Sep 13, 2023 - Politics

Scrutinized Boston City Councilors lose preliminary elections

Outgoing Boston City Councilors Kendra Lara (left) and Ricardo Arroyo (right). Photos: Vincent Alban, John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Two embattled incumbent Boston City Councilors conceded their races in yesterday's preliminary election, setting up November showdowns between newcomers in the District 5 and 6 races.

Why it matters: The rare incumbent upsets appear to indicate the scandals plaguing Councilors Kendra Lara and Ricardo Arroyo were too much for voters to take.

What's happening: According to unofficial District 6 results, Lara finished a distant third behind labor attorney Ben Weber and IT director William King.

District 5 incumbent Arroyo also conceded his seat after challengers Enrique Pepén and Jose Ruiz finished in the first and second spots, according to unofficial tallies.

Catch up quick: Lara is facing criminal charges after a June car crash into a house in Jamaica Plain.

  • Arroyo is not charged with a crime but was embroiled in scandal after being sanctioned by state ethics overseers.
  • He was separately accused of attempting to have a former U.S. Attorney meddle in his unsuccessful 2022 race for District Attorney.

Meanwhile: In Dorchester's District 3, preliminary results show John FitzGerald is likely to face off against Joel Richards in the general election for the seat held by retiring Councilor Frank Baker.

  • City planning official FitzGerald had 43% of the vote and second place finisher Richards, a teacher, had 19% as of Wednesday morning.
  • The Dorchester race may be too close to call as of Wednesday morning, since nonprofit leader Ann Walsh finished only 86 votes behind Richards, according to the unofficial results.

What's next: The remaining candidates have 55 days until the general, when voters will choose their district councilors and four at-large council representatives.

The bottom line: After Lara and Arroyo's losses, Boston is guaranteed at least four new members of the council in January, including one new at-large councilor.


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