By Scott Malone
BOSTON | Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:19pm EST
(Reuters) - A Boston city councilor and education advocate became the first candidate to launch a campaign for mayor this year, which could potentially pit him against Thomas Menino, the longest-serving mayor in city history.
John Connolly, a former school teacher, would likely face an uphill fight if Menino, 70, seeks a sixth term in the office he has held since 1993. Both are Democrats.
Menino has not yet declared whether he will run again after a month-long hospitalization late last year related to a virus he contracted while on vacation in Italy.
Connolly, 39, said in a posting on his website that his focus as mayor would be improving the city's school system.