing each other?  Candidates don't usually endorse their opponents in an election, even if the top four get the job.

OK, don't hold me to this, because I change my mind every day and will undoubtedly continue to do so for months to come, but right now I say 1) John Connolly 2) Michael Flaherty 3) Stephen Murphy 4) Felix Arroyo 5) Ayanna Pressley 6) Sean Ryan 7) Will Dorcena.

I will say this, though: I hear that Tom Menino believes Flaherty won't get a spot. And Menino A) knows the Boston vote better than anybody, and B) can affect the Boston vote more than anybody.

The four-way love-fest among the at-large incumbents is certainly something I've never seen. The last time all the incumbents ran for re-election, we got the "Team Unity" slate of two incmbents (Arroyo Sr. & Yoon) and two district councilors (Turner & Yancey) -- and Arroyo lost.

This is different though, and could have some real impact -- although more important, I think, will be whether some key endorsing organizations (including labor) back the full incumbent slate or not.

As for the 2013 mayoral, I think clearly the better Connolly does, the better he looks for '13. And obviously a Flaherty defeat would almost eliminate him from that race. Other than that, basically everyone on the ballot this year -- city-wide or district -- wants to look like they're gaining momentum and popularity, because that makes people want to hitch their wagons to that train.

But don't expect anybody to make any big moves for at least a year. There's no way Menino will tip his hand, either way, until this time 2012 (ie, after the budget vote) at the absolute earliest.

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