Second candidate gets in race to succeed Martin J. Walsh in State House
A Dorchester Vietnamese-American community activist said today he has jumped into the race to succeed mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh as state representative.
Tony T. Dang, an MBTA Transit Police officer, said he believes he would be the first Vietnamese-American to serve as a representative in the Massachusetts State House if he wins.
Dang is the second candidate to file paperwork for a 13th Suffolk District bid with the state’s Office Campaign and Political Finance.
In a telephone interview, Dang, 32, declined to offer many specifics about his campaign — at least until Walsh officially becomes mayor early next month.
“At this time, I’d prefer not to say too much about my decision yet. I want the next couple weeks to be focused on Marty Walsh’s transition,” he said, adding he would kick off his campaign some time after Walsh’s inauguration.
But Dang did offer some details of his biography. He said he grew up Dorchester’s Savin Hill neighborhood, is an alumnus of the Boston Latin School and Norwich University in Vermont, and serves in the US Army Reserve.
Dan Hunt, director of government affairs at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, entered the contest in mid-November.
Hunt said he has been campaigning hard and the entrance of another candidate wouldn’t change his strategy.
“I’m going to continue to spend time talking to voters,” Hunt said. “I’ll talk to whoever will listen and listen to whoever will talk to me.”
The district includes a diverse swath of Dorchester, from near the JFK/UMass MBTA station to Walsh’s home base of Savin Hill to the Neponset neighborhood. It also includes a tiny part of Quincy, across the Neponset River.
Former state representative James T. Brett, whom Walsh succeeded in 1997, said he expected the field of contenders to expand in one of Boston’s most politically active neighborhoods.
“Would I expect other candidates to emerge? Yeah, I would,” he said.
But Brett, who is unaligned in the race, said Hunt had already begun to lock up support in the district.
“I think that’s going to give him a leg up on other candidates who are still thinking about getting in,” Brett said.
Both Dang and Hunt are Democrats and the winner of that party’s primary will be the heavy favorite to win the seat.
Aides say Walsh will not endorse in this State House race.
The mayor-elect is set to officially resign as a representative on Jan. 3. When that happens, the Massachusetts House of Representatives, in consultation with the secretary of state, will decide whether and when to hold a special election.
Walsh beat John R. Connolly in November’s mayoral contest to succeed Thomas M. Menino.Joshua Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.