Connolly Falls Short
By Grace Wilson and Mikaela Lefrak
BU News Service
BOSTON — John Connolly fell short Tuesday in his bid to become the first new mayor of Boston in 20 years. The race was tight with the candidates nearly tied shortly after the polls closed, but in the end Marty Walsh edged past Connolly 52-48 percent.
The day before the election, polls had shown Walsh with a tentative lead, which the Connolly campaign had hoped to erase through last-minute efforts to get out the vote among supporters. Volunteers worked until polling stations shut off their ballot machines at 8 P.M.
“We’ve made phone calls and knocked on a lot of doors,” said Krishna Ghodiwala, a Deputy Field Director who was overseeing a dozen phone-banking volunteers about an hour before polls closed. “I’m very tired,” she said.
By 8 o’clock, a crowd had gathered at the Westin Copley Hotel for the Connolly campaign celebration. As the final numbers began to come in a little after 9 o’clock, many were having trouble accepting their candidate’s defeat.
Melina Munoa said she was shocked Connolly hadn’t won. “John just has such passion that I’ve seen firsthand, and I really admire that,” she said. Though disappointed, she is hopeful. “Marty will be a wonderful mayor, [but] John was my guy, I really believed in him.” Regardless, Munoa is excited to have a new mayor in Boston. “I’m looking forward to a new face in City Hall.”
Although supporters hoped that the tight race would swing in Connolly’s favor, the numbers stayed put, and at 9:35 P.M. he took to the stage to concede. Many in the crowd were tearful, but applause and shouts of thanks regularly erupted throughout his 10-minute speech.
Connolly thanked the staff, volunteers, and supporters that made up the noticeably diverse audience. “I’m looking across a room that looks like the entire city of Boston,” he said. “I thank the moms, the ministers, the young professionals, the empty nesters, the seniors.”
Of the evening’s victor, Connolly said, “I have known Marty Walsh for 18 years. He wants to do good things for Boston, and he will do good things for Boston. And he has my full support.”
Connolly also reiterated his core message of education reform and gave special thanks to the children who supported him, including his own.
“It’s tough on a family,” he acknowledged. “My Teddy told me he wanted to vote for me and Marty Walsh. I think that’s his way of saying he wanted me at home a little more.”
Though a devoted fan of Connolly, Jim Sweeney, of West Roxbury, maintained a positive outlook on Walsh’s victory. “I’m sure Marty will a do a fine job. I expect and hope Connolly will continue to be in a leadership position in the city.”