There are five Boston city councilors running for mayor. But only one of them, District 4 city councilor Charles Yancey, is hedging his bets. Even as he seeks higher office, Yancey is also clinging to his current job. For the sake of voters who want to see single-minded commitment on the part of their candidates, Yancey should choose one contest or the other.
Boston’s arcane city charter allows candidates to seek more than one office as long as they gather enough certified signatures to get their names on separate ballots. A candidate cannot, however, actually serve in more than one municipal office at the same time. So Yancey, the city’s longest serving councilor at 30 years’ service, figures he has nothing to lose by appearing on both the mayoral and council ballots. But he does have something to lose — credibility.
Yancey, 64, said he has earned a bigger platform to advocate for refurbished schools, more street workers, and job preferences for Boston residents on city contracts. Yet he won’t risk his district council seat to make his case. If Yancey is so eager to make his presence felt at the citywide level, then he should give up on reelection to his council seat and allow new political leadership to blossom in Mattapan and other parts of the district, which suffer from disproportionately high crime and poverty rates. If he believes his local constituents can’t get by without him, then he should abandon the crowded, 12-candidate mayor’s race and leave the field to more committed candidates, including fellow councilors Felix Arroyo, John Connolly, Rob Consalvo, and Michael Ross. None of them are looking for loopholes in their quest for higher office.
July 2 is the deadline for candidates to remove their names from the ballot. That leaves just a few weeks for Yancey to decide which office means more to him. His insistence on running for both only diminishes his standing in each race.