The base for the District 8 City Council seat is moving out of Mission Hill to the Back Bay, after Josh Zakim defeated Michael Nichols on Nov. 5. Zakim, a Back Bay resident, garnered 53 percent of voters, or 4,485 votes, while Nichols received 47 percent.
Mike Ross, who currently holds the seat and lives on Mission Hill, gave up a chance at reelection for a failed bid for mayor.
“I think talking to voters face-to-face, on their doorsteps or at events and listening to their concerns while discussing my experiences working for the community throughout my career was the key to our success on Election Day,” said Zakim in an email to the Gazette.
For Nichols, the election came down to the wallet. He said Zakim banked $140,000 more than he did in campaign contributions, and that does not include about $6,000 from outside groups. Nichols noted that because he is a public employee— he is the research director for the City Council—he was unable to fundraise directly.
“While our campaign made major headway to close a 17-point deficit from the preliminary election to 5.5 percent on Nov. 5, we would have likely needed more resources or more time to make up the remaining ground,” said Nichols in an email to the Gazette.
Although he lost the district-wide vote, Nichols did manage to win on Mission Hill, garnering 909 votes to Zakim’s 707.
“Mission Hill became a second home to me in many ways and I believe my willingness to speak plainly and honestly to the institutional expansion problem facing Mission Hill is what earned me the respect and vote of so many Mission Hill residents,” he said.
Zakim said he respects the “tough decision” voters had to make in the election and looks forward to “connecting personally with the residents of Mission Hill.” He said it’s a twofold process to connect with the Mission Hill community: be a strong advocate for the neighborhood on the council and make sure residents receive prompt and efficient constituent services.
“Our campaign headquarters was in Mission Hill and that enabled us to develop personal ties with many local activists and neighbors,” said Zakim. “I will continue cultivating these relationships by talking in person with as many neighborhood leaders as possible, attending community and civic group meetings, and holding regular local office hours.”
Asked if he would move to Mission Hill like Ross, a former Beacon Hill resident, did after he was elected, Zakim replied, “I just purchased a home in the Back Bay a couple years ago and am very happy there. But I would never say never about a future move. Mission Hill is a great place to live.”