There’s been a lot of speculation that President-elect Joe Biden might tap Marty Walsh for a big job in Washington, possibly as labor secretary.
But while labor leaders in Washington have been pushing for Walsh to get a position, some of those closest to Walsh have reiterated what they told me in September: He isn’t seeking a position in the Biden administration and is not going anywhere except back to his house in Dorchester while girding for a campaign for a third term.
Walsh won’t formally declare his candidacy until an announcement that is tentatively scheduled for sometime in January, but sources close to the mayor say all that is contingent on the COVID-19 pandemic. Walsh is focused now on combating the pandemic rather than potential challengers.
If you’re wary of unnamed sources, or skeptical because you’re old enough to remember the “White Will Run” headline in the Herald back in 1983, consider what Walsh has been up to of late.
His campaign, already flush with a war chest of more than $5 million, has raised some $700,000 since September, including more than $100,000 during a “Women For Walsh” event last week. Walsh is raising money and spending money like someone who’s all in.
On Sunday, the Walsh campaign held a virtual organizational meeting that involved more than 200 supporters, according to some who took part.
On the personnel side, the mayor appointed Nick Martin as his administration’s chief of communications Monday, while Liz Vlock, most recently press secretary for Senator Ed Markey’s successful reelection campaign, has signed on to handle communications for the campaign.
Martin is a savvy City Hall veteran, a smart guy who is not going to leave a good gig at Coca-Cola to become the face of an administration that’s about to end in a matter of weeks. Liz Vlock, a real pro, wouldn’t sign on to a campaign that’s not going to happen.
Walsh is not going to leave the city in the middle of a pandemic, or while Boston is in the midst of a searing, ongoing racial reckoning. The best thing he can do for the city, and the Biden administration, is remain mayor. He will be among a handful of mayors who, as longtime, loyal Biden supporters, will have the president’s ear.
Walsh will face at least two formidable women of color in the primary next year: City Councilors Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell, who hope that the progressive wave that Ayanna Pressley rode in 2018 to knock off a popular incumbent congressman in Mike Capuano will have some remaining energy.
But Walsh is already positioning himself for a challenge from the left. He was just named chair of Climate Mayors, a national coalition of 468 mayors committed to progressive environmental action.
Last week’s Women for Walsh event, meanwhile, suggested the mayor is not going to cede the female vote to either of his challengers. More than 300 took part, and the honorary chairs included the most powerful female elected officials in the city and state, such as Treasurer Deb Goldberg and state Representative Chynah Tyler. It also included a video that touts Walsh helping organizations and businesses led by women, while noting that half of the members of his cabinet are women.
Speaking of women, the longest-tenured one in Walsh’s life is his mother Mary, who still lives in the house on Taft Street where he grew up. Those in Washington still promoting him for a job don’t seem to appreciate that the mayor is his mom’s chief caregiver. He’s not going to uproot her or leave her behind.
Nick Martin, by the way, is Black, so the face and voice of the administration in an election year when race will be a major issue will be a person of color. Martin also served in what was then the Boston Redevelopment Authority and is as well-versed on development — another issue that Campbell and especially Wu want to use against Walsh — as anyone at City Hall.
At the risk of inviting some bad karma, Walsh Will Run.
Kevin Cullen is a Globe reporter and columnist who roams New England. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.