A 16th candidate, Robert Cappucci, says he has gathered enough signatures to run for mayor

Retired police officer Robert Cappucci said Wednesday he has gathered more than 4,000 signatures to support his bid for mayor of Boston, making him the 16th potential candidate.

The 68-year-old Cappucci has lived in East Boston his entire life, he said. Before joining the police department, Cappucci was elected to two terms on the School Committee and served until 1991. He lost his seat when the committee was changed from an elected body to an appointed board.

Cappucci’s father served in the state Legislature from 1936 to 1948, and the son longed to follow in his dad’s footsteps.

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“I always wanted a political career, and it was cut short when they abolished the School Committee,” Cappucci said when asked why he wanted to run for mayor.

Cappucci decided to attempt a political comeback when Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced he would not seek a sixth term, triggering the first open mayor’s race in a generation.

“I looked at this opportunity, and I thought I’d give this a try,” Cappucci said. “I’m Catholic and you are supposed to love thy neighbor, and I think it’s an opportunity to serve people.”

Mayoral hopefuls faced a 5 p.m. deadline Tuesday to submit signatures from 3,000 registered voters to qualify for the ballot.

Election officials must now count and verify the signatures gathered by Cappucci and the other candidates. Each name will be matched against the state’s voting database and checked off as it is credited to a campaign. If a voter signed nomination papers of several mayoral candidates, only one signature counts—the first submitted to City Hall. The signature review, which must be completed by June 25, could disqualify some of the 16 candidates who filed nomination papers.

By Wednesday afternoon, three candidates had enough signatures tallied by election officials to make the ballot: state Representative Martin J. Walsh, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, and Councilor at Large John R. Connolly. The Election Commission must still certify the final count.

Cappucci said he was waiting until he was certified for the ballot before he forms a political committee and opens a fund-raising account registered with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance. He said 72 volunteers helped gather 4,424 signatures.

“They did a heck of a job,” Cappucci said.

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