On paper, at least, there are no duds among the 10 mayoral hopefuls who squared off at two significant candidate forums in Boston on Wednesday. But there are sharp differences in their levels of preparedness for this race. It is already clear that Boston City Councilors John Connolly and Michael Ross have powerful grasps on major policy issues and aren’t afraid to throw some elbows. Former state representative Charlotte Golar Richie is totally rusty. Construction executive Bill Walczak, who hopes to emerge as the business candidate, is floundering in the fast-moving political waters. And Dorchester state Representative Martin Walsh appeared to be over his head when discussing education policies.
It’s a short race to the Sept. 24 primary, when the top two vote-getters will be chosen for the November runoff. Voter interest may wane over the summer. So the early performances meant something. It’s not every day that the candidates get a chance to impress the urbanist crowd from the Boston Society of Architects — the host of the morning forum — or make their case to an overflow crowd of about 600 at an evening forum sponsored by the hardcore education reformers from Stand for Children.