Boston City Councilors Ricardo Arroyo and Kendra Lara lose preliminary elections in wake of scandals

The District 5 and 6 councilors are the first incumbents to lose a preliminary election in at least four decades.

Ricardo Arroyo and Kendra Lara both lost their preliminary elections for Boston City Council Tuesday night. The Boston Globe

In a firm rebuke of two legislators whose progressive records have been marred by scandal, Boston City Councilors Riccardo Arroyo and Kendra Lara lost the preliminary elections for their seats Tuesday.

The Sept. 12 preliminary elections determined which candidates would move on to the Nov. 7 general election, with the top two vote-getters making the next ballot.

In District 5, Arroyo’s district, former Boston official Enrique Pepén garnered the most support with over 40% of the vote, followed by Boston Police Officer José Ruiz, who raked in over 30%, according to unofficial election results. Arroyo came in third with over 18% of the vote.


In District 6, Lara’s district, labor lawyer Ben Weber came out on top with over 42% of the vote, followed by an IT director William King who came in second with over 37% of the vote, according to the unofficial results. Lara finished third with over 20% of the vote. 

District 7 City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson, who admitted to an ethics violation over the summer, finished the preliminary election Tuesday night with a distinguished lead over her challengers, according to the unofficial results.

Arroyo and Lara concede

Both Lara, a first-term councilor from Jamaica Plain, and Arroyo, a second-term councilor from Hyde Park, conceded their races at their election night parties Tuesday night, The Boston Globe reported. They are the first incumbents to be knocked out of the race during a preliminary election in at least four decades.

“When you fight the system, sometimes the system fights back, and today we lost this battle,” Lara said Tuesday night, according to Politico reporter Lisa Kashinsky.

“I want to thank my parents who have watched me relentlessly be attacked, up to and including last night,” Arroyo said Tuesday night. “It’s been a rough 12 months.”

District 6 includes Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, and parts of Mission Hill and Roslindale. District 5 is made up of Hyde Park and parts of Mattapan and Roslindale.

Arroyo and Lara’s scandals

In June, Arroyo was fined $3,000 by the State Ethics Commission for representing his brother in a sexual harassment lawsuit after joining the Boston City Council. This was the third scandal for Arroyo. Past sexual assault investigations involving Arroyo were revealed last summer — regarding accusations he has denied and was never charged for. He subsequently lost his bid to be the next Suffolk County district attorney.


Arroyo’s second scandal played out in May 2023 when federal authorities released reports alleging that then-U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins abused her office by working on Arroyo’s behalf during that district attorney’s election.

Lara’s troubles came in June when she crashed someone else’s car into a Jamaica Plain house while her son was in the back seat. Her son was injured, and Boston police charged her with several offenses, including negligent operation and assault and battery on a child with injury. They also accused her of driving at least 53 mph in a 25 mph zone, a claim which she now disputes.

Lara apologized for the incident and pleaded not guilty to the charges, but the incident revealed that she’d been without a driver’s license for years and had been driving to City Hall while serving as a councilor. Lara faced backlash from several other city councilors for this, including one who called for her resignation.

The candidates still in the running

District 5

Enrique Pepén is a Roslindale resident and the former executive director of Boston Neighborhood Services. His key issues are affordable housing, public education, public safety, and environmental justice. During this election cycle, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu chose to endorse him instead of Arrroyo, who she previously endorsed.


José Ruis is a Hyde Park resident and 30-year Boston police officer. His issues of focus are public safety, affordable housing, constituent services, and public education. He was endorsed by former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

District 6

Ben Weber is a Jamaica Plain progressive who works at the high-profile class action law firm Lichten & Liss-Riordan. His campaign has focused on education equity, protecting workers’ rights, and making housing in Boston affordable. Weber was endorsed by the Globe and had outraised Lara by the end July.

William King is a more moderate West Roxbury resident who works at a local conservation non-profit. As a councilor, he said previously, he’d work to make Boston more affordable, improve city schools, and invest in green infrastructure. He has unsuccessfully run for an at-large seat on the council twice before.


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