Boston Police Commissioner William Gross would face formidable challenges if he runs for mayor, testing anti-police sentiment that could prevent him from winning progressive votes, says Boston Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld. Gross is seriously considering a run to replace Marty Walsh, who is being nominated by President-elect Joe Biden as Labor Secretary. but he doesn’t sound like he’s there yet. “Whether it’s me or not, we need to work on healing this city,” Gross said.
Though the popular Gross sounds like a good candidate on paper — vying to become the first black mayor in the city’s history — this would clearly be no cakewalk, Battenfeld says. His police record will be heavily scrutinized, dating back decades. Every police misconduct case he may have had jurisdiction over will be reviewed. His decision to meet with Attorney General William Barr, which drew outrage, may be a non-starter for progressive voters. No Boston police commissioner has ever won the mayor’s office. The last one who tried was the late Francis “Mickey” Roache, who ran in 1993 and received just three percent of the vote. Among the reasons why Gross doesn’t make for an ideal mayoral candidate: Gross will face a huge obstacle in convincing voters who don’t want a law and order mayor that they should support him. Gross is also behind in fund raising, faces female candidates, and might have to take a leave of absence if he runs. Also, Gross would have a tough time convincing voters he’s not a single issue candidate, Battenfeld writes.