Here’s what’s happening with Ayanna Pressley’s Boston City Council seat

Perennial candidate Althea Garrison has first dibs.

Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., gives her victory speech during an election night watch party in Boston, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Ayanna Pressley gives her victory speech Tuesday. –Michael Dwyer / AP

A gap of over 27,000 votes stood between Althea Garrison, the fifth-place finisher for an at-large seat on the Boston City Council during the 2017 elections, and the fourth top-vote-getter, Annissa George, who became a councilor. 

But that doesn’t matter now.

As Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who finished second in that eight-way race, prepares to move on to Congress, her seat goes to the first runner-up. 

That person is Garrison, 78, a perennial candidate who has run many campaigns over the years, as reported by The Boston Globe.

“I know that she has indicated interest,” Boston City Clerk Maureen Feeney said of Garrison on Wednesday.


Garrison, a Dorchester resident, told the Globe she was looking forward to serving on the council the day after Pressley’s Democratic primary win in September made her the presumptive winner in the uncontested general election race.

Althea Garrison. —The Boston Globe, File

“It’s what I always wanted — that’s why I ran,” she said, adding that affordable housing and services for seniors and veterans would be some of her core issues.

Garrison could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday. Her debut on the council hinges on when Pressley decides to step down.

“We have to wait until we hear from Councilor Pressley,” Feeney said.

Jan. 1 marks the second year of Pressley’s current two-year term on the council — the governing body is set to face voters again in fall 2019 for a new term to begin in 2020. As an at-large councilor, Garrison would complete Pressley’s term. Councilors make roughly $100,000 per year, according to the Globe.

The last time Garrison held office was after the 1992 elections, when she ran for a state representative seat as a Republican. Incumbent Democrat Nelson Merced’s name didn’t appear on the ballot because he didn’t turn in the proper paperwork, and Garrison slid into victory, the Globe reported. Garrison was in the State House for two years.


Since then, she’s crossed party lines and run for various offices — state representative, city councilor, and mayor. She’s come up short each time.

Just this week, as Pressley ran unopposed for the 7th Congressional District seat, Garrison ran as an Independent for state representative of the 5th Suffolk District. It was a lopsided loss with Garrison only picking up 10.9 percent of the vote compared to winner Liz Miranda’s 89.1 percent.


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