Sep 5, 2023 - Politics

The open City Council race to replace Michael Flaherty

Illustration of Boston City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

When longtime at-large city councilor Michael Flaherty announced in July he wouldn't run for another term in the citywide seat, the election became one of the city's most competitive.

Why it matters: The council's four at-large seats wield outsized influence. The positions have served as launching pads for the political careers of Mayor Wu, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and more.

Driving the news: Voters will choose from progressive candidates like Wu aide Henry Santana and more conservative choices like iron worker Bridget Nee-Walsh, who ran unsuccessfully in 2021 and wants to carry on Flaherty's centrist positions.

What they're saying: "With candidates in at-large and district races bringing a broad spectrum of ideologies... the ideological balance of the council could shift radically when the new members are seated next year," former Bay State Banner senior editor Yawu Miller wrote after Flaherty announced his departure.

Plus: The election will also give voters the opportunity to weigh in on the three incumbent at-large councilors, including Julia Mejia and Erin Murphy, who have seen their share of conflict in the chamber over the redistricting map, police funding and other parts of Wu's agenda.

Meanwhile Ruthzee Louijeune, the third at-large incumbent has earned a reputation for level headedness.

  • "The voters and residents hired us, to represent them and to not be involved in petty fights or drama and back and forth," Louijeune told the Boston Herald.

What's next: There aren't enough candidates to trigger a preliminary election for the at-large seats, and all eight candidates will compete in November's general election.


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