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Angling begins for Hart’s state Senate seat

District may tilt to Dorchester

Longtime legislator John A. Hart Jr. is leaving politics for a job at a law firm.

Globe File photo/2012

Longtime legislator John A. Hart Jr. is leaving politics for a job at a law firm.

John A. Hart Jr.’s announcement that he will resign from the state Senate seat he has held for a decade set off a flurry of behind-the-scenes maneuvering and speculation Tuesday on who might succeed him.

Possible interest by two Dorchester politicians raised the prospect that the First ­Suffolk District, long held by South Boston politicians, could see a shift in power.

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State Representative Linda Dorcena Forry, a Dorchester Democrat, said she was considering a run but stopped short of revealing her intentions.

“It is something I’m looking at,” said Dorcena Forry. She said she expects to make up her mind in the coming week.

State Representative Martin J. Walsh, a Dorchester Democrat, has also been mentioned as a possible replacement for Hart and would, like Dorcena Forry, move the seat southward.

Walsh, whose strong support from labor could give him a high profile in the race, said a run is not out of the question.

“I’m looking at it, but it’s still a little early,” said Walsh, a member of the House since 1997. “We’re looking at it, talking to people. I haven’t made my mind up, but I’ll make a ­decision probably over the next several days.”

Several South Boston politicians were also in the mix, includ­ing state Representative Nick Collins, who said, “I’m strongly considering a run.” Collins formerly worked on Hart’s staff.

Another name making the rounds in political circles Tuesday was Michael F. Flaherty, a South Boston native who gave up his City Council seat to run unsuccessfully for mayor in 2009. He did not return phone calls but released a statement on Facebook. “Many have asked already whether I would consider running for the First Suffolk Senate seat,” Flaherty wrote. “It would be a privilege to work for the people of Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park, and South Boston again. But that decision is best left for another day. Right now, let’s all just wish Jack the very best.”

Mark McGonagle, a South Boston Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for the Massachusetts House in 2010, has also been seen as a viable candidate. But McGonagle, who works for Councilor Bill Linehan, said he is not considering a run.

Hart said Monday he is resign­ing to take a job at a law firm. He was elected to the House in 1996 and to the Senate in 2002. He is well known as the host of the St. Patrick’s breakfast in South Boston.

Patrick D. Rosso can be reached at patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com.
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