Boston City Council President Stephen Murphy will support Ayanna Pressley in her bid for re-election this year, even -- or especially -- if Michael Flaherty runs for his seat back.
Murphy and Pressley, two of the four incumbent at-large councilors, had a conversation over the weekend in which Murphy pledged his support. Murphy expects to also back the other two at-large councilors, Felix Arroyo and John Connolly.
This comes as speculation grows about former at-large councilor Flaherty joining the race. Flaherty was out shaking hands at Roxbury polling places last Tuesday, during the special election for District 2 7 councilor -- won by Tito Jackson.
Flaherty marched in the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade yesterday, another public appearance in what looks to some like the beginnings of a campaign for his old council seat. Flaherty has been out of office since running for mayor unsuccessfully in 2009.
Providing another potential piece of political intrigue, Flaherty was marching with Ed Flynn, son of former mayor Ray Flynn and a two-time candidate for the council. Several people tell me that Flynn is considering running against incumbent Bill Linehan in District 2 -- a rematch from 2006 that, along with the already-announced candidacy of Suzanne Lee, would presumably drive up turnout in South Boston, Flaherty's home neighborhood and best base of support. (Flynn has not yet returned my call for comment.)
Pressley, who finished fourth in the 2009 at-large race, is considered by many most vulnerable if Flaherty makes it a five-person race for the four spots. She is holding a campaign kickoff fundraiser tomorrow night in Dorchester.
Murphy's backing of Pressley, and the other incumbents, would be a somewhat unexpected show of unity in opposition to Flaherty -- potentially sacrificing votes for Murphy among Flaherty supporters.