O'Malley has gotten off to the fastest start, according to political veterans from the area. He has raised roughly $25,000, and chalked up a number of key early endorsements — including Tobin.

But those observers say Hennigan and Ryan have also been visible, shaking hands at the district's well-known spots for politician visibility, including Dunkin' Donuts and Roche Bros.

And the other candidates were able to organize quickly enough to gather the required 200 valid signatures.

Interestingly, although the district's votes are usually dominated by West Roxbury, only one of the six candidates — Chan, a 20-year resident — currently lives there. The others live in Jamaica Plain. However, O'Malley, who grew up in West Roxbury, and Hennigan, whose real-estate business is there, are both well connected in the neighborhood.

To read the "Talking Politics" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/talkingpolitics. David S. Bernstein can be reached at dbernstein@phx.com.

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