On Wednesday, Feb. 20, At-Large Boston City Councilor John Connolly tweeted that he was considering running for mayor of Boston and for people to contact him with ideas and questions.
With all signs pointing to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino gearing up to run for a record sixth term, does that mean Connolly is ready to take on the Menino Machine?
"I haven’t decided yet," Connolly told Patch.
"I think mainly to see what the response is. Also to call and reach out to a lot of supporters and opinion leaders and to gauge their sense. That’s the process I’m in right now. I’m making calls and asking people what they think, and if they would be with me. And I’m just getting their general take on what they want for Boston’s future," Connolly said.
And people have contacted him—and sent contributions to his campaign, too.
Since Wednesday's tweet, Connolly approximated his campaign had received $5,000. No doubt more monetary support is coming, and if Connolly is to mount a mayoral campaign, he'll need it. The Boston Herald reported Connolly's campaign had more than $315,000 in January, after raising more than $75,000 in the first month of 2013. According to the Herald, Menino has more than $650,000 in his war chest, but he reported raising just $3,300 in January.
"The money is not going to determine whether I run or not. Figuring out whether I could raise the money over the course of a 7- to 9-month campaign will play a role for sure," Connolly said.
"I’m talking (to) people in the neighborhoods, people who live their lives every day and are community and opinion leaders, who are active in different aspects of the neighborhood," he said.
Asked whether he has spoken to his fellow city councilors for support, the three-term councilor from West Roxbury said he's got to give his colleagues space while he makes a decision to run or not.
As for soliciting advice from Mayor Menino?
Connolly laughed and said, "That’s a good question. You know I think on this decision I’m most interested in what folks in the neighborhoods have to say. Particularly famliies with school-aged children."
"I’ve been working with a network of supporters who believe in my work on schools and my vision for Boston’s future. If I run, the focus of my candidacy would be on my vision to bring world class schools to Boston. But we will talk about every issue and big ideas for Boston’s future in every challenge we face with the city," Connolly said.
Connolly has chaired the council's education commmittee and led hearings on school quality, school choice, teacher evaluations, as well as the healthiness and safety of cafeteria food. The latter issue came about after Connolly caught Boston Public Schools serving expired food to students.
"I think schools have to be the cornerstone for the city’s future. But I also think we need real strategies and new energy and new ideas on every issue. And I hope my camapaign would do that and push that if we launch," Connolly said.