Rep. Birmingham and other Democrats in the House pushed for a bill that would provide for primary elections for Boston mayoral and city council candidates, but the bill was defeated in the House by a vote of 80 to 113 on April 14, according got the Boston Post, Boston Herald, and Boston Globe newspapers, April 15, 1930 (JMC Scrapbooks, Vol 21, p. 147, 153).
Rep. Martin Hays, a Republican from Brighton, faced off against Birmingham, his fellow Brightonian, over the measure. Hays said that the bill was a ploy by the Democrats to ensure that the mayor and city council would always be Democrats. He stressed that if the measure should become law, there would never again be a Republican mayor of Boston.
Rep. Eliot Wadsworth of Back Bay agreed, saying the bill, if enacted, would leave it up to the Democratic Party to say who would be mayor.
Birmingham charged that opponents of the bill were “very friendly with Mr. Innes, the gentleman, who four years ago engineered the election of Mr. Nichols.”
Malcolm Nichols was a Republican who was elected Boston mayor for two terms, serving from 1926 to 1930. He beat Democratic mayor James M. Curley in 1925 to become mayor and then was defeated by Curley in 1929. Nichols was the first Republican mayor of Boston since 1910, and he would be the last Republican mayor of Boston to the present.