Tradition lived on this year even as Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast moved online amid the pandemic, with politicians trading digs and making uncomfortable references to who may — or may not — be running in upcoming elections.
“I’m pleased to be part of your campaign to kick off your race for mayor,” Gov. Charlie Baker said, leading into a long awkward pause as Sen. Nick Collins welcomed him to the virtual event.
The South Boston Democrat has hosted the breakfast for several years and is rumored to be considering a bid for mayor in November, with soon-to-be Labor Secretary Martin Walsh likely headed to Washington later this week.
It was the first barb of many aimed at declared and undeclared candidates alike. Collins made it through the two-hour program without revealing his November plans.
The mayoral hopefuls were on full display, with City Councilor Michelle Wu stealing the show with her video poking fun at Walsh’s faux pas last year when he revealed she would be challenging him before she could even announce her own candidacy.
Mayoral candidates Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi-George, state Rep. Jon Santiago and former city economic development chief John Barros all chimed in.
Maura Healey gave a nod to rumors she might throw her hat in the ring in next year’s governor’s race. She said she’s “exploring” her artistic side and “running” a lot more and “planning” a run along the Charles later this weekend.
The breakfast blarney special even featured a cameo of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s beloved dog, Bailey.
“Most of all, I’ll miss Marty Walsh, because he’s a hotshot now and doesn’t need to suck up to us,” Warren said.
“That’s a nice condo Senator, I think you might want to reconsider that 2% wealth tax,” Collins quipped as the video panned back to Collin’s living room — referencing Warren’s proposed tax on ultra-millionaires.
Walsh used his time to lend some “advice” to candidates. “Save that one puff piece from the Globe … because it’s the last good story you’ll ever get.”
President Biden even popped in with an ode to his Irish heritage.
In a nod of support to businesses hard-hit by pandemic restrictions, Collins this year partnered with the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, encouraging viewers to “bring your own breakfast.” Typically the in-person breakfasts feeds about 1,000 people.
“We’re encouraging support of our restaurants this year, having a place that you can go to get some quality take out, nourish your family, enjoying a meal and supporting your local businesses,” Collins said.