UPDATE: Keeley did not speak Tuesday night. Tuesday’s City Council meeting could be among the shortest in history, with little business to discuss, see agenda here. Mischievous former State Rep. Bob Keeley is listed on the public speaking portion to address “Renaming/defining the City.” Keeley served in the State House for more than two decades until he was knocked off in a 2008 Democratic primary by Auden Grogins, now a judge of the Superior Court.
Keeley also lost two other attempts for a state legislative seat since his 2008 defeat. The ex mayoral candidate is making some noise about organizing City Council challenge slates across the city. Will he oppose Tom McCarthy, if the City Council president seeks another term?
The featured off-cycle municipal contests in 2017 are all 20 City Council seats and six school board positions. The city electorate has embraced an anti-establishment mantra in recent years often eschewing endorsed candidates in favor of challengers in Democratic primaries. The last off-cycle in 2013 saw all endorsed candidates for school board and City Council lanced in primaries. Reformers lamented not challenging more council incumbents in primaries in 2013 given the mood of the electorate.
In recent years the results have run against the grain of traditional low-turnout primaries that tended to favor the “Democratic machine’s” base support. That so-called machine has acted more like a rusted jalopy. Declaring “endorsed Democrat” in phone calls and mailers, in some cases, is like placing a bullseye on forehead depending on the quality of the opposition.
Keeley has a gift for gab that sometimes places him outside the party establishment. If he’s serious about building coalitions a number of council incumbents will need to break in a new pair of sneakers.