Flaherty Jumps In

Local political reporters rejoice: what could have been the sleepiest election season in ages will instead be a fun-filled bloodbath. That's right, Michael Flaherty has just announced that he is running for Boston City Council at-large.

I have been saying all year and longer that he was serious about it, but I was never really sure he would pull the trigger. By doing so, he creates a five-way battle for four seats, as he challenges incumbents Felix Arroyo, John Connolly, Stephen Murphy, and Ayanna Pressley. There are several others who have pulled papers as well, some of whom could be very interesting candidates, but it's hard to imagine it will be anyone but those five at the top.

My understanding has been that much of Flaherty's core staff from his 2009 mayoral campaign will likely be back with him for this run, but I don't have details on that yet.

Flaherty says he will pull papers at the election department Monday at 11:00am, and he'll make that into a media-grabbing little kickoff. From the sound of the press release he sent out today, it sounds like he intends to run, rhetorically, against the mayor -- that is, criticizing the conditions of the city (jobs, violence, etc.), blaming Menino and painting himself as clearly the independent voice needed on the council to stand up to hizzoner.

It's a pretty smart approach, seems to me; I'm sure he doesn't much want to get into attacking individual at-large councilors. This way (if that is what he's doing), he does it implicitly, with the suggestion that they are not independent.

Of course, folks like me will be watching closely for signs that Flaherty is targeting one of the four incumbents specifically, but he might not do that, even subtly -- at least, not at first. We'll see how things go.

One other thing: This should wake up fans of the incumbents, and I'd bet we see a surge in contributions to them, now that there's a real chance someone will lose their job.

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