Serge Bologov has a similar influence on other tight-knit neighborhoods in the area, including a growing Hasidic congregation around Chestnut Hill Avenue. As a result, the two are being watched closely in the September 25 Allston-Brighton preliminary, where six candidates are vying to replace Jerry McDermott, who is moving out of the city to raise his young children. The top two finishers in that race will face off in November.
Observers are handicapping Vysoky and Bologov like Vegas oddsmakers. Greg Glennon, who got the Wallingford Road vote in his 2004 race for state representative against Michael Moran, is ideologically closest to their views, and is a protégé of one of their favorite pols, former state representative Brian Golden. But Mark Ciommo has a good relationship with Vysoky and others through his work as executive director of the Veronica B. Smith Senior Center. Ciommo is also favored by Menino, who Vysoky and Bologov usually — though not always — try to help. One local pol says that Bologov and Ciommo arrived together at Menino’s July cookout.
Fellow candidate Rosie Hanlon, director of Brighton Main Streets, is less likely to get the Russian vote, although she is not conceding. “Rosie is spending a lot of time at Wallingford Road,” says her campaign manager, Mark Handley.
The most progressive candidate in the race, Tim Schofield, is said to have the least chance with the Russian community — even though he helped organize the ward for Menino in 2005 — since he worked for David Friedman, who Vysoky blames for a 2005 Department of Justice inquiry into suggestions of electoral skullduggery among the Russians. Plus, Schofield’s progressive politics aren’t their cup of tea, and, some say, neither is his homosexual orientation. “Tim Schofield will never get the Russian vote,” says one Brighton political player.
Other progressives — including Arroyo and Yoon — have also never won that vote. If Connolly can be progressive enough to attract liberals while still holding the votes of neighborhood voters such as the Russians, he may have the opening he’s looking for.