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Is a city councilor considering a run against Capuano?

Michael E. Capuano, who is running for his 11th term next year, represents a district that includes Somerville, Chelsea, Everett, Randolph, half of Cambridge, one-third of Milton, and the majority of Boston.Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press/file 2017

Is City Councilor Ayanna Pressley considering a run for the US House against incumbent congressman Michael E. Capuano? Could be.

Some Boston residents received an automated telephone poll in recent days asking questions about a hypothetical matchup between the two Democrats, according to three people familiar with the calls, including one person, a Back Bay resident, who received the call directly.

That Bostonian who got the phone call survey received it Friday afternoon. She said it included questions about whether she had a favorable or unfavorable view of Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Charlie Baker, and President Trump.

Early on in the poll, she said, it included a positive statement about Capuano and a positive statement about Pressley. And, though she could not remember the exact wording, she said, there was also a question about a hypothetical matchup between the two.


Other questions included how important it was to have a US representative who was good at constituent services and shares constituents’ values.

Another question asked the respondent whether she thought it is time for an outsider to hold that seat.

The poll used interactive voice response. That’s the term of art for a prerecorded voice asking questions and the survey takers answering by pressing a number on their touchtone keypad.

Such polls are less expensive than traditional polls with live interviews. Several Boston political insiders suspect it was conducted by Pressley, long seen as aiming for higher office than the council — in particular, Congress.

But, to be sure, the poll could have been commissioned by an outside group testing the waters on Pressley’s behalf. Or, less likely, it could have been paid for by a news media outlet.

Ayanna Pressley (left), a 43-year-old Dorchester resident originally from Chicago, was first elected in 2009.Katherine Taylor for The Boston Globe

Pressley did not respond to a text message late Monday, and her voice mail was not accepting messages Tuesday. A message left with her council office was not returned either.


But soon after the Globe placed two calls to her council office, Politico posted a story saying Pressley is “seriously considering” a run against Capuano, citing a source close to the councilor.

The news website Universal Hub reported Thursday that one of the site’s roving reporters got a poll about a race between Pressley and Capuano.

Capuano’s office referred questions to Paul Trane, a longtime friend and political adviser to the congressman.

Asked about the prospect of a Pressley challenge, Trane said: “The people of the Seventh District know they have an aggressive progressive in Mike Capuano, someone fighting to stop Donald Trump’s assault on immigrants, the working class, women, and minorities.”

Pressley, a 43-year-old Dorchester resident originally from Chicago, was first elected in 2009 in a history-making campaign, becoming the first African-American woman to serve on the council. The at-large councilor has won four more terms, most recently last month.

A former political aide to then-Senator John Kerry and others, her work on the Council has focused on helping women and girls.

“She is incredibly talented, committed to standing up for the people who don’t have power, and I would be very scared if I were any incumbent and Ayanna Pressley were going to run in my race,” said former councilor John R. Connolly, who jointly and successfully campaigned for reelection with Pressley in 2011.

But taking out a sitting House member is always a challenge, particularly one like Capuano, whose liberal voting record matches the political zeitgeist of the Seventh District.


Capuano, 65, is running for his 11th term next year. The former Somerville mayor represents a district that includes Somerville, Chelsea, Everett, Randolph, half of Cambridge, one-third of Milton, and the majority of Boston.

The Seventh District is demographically diverse. It had a 56 percent minority population in 2012. (Districts are redrawn after each decennial US Census.)

It is also Massachusetts’ most Democratic district and one of the most Democratic congressional districts in the country.

Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by more than 70 percentage points in the district, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

This election cycle, at least one municipal official who was seriously considering a run against Capuano changed course. Cambridge City Councilor Nadeem Mazen decided to run in a different Congressional district.

Joshua Miller can be reached at