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David James Wyatt is elusive, camera shy

David James Wyatt (left) made a rare appearance this week with other Boston mayoral hopefuls at a forum in the Modern Theatre. Wyatt has $17 in his campaign war chest.

Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff

David James Wyatt (left) made a rare appearance this week with other Boston mayoral hopefuls at a forum in the Modern Theatre. Wyatt has $17 in his campaign war chest.

Editor’s note: The Globe is not publishing a full, front-page profile of David James Wyatt because he declined repeated efforts to be interviewed for such an article.

The moderator of a youth jobs forum had barely finished giving instructions to the five mayoral hopefuls when a sixth emerged.

“Uh, it looks like we’ve got another candidate,” the moderator said as hundreds of young attendees turned their gaze to the newcomer.

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Dressed in loose-fitting khaki pants and a black blazer, David James Wyatt made his way to the candidate platform, taking a seat at the center of the table with his fellow candidates. His eyeglasses sat low on his nose as he leaned back in his chair, his arms crossed.

Moments later, in response to a question about bringing more youth jobs to the city, he began his answer the same way he begins most of his public responses.

“Well, I’m a Republican, and a conservative, as one would expect a Republican to be,” Wyatt said with a sigh and a shrug. “I am also 100 percent prolife.”

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In a race that centers on who is the best choice to replace Thomas M. Menino, Wyatt stands out by eschewing any talk about wanting to win and by rarely appearing on the campaign trail. Instead, he has said that he hopes to give voters a conservative option, someone with deep antiabortion convictions.

With just $17 in his campaign account — some of his opponents boast war chests of more than $1 million — Wyatt has been largely absent on the stump and a rare sight at the dozens of forums and debates that have been held over the summer.

The race’s most mysterious candidate, Wyatt has not produced any official campaign materials and has proven elusive to many of the journalists covering the race. He returned very few candidate surveys and dodged a Globe reporter who tried for two weeks to secure a full-length in-person interview for this profile.

Wyatt does have a website, a holdover from an unsuccessful City Council run in 2007, but has otherwise does little campaigning. At times, he stresses that he is the only candidate in the race who has run for mayor before, referring to a short-lived write-in campaign in 2001.

Born and raised in Roxbury, Wyatt is a former Boston public school teacher who now works 12 hours a day at two jobs, including a job selling copies of the Boston Herald.

He acknowledges that he was fired from his teaching job, and court records show that he spent several years in the mid-1990s suing the school district in an unsuccessful attempt to win back his job.

Often camera-shy, Wyatt slowly contemplates each question he is asked and sometimes looks surprised when forum moderators turn to him for a response.

His answers almost always hinge on one of a handful of his core political stances: Boston should stop spending so much money on school buses; the city should return to an elected School Committee; and the next mayor should use the position as a bully pulpit to trumpet antiabortion views.

“It’s important that people have options from both parties,” Wyatt said after one of the recent forums that he did attend. “This is a nonpartisan election, and I am the only candidate who is a Republican, who is conservative.’’

One of six candidates of color in the race, Wyatt says it is important that the city elect its first minority mayor. That stance earned him what was probably his first applause of the campaign last week at a candidates-of-color forum in Dorchester.

But the vocal crowd support was short lived.

Moments later, members of a crowd of more than 150 gathered outside under a tent and turned on the candidate, who had begun a long-winded defense of Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis.

The moderator glanced over to Wyatt apologetically, but his sympathetic glance was met by the candidate’s familiar shrug. He really did not seem too upset.

Wesley Lowery can be reached at wesley.lowery@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @WesleyLowery.
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