Q#2, & A

"Brian" asks:

I got a phone survey from Mike Flaherty's campaign last Wednesday night, it was 15 minutes long.

When do you think that race will start off, and barring a Menino blunder, does Flaherty have any real shot? How did he fare in november compared to the 3 other at-large guys?

I currently make it a 70% chance that Flaherty runs for Mayor, 30% that he doesn't. (BTW, he just banked a nice wad of contributions.) He's certainly preparing for it: I heard recently that he's interviewed potential campaign managers. He certainly doesn't figure to announce before the November '08 elections -- unless someone else does, but there hasn't been a peep about anyone else feeling out the territory.

Flaherty led the at-large field again in '07, and will assuredly pose the biggest challenge to date for Menino -- assuming, as nearly everyone does, that Tommy will run again.

That said, I don't see how Flaherty beats him without a major scandal in the city government.

My own opinion is that Flaherty would stand a better chance if there are other serious candidates also running. There are a number of reasons for that, but to be brief, if it's just Flaherty then Menino can basically ignore him and win. With a multi-candidate field, you would have a well-covered campaign. In a one-on-one, if Menino blows off a debate or forum, there's nothing to cover; with multiple candidates, it draws a crowd and coverage without him (and questions about why he isn't there). A one-on-one makes the September preliminary meaningless, so nobody will pay attention before then; a multi-candidate race becomes a huge event, with the (second-place) winner gaining a huge boost and head of steam -- and probably most of the people who voted for the other challengers.

So far, that scenario doesn't seem likely. As a result, a Flaherty victory doesn't seem likely to me -- unless of course Menino ends up not running.

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