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Janey launches campaign for Roxbury's City Council seat, signatures submitted in District 7

Fifteen candidates vying for signatures, contributions in race for open seat

Yawu Miller | 5/25/2017, 6 a.m.
Long-time Roxbury activist Kim Janey kicked off her campaign for the District 7 City Council seat last week in a ...
District 7 city council candidate Kim Janey outlines her campaign platform during her kick-off in Dudley Square. Banner photo

Long-time Roxbury activist Kim Janey kicked off her campaign for the District 7 City Council seat last week in a Dudley Square event. She and ten others have been certified to appear on the Sept. 26 preliminary ballot in the race to replace Tito Jackson, who is running for mayor.

Surrounded by friends, family members and more than 200 supporters, Janey said growing up in Roxbury and a lifetime of working on civic and educational issues has prepared her for public service.

“I was born at a time when black folks had to fight for a quality education,” she said. “And we’re still in that fight.”

Janey is by some measures the front runner in what has become the most crowded field of Boston’s 2017 election cycle. So far, 15 people declared their candidacy for the seat, which Jackson will vacate in January. Janey leads in fundraising, with more than $36,000 raised so far, and has a core team of seasoned campaign operatives including Deborah Shah, who was campaign manager for Sonia Chang-Diaz’s 2006 upset victory over former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson.

Others who have submitted enough signatures to appear on the ballot are Rufus Faulk, Domonique Williams, Deeqo Jibril, Joao DePina, Brian Keith, Jose Lopez, Roy Owens, Hassan Williams, Steven A. Wise and Charles Clemmons.

Candidates who have pulled nomination papers for the seat include, but at the Banner’s Monday deadline had not submitted signatures include Angelina Camacho, Carlos Henriquez, James Jackson, William D. Krause, Wilson Rodriguez.

Heading toward September

Campaign kick-offs like Janey’s are a sort of show of force during which candidates can demonstrate their ability to muster volunteers and supporters. Janey boasted the endorsement of Second Suffolk District Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, who hosted the event.

“She is the total package,” Chang-Diaz told the audience at Janey’s kick-off. “She has the policy perspective. She has the view from 30,000 feet and she can get down into the weeds.”

Also attending Janey’s kickoff was Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins.

Jibril last month also had a large crowd for her campaign kick-off at Hibernian Hall, with more than 200 supporters, including endorser state Sen. Liz Malia and former City Councilor John Connolly. Keith also officially launched his campaign earlier this month.

There are now 11 candidates officially on the District 7 ballot and another five who have pulled nomination papers but not yet submitted the requisite 200 valid signatures. Additionally, in the mayor’s race there are nine candidates, each of whom must submit 3,000 signatures. So far, only Jackson and Mayor Martin Walsh have met that threshold. Should another candidate do so, triggering a preliminary vote in that race, Sept. 26 could see relatively high turnout. Although there hasn’t been an open-seat District 7 race coinciding with a mayoral preliminary in recent years, in 2013 the District 4 race, in which Charles Yancey fended off challenges from Divo Monteiro, Steven Godfrey and Terrance Williams, induced 9,396 voters to turn out, far more than the 2,129 District 7 voters who turned out for the non-mayoral 2015 preliminary.

The potentially larger universe of voters on Sept. 26 could set a higher bar for contestants seeking to become one of the two names to appear on the Nov. 7 ballot. With more than 9,000 potential voters to target in District 7, a campaign will need to knock on doors of reliable voters and identify potential supporters in the summer months, then phone those voters and turn them out to the polls on Election Day. Reaching those 9,000 potential voters in the 17 weeks between now and Sept. 26 would require some 530 phone calls or door knocks every week.

Managing a team of volunteers to make those contacts often requires paid or committed volunteer staff, including a field manager and/or volunteer coordinator. So far Janey, DePina and Jibril have raised significant funds for their campaigns. Besides Janey’s $36,000, DePina’s war chest had $14,701 as of the May 15 Office of Campaign and Public Finance filing deadline and Jibril’s had 12,501. No other candidate had more than $10,000. Several do not have campaign accounts registered with OCPF.