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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

What to know about this year’s Boston City Council race

William Woodring
Boston City Hall

Bostonians will vote on both at-large and district councilors during this year’s City Council election Nov. 7. 

Boston residents can vote early through Nov. 3 and vote by mail through election day as long as ballots are dropped in a box or arrive at City Hall by the time polls close.



Eight candidates will appear on this year’s ballot for the four at-large seats. Incumbents Julia Mejia, Ruthzee Louijeune and Erin Murphy are seeking reelection, but the retirement of Councilor Michael Flaherty means at least one new face will be joining the council.

The Boston Globe predicted the three incumbents will likely win reelection.

“I don’t think it’s all that complicated,” John Nucci, a former Boston city councilor and vice president of external affairs at Suffolk University, said to the Globe. “Incumbents are probably going to get reelected as they usually do.” 

This leaves candidates Clifton Braithwaite, Bridget Nee-Walsh, Shawn Nelson, Henry Santana and Catherine Vitale fighting for the fourth seat.

Nelson and Vitale are anti-vaccination extremists, according to the Globe. Braithwaite’s campaign reported $86 cash on hand at the end of last month’s fundraising period. 

This leaves Santana, who was endorsed by Mayor Michelle Wu, and Nee-Walsh, who unsuccessfully launched a bid for the same seat two years ago, as the most serious candidates for the seat, according to the Globe.

Santana, who most recently worked as Wu’s director of civic organizing, told the Globe he takes “pride in being a public servant, being able to fix the smallest of issues.” 

“That pride’s been missing in this version of the council,” he said in an interview with the Globe.

Santana said he is a progressive who prioritizes housing and programs to provide free wifi to students in need and Thanksgiving dinners to city families.

Nee-Walsh is a self-described moderate who wants to hire more police officers and expand vocational schools in Boston.

A South Boston native, Nee-Walsh told the Globe she was “more open-minded than maybe the average person from Southie.”

Nee-Walsh was the first woman in the Local 7 Union and her campaign centralizes her experiences with organized labor. 


District Races

Incumbent Gabriela “Gigi” Coletta is running unopposed in District 1. Coletta was elected to the seat in a special election in 2022 after her former boss Lydia Edwards was elected to the state senate.

Incumbent Ed Flynn is running unopposed in District 2. Flynn has represented this seat since 2018.

John FitzGerald and Joel Richards are running for the District 3 seat left open by Councillor Frank Baker’s retirement. Richards is a retired Boston Public School teacher and was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America. FitzGerald is a deputy director with the Boston Planning and Development Agency.

Incumbent Brian Worrell, elected in 2022, is running unopposed in District 4.

Enrique José Pepén and Jose Ruiz are facing off in District 5. Ruiz, a former police officer, is endorsed by former Mayor Martin Walsh and told the Globe he admires former Governor Charlie Baker and former President Ronald Regan. Pepén is a progressive endorsed by Wu. Pepén formerly served as Wu’s executive director of Neighborhood Services.

Benjamin Weber is running against William King in District 6 after controversial incumbent Kendra Lara lost in the preliminary election. Weber is a progressive lawyer, while King is viewed as a moderate, according to the Globe. King ran for at-large seats in both 2017 and 2019.

Incumbent Tania Fernandes Anderson is being challenged by Althea Garrison in District 7. Fernandes Anderson, elected in 2021, is the first Muslim-American and first African to serve on the council. Fernandes Anderson is originally from Cape Verde.

Garrison served on the council in 2018 and formerly served as a State Representative in 1992. She is thought to be the first transgender person to serve in a state legislature, according to the Globe.

Sharon Durkin and Montez Haywood are facing off in a rematch of the July special election that put Durkin on the council for the District 8 seat. Durkin is a former aide to Sen. Ed Markey and Wu, while Haywood is a longtime prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office.

Incumbent Liz Breadon is running against Jacob deBlecuort in District 9. Breadon is the first openly lesbian councilor, and deBlecourt is the former communications and policy director for Mejia.

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William Woodring
William Woodring, Senior Editor-at-Large | he/him
Will is a senior majoring in public relations. He is originally from Medway, Massachusetts. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, writing, reading, and running. He is interested in political journalism and hopes to go into politics after graduating. Follow Will on X @woodringwill
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    Herbert JonesNov 5, 2023 at 10:05 am

    Great work here, Will. Continued success