Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Power of the incumbency weakens in Boston City Council primary elections

Rachel Choi

Last Tuesday, more than 28,000 registered voters from Boston City Council Districts 3, 5, 6, and 7 went to the polls to decide which two candidates to send to the general election for their respective district seats this November. 

This was the first primary election in more than forty years in which incumbent councilors did not make it through to the general election. This primary campaign season had its own share of scandals and controversies, opening the door for more candidates who want to see more results and efficiency come from the Council Chambers to run for office. 

Once primary election polls closed at 8 p.m. across Boston on Tuesday, results began to trickle in through the City’s election results tracker

District 3

The race for District 3 City Councilor was the only one where an incumbent was not defending their seat. Earlier this year, incumbent District 3 City Councilor Frank Baker announced he would not seek another term. This announcement widened the playing field, promoting more competition amongst new candidates. 

Seven candidates vied for a spot in the November election on Tuesday’s ballot. John M. Fitzgerald topped the ticket, receiving 2,777 votes. Joel G. Richards also earned a spot on the ballot with 1,237 votes. Ann M. Walsh came up short by about 85 votes, bringing in 1,151 votes. The four additional candidates did not break 1,000 votes, with Matthew D. Patton receiving 550, Jennifer Anne Johnson 271, Barry Oliver Lawton 237, and Rosalind Wornum 213.

District 5

The race for District 5 City Council was not without controversy. Incumbent City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo paid a $3,000 ethics violations fine for representing his brother, former City Councilor Felix Arroyo, in a sexual harassment lawsuit while in office. 

Additionally, the race drew more scrutiny as reports showed that former U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins helped Arroyo during his campaign to be Suffolk County District Attorney. These actions violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity.

The race was also the first in more than 40 years in which a sitting councilor did not earn a spot in the general election. Councilor Arroyo finished in third place, receiving 1,397 votes, roughly 600 more than the fourth-place candidate Jean-Claude Sanon.

Enrique Pepén, who earned the endorsement of Mayor Michelle Wu and former City Councilor Tito Jackson, garnered the most support, receiving 3,047 votes. Pepén will face off against José Ruiz, who had the backing of former Mayor Marty Walsh and received 2,302 votes. 

District 6

The District 6 City Council race was the second in which an incumbent did not place for the November election. Councilor Kendra Lara came in a distant third place with 2,351 votes after news broke of her facing criminal charges after crashing an unregistered and uninsured car into a Jamaica Plain home, causing formidable property damage. 

Benjamin Weber, a workers’ rights lawyer, topped the playing field, bringing in 4,951 votes. William King, a non-profit worker, earned the second spot on the November ballot after receiving 4,384 votes. 

District 7

The District 7 race was the only one where an incumbent earned a spot on the ballot in November. Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson topped the vote totals, bringing in 1,448 votes. Her closest challenger, former City Councilor At-Large Althea Garrison, received 521 votes. Three candidates did not earn a spot on the November ballot—Roy A. Owens Sr. brought in 238 votes, Jerome King 200, and Padma Antoinette Scott 71. 

The District 7 race came with its own controversies, as incumbent Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson paid a $5,000 fine due to a conflict of interest violation after hiring both her sister and son to work in her City Council office. 

General Election

Now that the number of candidates has been narrowed down, the countdown to the general election begins. All registered voters in the city of Boston can go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 7th, to cast their vote for city councilors. 

On the ballot, Bostonians will be able to vote for up to four candidates for City Council At-Large. Additionally, they will all have the opportunity to vote for one District Councilor.

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DJ Mara
DJ Mara, Kasteel Well Bureau Co-Chief

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