As insurgents seek candidates to take on City Council incumbents this year, one-time 2011 mayoral candidate John Gomes says he will not be among the challengers. He says he’s considering another mayoral run in 2015.
“I don’t have any thoughts on running for city council,” Gomes wrote to OIB in response to a text about his potential interest in running for a legislative seat. “I believe that the change and direction this city needs will begin only when a person is elected to the Mayor’s Office whose intention is to represent the peoples interests and to restructure city government.”
Gomes had served in the administration of Mayor Bill Finch as a deputy chief administrative officer. A falling-out with the mayor over administration policies forced him from his public position. He entered the 2011 race for mayor early, but had trouble raising money and resonating in OIB polls. He dropped out of the race for mayor and threw his support to Mary-Jane Foster who lost to Finch in a September 2011 Democratic primary.
Gomes has not gone away. He has been present at a number of public forums regarding city finances, services and law-enforcement issues. Seeking and winning a City Council seat could have provided a platform for government reform as well as raising questions about city budget concerns in an effort to lift name recognition and potential for leveraging financial support for a mayoral run.
Finch will be well financed for a reelection bid in 2015. The power of incumbency has its advantages. Gomes, barring a rich uncle, has not yet shown he can raise the dollars necessary for a competitive Democratic primary run, something Foster has shown. She spent roughly $200,000 in the mayoral primary but was still outspent by Finch by roughly two to one. It’s difficult to raise money without a core constituency and a regional fundraising operation. Nothing has changed to suggest Gomes can raise the money necessary to be relevant in a mayoral race.
To Gomes’ credit he has remained fairly visible, but that will not translate into a fundraising operation without a regular public platform. Candidates stepping up for a mayoral run–barring something dramatic–cannot afford to wait until 2015 to wage a competitive race. That process must start in earnest in 2014.
Foster herself has not ruled out another run for mayor. When she launched her campaign in early 2011 she was largely unknown outside of her home neighborhood Black Rock, but still managed 43 percent of the vote on the machines in the mayoral primary even though outspent by roughly two to one. That showing provides her a foundation to wage another run depending on what develops for Finch in the next year.
If the city experiences several economic development successes and stabilized taxes leading into the next mayoral cycle, Finch will be difficult to take out. If Finch experiences more tax increases, economic malaise and additional fallout from the controversy involving the dubious $400,000 driveway for the politically connected Manny Moutinho that led to the grounding of Airport Manager John Ricci, it means game on–depending on the chief opponent.