Transgender Conservative Althea Garrison To Run For Mayor In Boston Next Year

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You won’t see Althea Garrison on the ballot this year.

So is the perennial candidate done with politics?


The former state representative and Boston City Councilor has bigger plans than yet another run for state representative.

Garrison, 83, plans to run for mayor of Boston in 2025 — hence no run for state representative this year.

“The reason I’m not running for state rep is because I’m taking the mayor’s race very seriously,” Garrison told CommonWealth Beacon. “I decided I was going to spend my energy running for mayor.”

Garrison, 83, is a male who identifies as a woman — and a conservative. A registered Democrat, Garrison is pro-life, supports the police, and backed former President Donald Trump. Garrison was the first publicly known openly transgender member of a state legislature in American history. However, Garrison has consistently declined to speak publicly about it.

Often referred to as a perennial candidate, Garrison has frequently run for various offices since the 1960s. Garrison has run in the past as a Democrat, a Republican, and an independent. Yet, Garrison’s lone outright victory came in 1992 — as a Republican.

That year, running as a Republican for state representative in the Fifth Suffolk District, Garrison defeated Democrat Irene Roman in the general election; Garrison received 54.9 percent of the vote and Roman got 45.0 percent. Garrison challenged some of the signatures incumbent Democrat Nelson Merced used to get on the Democratic primary ballot and got the incumbent knocked off the ballot that year — which is why Roman was the Democratic nominee.

Outed by The Boston Herald as transgender shortly after winning the election in 1992, Garrison lost the 1994 re-election bid. Garrison received 45.1 percent of the vote while Charlotte Golar Richie, a Democrat, got 54.9 percent of the vote.

Additionally, Garrison served as a Boston city councilor in 2019 despite not winning an election for the position.  Garrison finished in a distant fifth place out of eight candidates in the 2017 Boston City Council at-large race, receiving 18,253 votes. The fourth-place finisher, former councilor Annissa Essaibi George, got 45,564 votes.

However, Garrison got in thanks to current U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Hyde Park). After Pressley defeated former U.S. Representative Michael Capuano (D-Somerville) in the 2018 Democratic primary in the state’s Seventh Congressional District and cruised to an unopposed victory in the November general election, Pressley resigned from the city council. The rules stated that the person with the next highest vote total in the race would fill the term. In this case, it was Garrison, who despite having ideological differences with Pressley, campaigned for her, as WBUR reported.

Garrison unsuccessfully sought re-election for city council in 2019 but placed seventh among eight candidates; Garrison received 16,189 votes, while the fourth-place finisher, councilor Julia Mejia, got 22,492 votes. The top four won seats on the council.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu will likely pursue re-election and draw more challengers. However, incumbent mayors typically win their re-election bids in Boston. 

Garrison could not be reached for comment on Sunday or Monday.


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