City Limits: Meet Boston’s 2013 Mayoral Candidates

As candidates scramble for votes in the first wide-open mayoral election in decades, a transformed Boston begins to emerge.


On the morning of June 5, Charlotte Golar Richie attended an eight-candidate forum on development at the Boston Society of Architects. Just before it began, she tweeted out a picture of the group with the message, “Sharing the stage with the 7 other male candidates in the race at the BSA Mayoral Forum this morning.”

That’s right: Somehow, in the year 2013, she is the only female candidate.

Later that day, at a restaurant event for members of the senior LGBT community, held at Venezia, on the Dorchester waterfront, I mentioned the tweet to her. The smile dropped from her face. “I think that we probably have still some work to do to encourage more women to run for elective office,” she replied. Truthfully, I felt a little bad leading with the “women do” angle—the 54-year-old Richie has a wealth of experience as a state representative, working for the Menino and Patrick administrations, and now in the nonprofit world working for YouthBuild USA. There have been whispers that she is among Menino’s top choices to follow him, and followers of the campaign’s inside baseball have noted the many Menino-connected pols rallying to her side.

Still, she brought the gender issue up when she sent that tweet. I asked her if she’s sick of talking about it.

“I’ve been a woman all my life,” she said. “I’m kind of used to it. I’ve been both black and a woman. Used to both. You could even say, ‘What is it like being the tallest candidate?’ How about that?”

Okay, let’s move on to other categories in which she’s an outlier: Despite her insider support, when we talked she had raised just $27,000, by far the least of any major candidate. As of press time, she was the only major candidate who had yet to host a big, flashy campaign kickoff event, and although she sparkled on paper, it looked like she was still trying to get her form back on pavement. Given her obvious appeal to women voters, though, there may still be time to recover. An encouraging sign emerged a few weeks after we met: The size of her war chest had risen to $100,000—a major improvement, but one that also still left her at the back of the pack. “We’re just getting started,” she told me, “so we’ll see.”

Next: Bill Walczak »