A Quick Guide to the Boston Municipal Election

Boston City Hall. Photo by Michael Sol Warren
Written by Michael Sol Warren

Ever since the preliminary municipal elections on Sept. 8, the ballot has been set and the candidates have been in campaign mode for the Nov. 3 municipal election. The big day for Boston City Council is now less that three weeks away. Here’s what you need to know about the city elections.

Remember to register before you head to the polls. The voter registration deadline for the municipal election is today at 8 p.m.

Candidates are listed as they appear on the ballot. Incumbents are listed in bold.

Toss Up Races

District Four, District Seven and the at-large seats are the races that have received the most media coverage thus far and for good reason. These are the seats most likely to change.

Councilor-at-Large

Ayanna S. Pressley
Michelle Wu
Annissa Essaibi-George
Michael F. Flaherty
Stephen J. Murphy

Councilor Ayanna Pressley, Councilor Michelle Wu, Councilor Michael Flaherty and Councilor Stephen Murphy have held councilor-at-large seats since 2010, 2014, 2014 and 1998 respectively. At least three of the incumbents will hold on to their seats; District Three’s Annissa Essaibi-George is the only challenger for an at-large seat. Because Essaibi-George is the only challenger, no preliminary vote was held for the at-large seats. The at-large seats are unique because voters from every district will have the chance to weigh in.

According to campaign finance reports, from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30, Pressley’s campaign spent $10,644.60, Wu’s campaign spent $10,870.50, Essaibi-George’s campaign spent $5,840.09, Flaherty’s campaign spent $14,381.59 and Murphy’s campaign spent $3,188.16.

District Four

Andrea Joy Campbell
Charles Calvin Yancey

Councilor Charles Yancey has represented Mattapan and Dorchester since he was first elected to the District Four seat in 1983. He is the longest serving current member of Boston City Council. But if the September preliminary election was any indication, he is in trouble. Challenger Andrea Campbell received 57.92 percent of the preliminary vote while Yancey pulled in 33.87 percent. Terrence Williams and Jovan Lacet also appeared on the preliminary ballot, receiving 6.34 percent and 1.75 percent of the vote respectively, and Yancey’s numbers could improve with these two challengers gone, but he still has a large gap to make up in order to hold onto the District Four seat.

According to campaign finance reports, Campbell’s campaign spent $14,805.96 from Sept. 1 to Sept 30. Yancey’s campaign spent $13,367.07 during the same time period.

District Seven

Tito Jackson
Charles L. Clemons, Jr.

Councilor Tito Jackson is the heavy favorite to hold onto the District Seven seat representing Roxbury, a position he’s held since 2011. Jackson won 66.4 percent of the preliminary vote. The next highest polling candidate was Charles Clemons, the man who will challenge Jackson on Nov. 3. Clemons won 17.95 percent of the preliminary vote.

According to campaign finance reports, Jackson’s campaign spent $17,534.18 from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30. Clemons’s campaign spent $2,342.96 during the same time period.

Runaway Races

District Three and District Five both have multiple candidates listed on the ballot, but the challenger’s campaigns have been largely nonexistent. Both incumbents are expected to easily retain their seats.

District Three

Frank Baker
Donnie Palmer

Councilor Frank Baker has represented Dorchester since 2012. On this ballot Baker will be challenged by boxer Donnie Palmer for the District Three seat. District Three did not have a preliminary election because Baker and Palmer are the only two declared candidates. Palmer’s campaign has been almost nonexistent; according to campaign finance reports Palmer’s campaign has spent a total of $300 and has not spent any money July 15.

According to campaign finance reports, Baker’s campaign spent $5,589.03 from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30.

District Five

Timothy P. McCarthy
Jean-Claude Sanon

Councilor Timothy McCarthy has represented Hyde Park and Roslindale since 2014 when he defeated Jean-Claude Sanon. Now McCarthy and Sanon are back in a rematch, and Sanon is not presenting much of a challenge. Like District Three, District Five did not have a preliminary election because McCarthy and Sanon are the only two declared candidates.

According to campaign finance reports, McCarthy’s campaign spent $7251.34 from Sept. 1 to Sept 30. Sanon’s campaign spent $1,750.35 during the same time period.

Uncontested Races

The councilors from District One, District Two, District Six, District Eight and District Nine are all running unopposed.

District One

Salvatore LaMattina

Councilor Salvatore LaMattina has represented the North End, Charlestown and East Boston since 2006. According to campaign finance reports, LaMattina’s campaign spent  $9,641.21 from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30.

District Two

Bill Linehan

Councilor Bill Linehan, the current city council president, has represented Downtown, South Boston and the South End since 2007. According to campaign finance reports, Linehan’s campaign spent $3,575 from Sept. 1 to Sept 30.

District Six

Matt O’Malley

Councilor Matt O’Malley has represented Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury since 2010. According to campaign finance reports, O’Malley’s campaign spent $2,779.60 from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30.

District Eight

Josh Zakim

Councilor Josh Zakim has represented the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway-Kenmore, Mission Hill and the West End since 2014. According to campaign finance reports, Zakim’s campaign spent $2,128.83 from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30.

District Nine

Mark S. Ciommo

Councilor Mark Ciommo has represented Allston and Brighton since 2008. According to campaign finance reports Ciommo’s campaign spent $1,016.01 from Sept. 1 to Sept 30.

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