That top tier consists of Golar Richie, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, Massachusetts state representative Martin Walsh (who has been endorsed by the Irish Voice) and at large Boston City Councillor John Connolly.
A constant in the polls is that Connolly is out in front and is the choice of approximately 16% of the vote. He was the other candidate to receive a Boston Globe endorsement. He announced his mayoral candidacy even before Mayor Menino decided he wouldn’t seek an unprecedented sixth term in office. Connolly has stressed the importance of education and draws support from similarly concerned parents throughout the city. He is popular with longtime residents and newcomers alike. Most observers expect that he will progress to the final election.
A consistent trend in the polls is that Golar Richie and Conley are the outliers in the top tier; they’re polling between 8% and 12%. To make the final, Golar Richie will be depending on a large turnout of African Americans and on women voters to seize the opportunity to select the first female mayor. Conley, the most well-funded candidate, will be hoping that his track record as a prosecutor and hard line on crime, as well as his many television ads, will sway voters to his side.
Walsh, whose standing at 12% has remained almost unchanged from the first poll to the most recent, will be depending on his huge cadre of 1,500+ campaign volunteers and unmatched ground game to get out the vote on Tuesday. He has a very effective new television ad that speaks not only to his base of long time Boston residents – in Dorchester and South Boston and throughout the city – and union and blue collar workers, but also to voters of colour.
If I had to bet on the outcome, I would say that John Connolly and Martin Walsh will be the two candidates selected by voters on Tuesday to contest the final election on November 5th. Yet there are many variables at work in a very different Boston. Two things I can say for certain. First is that all the candidates deserve a lot of credit for articulating their visions, for working so hard to engage residents of a city they clearly love and for breathing new life into Boston politics. Regardless of the outcome, I hope none of them go away. Second is that I have a very long night ahead here in Galway – one eye on Boston news websites, one eye on Twitter, one ear on the phone – on Tuesday. I look forward to it with bated breath.