Nov 2, 2023 - News

Boston city council district seats up for grabs after incumbent losses

Animated illustration of the Boston City Hall facade with a blue and yellow checkmark drawing over it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Voters in three of Boston's nine council districts are charged with electing new representatives for their neighborhoods in City Hall this year.

What's happening: In Dorchester's District 3, the race to replace the retiring Councilor Frank Baker is between John FitzGerald and Joel Richards.

  • FitzGerald had a commanding performance in September's three-way preliminary election, winning over 43% of the vote to Richards' 19%.

Richards, a Boston Public Schools teacher and pastor, has the backing of the Boston Teachers Union, SEIU Local 1199 and other progressive organizations.

  • He ran unsuccessfully for the District 4 seat in 2021 before the political lines were redrawn last year.

FitzGerald has worked in city government for almost 20 years and most recently oversaw properties for the planning and development office.

  • He has former Mayor Marty Walsh's endorsement, as well as backing from several former councilors and the outgoing Baker.

The September preliminary election eliminated incumbent councilors Ricardo Arroyo in District 5 and Kendra Lara in District 6, leaving both seats open for the November general election.

The District 5 matchup is between Enrique Pepén, a progressive who left his job as Wu's top neighborhood services aid to run, and Jose Ruiz, a retired Boston police officer with more conservative views.

  • The district covers Hyde Park, Roslindale and part of Mattapan.
  • Ruiz says he admires Republicans like Ronald Reagan and former Gov. Charlie Baker and is backed by Walsh.
  • Pepén previously worked for progressive politicians like former congressman Joe Kennedy III and former councilor Tito Jackson.
  • Pepén had 40% of the preliminary vote to Ruiz's 30% in the race that saw Arroyo finish third with 18%.

Zoom in: In the Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury-based District 6, William King faces Benjamin Weber.

  • Weber, a labor attorney, finished with 42% of the preliminary vote, while nonprofit IT director William King received 37%.
  • Lara took 20% of the September vote, meaning either King or Weber has a shot at going to City Hall.

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