Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — A measure aimed at eliminating the need for a special election in Boston if Mayor Marty Walsh steps down to become President Joe Biden’s labor secretary was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday.

The home rule petition, which was approved by the Boston City Council and state lawmakers, aims to avoid the need to conduct a special election just months before holding the regular municipal election in the fall.

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Both the special election and regular municipal election would have required holding preliminary and general elections — essentially four elections in Boston in the space of less than a year.

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If Walsh is confirmed and steps down, current City Council President Kim Janey will assume the role of interim mayor until the fall election. She will be the first woman and first Black Bostonian to serve as mayor.

There are four declared candidates for the top City Hall post, including three women of color who are also all city councilors: Michelle Wu, Andrea Campbell and Annissa Essaibi George, and Democratic state Rep. Jon Santiago, who is Latino.

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No woman and no person of color has served as mayor of Boston in the city’s long history.