He’s represented a diverse swath of Dorchester since Bill Clinton was president and America Online was hip technology.
But Martin J. Walsh’s election as mayor of Boston on Tuesday tees up his departure from the Massachusetts House of Representatives and could set up a race of a half dozen or more candidates vying to succeed him in the seat he has held since April 1997.
The 13th Suffolk District, which runs from near the JFK/UMass MBTA station to Walsh’s homebase of Savin Hill to the Neponset neighborhood and across the Neponset River to a tiny chunk of Quincy, includes some of the most politically active areas of Boston.
The seat has twice served as a springboard for serious mayoral candidates in the last two decades. Walsh’s predecessor, former state Representative James T. Brett, ran unsuccessfully against Thomas M. Menino in 1993.
“It’s a district that is very rich in political clout, political leadership,” Brett said. “The expectation, quite frankly, in running and getting elected in that district, is you’re going to be a very influential lawmaker.”
“People expect a great deal from you: They expect you to be extremely accessible,” he said, “and also be a major influence in the policies of the Legislature.”
Given the potency of politics in the district, it’s no surprise to political observers that there is already a long list of people mulling a run to succeed Walsh on Beacon Hill.
Walsh has said he will officially resign his seat early next year. When that happens, the state House of Representatives, in consultation with the Secretary of State, will decide whether to hold a special election and if so, when.
Among the many aspiring politicos considering a bid are a former Walsh legislative aide, a state parks official, the executive director of a youth organization, the owner of a real estate business, and one-time mayoral and Boston city council hopefuls.
Former Walsh legislative aide Michael Christopher, 28, said he was “strongly looking at” the race.
A Savin Hill resident who works in the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and who was involved in Walsh’s City Hall race, Christopher said he would take a few days before making a decision.
If he does run, he said his experience in state government could be a boon to his effectiveness as a legislator.
“The fact that I know how to navigate government, I know the executive branch, I know the relationship between executive and legislative branches is important,” he said.
Dan Hunt, Director of Government Affairs at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, said he was “strongly considering running for the seat.”
“Marty’s been one of the hardest-working guys in the building and he’s going to be a great mayor,” said Hunt, 33, and a resident of Dorchester’s Neponset neighborhood. “We’re going to need someone who can hit the ground running.”
He said he would make a decision soon.
Craig M. Galvin, who owns a Dorchester real estate firm, said he is “taking a hard look at” a run. Galvin, 44 and a resident of the St. Mark’s neighborhood, said the district’s next representative had “pretty big shoes to fill.”
Mariama White-Hammond, the executive director of Project HIP-HOP, a youth social justice and arts organization, said a run for the seat is something she is considering.
“For me, at the end of the day, the question is who is going to carry forward an agenda around supporting folks who need second chances and bringing communities together,” said the 34-year-old Savin Hill resident.
Recent citywide candidates who fell short are also pondering bids for the seat.
Annissa Essaibi George, 39, who finished fifth in Tuesday’s race for four at-large city council seats, lives in the district and said she is giving a state House run “a lot of thought.”
Savin Hill resident Bill Walczak, who lost in the preliminary mayoral election in September, said he too was mulling a bid.
“You never say never,” said Walczak.
A Walsh campaign aide said the mayor-elect does not expect to endorse in the race.