Two state representatives announced Monday that they would seek to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jack Hart, as the campaign in the closely watched race kicked off in earnest.
Linda Dorcena Forry, a Dorchester Democrat, and Nick Collins, a South Boston Democrat, are the first two to announce their candidacies for the First Suffolk District, which covers South Boston and parts of Dorchester and Mattapan.
A special election will be held May 28, following a primary April 30, the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office said Monday.
The open seat raises the prospect that the district, long dominated by South Boston politicians, could undergo a shift in power away from that neighborhood.
“My work in the Senate will be grounded in a unique understanding of the city neighborhoods that compose the First Suffolk district,” Dorcena Forry, 39, said in a statement. “I have spent my whole life in the First Suffolk communities, and I have a ground-level understanding of the people, institutions, and public spaces that make this such a special place to live.”
Dorcena Forry, a Haitian-American who lives in the Lower Mills neighborhood, represents the 12th Suffolk District, which includes portions of Mattapan, Dorchester, and Milton. She was first elected to the Massachusetts House in 2005, after working for the city and state governments.
In his announcement Monday, Collins said friends, colleagues, local residents, and business leaders had urged him to enter the race.
“I am honored and humbled by this support,” Collins, 30, said in a statement.
A former staff member in Hart’s office, Collins has served the Fourth Suffolk District, which includes South Boston and a sliver of Dorchester, since 2010.
The names of other potential candidates have surfaced in recent days, including state Representative Russell Holmes, a Mattapan Democrat, and Michael Flaherty, a former Boston city councilor and mayoral candidate.
State Representative Martin J. Walsh had been considered another potential candidate, but he said Monday he would not run. “I took a week to sit back and think, and I made the decision I would not be pursuing it,” Walsh told the Globe.
Hart resigned last week 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.
Prior to Hart, the seat was held by Stephen Lynch, now US representative, from 1996 to 2001, and by William Bulger from 1971 to 1996.