Is Mayor Thomas M. Menino backing someone to succeed him? Tea leaves are being read

Mayor Thomas M. Menino seemed to throw his support this week behind Charlotte Golar Richie, saying her election as Boston’s first female mayor would be national news.

That sounds like an endorsement, right?

But Menino’s political committee just donated $100 to the mayoral campaign of City Councilor Rob Consalvo. Does that mean Menino is lining up behind his close friend from Hyde Park?

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But wait, there’s more.

Before Menino announced he would not seek a sixth term, he lent a hand to another old friend from Hyde Park, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, who is also running for mayor. Menino had Conley introduce him at an annual breakfast fund-raiser in March. Conley referred to Menino as a “second father” with much of the mayor’s vaunted political organization waiting in the audience.

To be fair, Menino loyalists are working for all three campaigns. And if you look harder, you could find Menino people helping other campaigns. So what is Menino doing? Did he endorse Golar Richie?

“No,” Menino told the Globe Tuesday. “Like I’ve said from day one, I’m not getting involved. I’m not getting involved unless [the candidates] trash the city.”

What about the $100 donation to Consalvo?

“I didn’t even know about that,” Menino said. “It was my treasurer.”

In an interview Monday with the Boston’s Herald new web-based radio station, Menino made note of Golar Richie.

“She’s a person of color [and] a woman,” Menino said. “The first woman elected mayor of the city of Boston, that would be national news.”

The Herald asked if that was an endorsement.

“No. No. No,” Menino said Monday. “I’m away from this campaign. I’m a statesman now.”

Boston has struggled mightily with race relations in its history and it remains one of the few large American cities that has had only white, non-Hispanic men serve as mayor. So, it would also be national news if the next mayor were City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo, John F. Barros, Charles C. Clemons Jr., Davis James Wyatt, or City Councilor Charles C. Yancey.

They are all people of color. And they would all represent a first in Boston’s history.