Charlotte Golar Richie, a former state representative from Dorchester who later served in the Patrick and Menino administrations, said Friday she is strongly considering a run for mayor of Boston.
If she enters the race, Richie would be the first woman and the first prominent African-American in a field dominated by white men. Richie said she plans to make a decision by next week.
“I am looking at this seriously,” Richie said in an interview. “I have a long history with the city. I love the city. I’ve dedicated my professional life to working in the city.”
Her consideration of a mayoral bid, Richie said, will have to be weighed against the satisfaction she derives from her current job at YouthBuild USA, a national nonprofit that builds affordable housing and works with young people who have limited prospects for employment and education. Richie works at the headquarters in Somerville as a senior vice president, helping to secure state and federal funding.
“I don’t just want to abandon my role here and my commitment to the young people,” Richie said. “But I also know this opportunity to lead the city is once in a lifetime.”
Nine candidates have already jumped into the race, which could splinter the electorate in the Sept. 24 preliminary election. A relatively small number of votes could propel a candidate into the final election Nov. 5, when the top two finishers will face off in the race to succeed Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who announced last month he will not seek a sixth term.
Analysts were somewhat divided on Richie’s prospects if she decides to join the field. “I absolutely think she has a shot,” said political consultant Joyce Ferriabough Bolling of Richie. “It’s a numbers race. If there’s a woman in the race, it adds another dynamic to the counting.”
Michael J. McCormack, a former city councilor, said Richie would face an uphill battle because she had no money in her political account with less than sixth months before the preliminary election.
“Realistically, you have to say her campaign’s a long shot,” McCormack said. “She’s bright, ebullient, smart. But a citywide race for mayor requires money. You need money to get your message out. It’s getting late, and it’s very late for someone with no money.”
While money is vital in any political campaign, shoe leather and organization are indispensable in a race in Boston, where campaigns are waged block to block.
Menino always spent a significant amount of time in Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester. On Election Day, Menino’s get-out-the-vote machine often succeeded in boosting turnout in precincts with historically low voter participation.
Voters in neighborhoods of color have served as Menino’s firewall against challengers from Boston’s traditional white, Irish establishment. Even without Menino on the ballot, political organizers in those neighborhoods said they hope to maintain the same clout.
Political activists in black, Latino, Asian, and other communities of color have been working on an urban agenda that they want to discuss with all the candidates, said according to Darryl Smith, a cofounder of a grass-roots organization called Communities of Color.
“We know the road to victory — whether you are black, white, Latino, or Asian —is going to be through the heart of communities of color,” he said.
Declared candidates for mayor include Bill Walczak, a founder of the Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester; Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; city councilors Rob Consalvo, Felix G. Arroyo, John R. Connolly, and Michael P. Ross; and state Representative Martin J. Walsh.
Two other people, Will Dorcena and Charles Clemons, have said they are running, but have raised little money.
Born in Brooklyn, the 54-year-old Richie has lived in the same house in Dorchester for 26 years. Her husband of almost 29 years is a senior executive at John Hancock. They have two grown daughters.
She was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1994, serving until 1999. Richie was chairwoman of the Housing and Urban Development Committee.
After winning a third term, Richie left the Legislature to work for Mayor Thomas M. Menino as Cabinet chief of housing and director of the Department of Neighborhood Development. She managed a 200-person city department with a $100 million budget.
“One of the things he wanted to do was expand the stock of affordable housing,” Richie said of the mayor. “We were able to get housing built in neighborhoods all over the city.”
Richie left the city in 2007 and joined Governor Deval Patrick’s administration as a senior adviser for federal, state, and community affairs. For a year, she headed Patrick’s political committee before joining YouthBuild USA.
Richie was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya. She has a bachelor of arts degree from Rutgers University, a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and an MBA from Suffolk University.