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Steve Kerrigan has party activists wondering

Steve Kerrigan. Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

Steve Kerrigan, the Democrats’ nominee for lieutenant governor last year, is making some party insiders — mainly supporters of party chairman Tom McGee — very nervous.

Over the past few months, Kerrigan has been moving around party circles and appearing at local events, drawing the attention of a bloc of party activists unhappy with McGee’s tenure as state chairman.

But Kerrigan, a former Senate aide to the late Edward M. Kennedy, says he has no interest in challenging McGee, whose term expires in 18 months. He said his appearances at city and town committee meetings and fund-raising events are merely his way of saying thanks to those who supported his campaign for lieutenant governor.


“I come from the political school of thought that if someone worked hard for you, you thank them,’’ Kerrigan said, when asked about his post-election travels. “There is nothing more to read into it. It’s interesting they are concerned about a politician moving around and talking to people. That’s what we do, isn’t it?”

Any challenge to McGee — whose salary is set at $100,000 (he also gets $75,032 as a state senator, plus $7,000 in expenses) — would be an uphill fight for anyone. He has strong institutional party support, including from Mayor Martin J. Walsh and among the entire congressional delegation. He is also popular among his legislative colleagues at the State House.

Still, Kerrigan, who obviously has his sights set on running for another statewide office, didn’t endear himself to McGee and his staff when they met with him recently in an effort to persuade him to be the Democratic attack dog against Governor Charlie Baker. McGee argued that, as a state senator who is dealing with the Baker administration on Beacon Hill, he himself can’t level frequent partisan broadsides at the governor, a source familiar with the meeting said. Kerrigan was adamant that he didn’t want to take on the role of party spokesman.


McGee’s aides said they were only seeking to alert Kerrigan to the potential for his speaking out on particular issues that he cares about.


Healey headlines Tolman fund-raiser

It was a tough campaign — and a hugely tough loss for Warren Tolman, a popular figure in Democratic party circles — for the nomination for attorney general. Now Tolman is facing a $150,000 debt and the person who tripped him up, Maura Healey, headlined a fund-raising event at a private Boston home Thursday.

Tolman hoped to raise more than $20,000 at the fund-raiser held at the Beacon Street home of his former campaign finance chair, Chery Cronin, a longtime party legal beagle and finance operative. Both Tolman, fresh off his loss the previous month, and Cronin ran a fund-raiser in October for Healey, whose first-ever campaign for office sparked a huge groundswell of support and set her up as a leading figure of a new generation of Democrats.

But the main attraction was expected to be an appearance by a Democratic icon Frank Bellotti. The former attorney general, who turns 92 in a month, is the best draw Tolman could hope for. He is not only the last of a generation from a very colorful era in Massachusetts political history, he is also considered the most significant attorney general in modern state history. (To be sure, he would argue with word “modern,” but no one but he is left to check those facts.)


For Bellotti, lending his name to the fund-raising had a special meaning, considering the fact that Tolman was thrashed in the primary battle. “I should show up,’’ he said. “I told him to get into the race.”


Who’s running New York? People from Boston

New York has traditionally poached from Boston. Think about ballplayers who have sold their red socks for pinstripes: Babe Ruth, Wade Boggs, Johnny Damon, Jacoby Ellsbury. Who needs a farm team when Boston has talent to spare?

Same goes for politics, which is why it was no surprise that Thomas G. Snyder, a veteran of Boston City Hall, was tapped to be New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new chief of staff. In the 1990s, Snyder worked for former Boston mayor Raymond L. Flynn.

Here’s a joke they don’t have the humility to tell in the Big Apple: What does it take to be mayor of New York City? It starts with growing up in Greater Boston. So far this century, New York has yet to elect a locally born-and-bred mayor. De Blasio grew up in Cambridge, and former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was born in Boston and reared in Medford.

Some have noticed the trend. New York Magazine published an item with the headline, “NYC Now Run Almost Entirely by People From Massachusetts (Ew).” The article noted that Police Commissioner Bill Bratton came from Boston and at least two other de Blasio staffers spent time in Beantown attending a little college in Cambridge.


