Connolly: I Am Running For Mayor

City councilor John Connolly will announce Tuesday morning that he is running for mayor of Boston, launching a campaign that will “focus on new ideas,” particularly plans to improve the city's public schools.

Connolly discussed the decision with several reporters Monday in advance of the official announcement.

In recent months, the three-term at-large councilor has stepped up his criticism of the city's management of its schools, as the Phoenix recently wrote.

And Connolly's entrance into the mayoral race comes on the heels of Monday night's External Advisory Committee vote to adopt a new school-assignment plan – one which Connolly says “will only make modest gains, at best.” Connolly has offered his own alternative, which he says he will pursue as mayor, if elected.

He becomes the third declared candidate in this year's mayoral election, following Charles Clemens and Will Dorcena. Fifth-term mayor Tom Menino, who has been stepping up his public appearances as he recuperates from recent health troubles, has not declared whether he will seek another term.

Connolly has well over $300,000 in his campaign account, after vigorous fundraising in December and January. He says he hopes to raise a total of $1 million.

Menino entered the year with $600,000 -- considerably less of a campaign war chest than in 2009, when he was last re-elected. That year he won 57 percent of the vote in defeating Michael Flaherty.

Acknowledging the challenges of taking on the incumbent, Connolly says that winning will require an “unconventional” campaign. “It's going to have to look like a campaign that has never been seen before,” he says.

Connolly's decision to run for mayor also opens one of the four at-large seats on the city council. At least three challengers have already declared their intentions to run, in addition to the three incumbents, who are expected to seek re-election.

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