It all makes sense to Flynn, the former Boston mayor. This was the first port of call coming from Europe. “The country started here,” Flynn said. “History started here. Everything started here.”

Boston remains the Hub of the Universe. No matter whom the Yankees steal.


Not in Kansas anymore

There must be something about alliterative Republicans and their appeal over on New Chardon Street.

O’Neill and Associates, the heavily Democratic public affairs firm based in Boston, is adding to its GOP ranks by bringing on board former Kansas Republican congressman Todd Tiahrt, executives confirmed to the Globe this week.

Of course, the firm, run by former lieutenant governor Thomas P. O’Neill III, already has a “double T” Republican, former Romney administration budget chief Thomas Trimarco. But Trimarco notably endorsed Barack Obama after the 2008 GOP primary.

Tiahrt is not as enamored of the president. During a 2009 House floor speech laying out his opposition to taxpayer-funded abortions, he suggested the president’s mother might have undergone one had the policy existed when she was pregnant with the future 44th president.

“If that financial incentive was in place, is it possible that his mother may have taken advantage of it?” he said, then went on to ponder whether Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s mother might have opted for the same.

A former member of the House Appropriations Committee, Tiahrt ran for the Senate in 2010 and lost in the primary to eventual victor Jerry Moran. Last year, Tiahrt challenged US Representative Mike Pompeo for his former Kansas House seat, also losing the primary.


In an e-mailed statement, the firm said, “O’Neill and Associates’ Washington, D.C., office includes employees from both sides of the political aisle with deep experience in fields ranging from aviation, technology, development, organized labor, health care and education.”

O’Neill also employs a former Tiahrt aide, AmyClaire Brusch, as part of its federal relations practice.


An early vote for O’Malley

Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone may have been Ready For Hillary in 2008, but that was before former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley came along.

On Tuesday, Curtatone traveled to New Hampshire to see O’Malley test the waters on a run for president, and he liked what he saw.

“I am a fan of Hillary,” said Curtatone, who supported Clinton over Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary. “But I think we are at a time in this country where we need results-oriented, visionary leaders, and he has gotten it done. It is that new dynamic and fresh leadership we need.”

While a poll released that day showed that only 1 percent of likely New Hampshire Democratic voters support O’Malley, Curtatone said he modeled a lot of what he has done in Somerville on what O’Malley did when he was mayor of Baltimore.

“I have known him personally since 2003, and he has been a huge help to me,” Curtatone said. “I am happy to be with him now.”


More Yeats for Baker

“The world is full of magic things,” wrote William Butler Yeats. For Governor Charlie Baker, the office is full of Yeats.

A day after receiving from Senate President Stanley Rosenberg a framed copy of the Irish poet’s “The Fisherman,” a reference to Baker’s dramatic and not-quite-substantiated tale of meeting a New Bedford fisherman, the governor met at the State House with Irish Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Joan Burton. Among the ceremonial gifts exchanged, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting, was a book of Yeats poems that Burton gave Baker.

In return, Baker presented his guest with an inaugural glass bowl.


New e-newsletter at City Hall

Boston’s digital maven Lauren Lockwood is putting a modern stamp on a paper relic that used to be the city’s newsletter.

Call it e-news.

And it’s now targeting your inbox.

Lockwood, the city’s chief digital officer, said the city has chosen to rebrand the old newsletter, which has been dormant for years.

Residents can now subscribe to the new City of Boston e-newsletter, whose aim is to better engage the public, share news and information, and show off the human side of City Hall.

“Everyone thinks of City Hall as a big cement building,’’ Lockwood said. “We . . . want to put a human face to the workings that goes on here.”

To start, Lockwood said, the newsletter was sent to 9,300 people on the old subscription list.

Interested in signing up? Go to http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/subscribe.asp .

Meghan E. IronsMEGHAN E. IRONS