With the pristine steeple of the First Parish Church rising behind her, and yellow and orange leaves of autumn falling from above, former state representative Charlotte Golar Richie ended the wait.
Surrounded by supporters, the third-place finisher in the Sept. 24 preliminary election for Boston mayor, and the sole female candidate in the race, cast her support behind state Representative Martin J. Walsh. The endorsement was one of the most coveted in the race, coming about three weeks before Boston will choose its first new mayor in 20 years.
“This is a great day for Dorchester and a great day for Boston,” Golar Richie said. “We’re going to elect Marty Walsh mayor of Boston.”
In a mayoral final contested by two Irish-American men, although six candidates of color ran, Walsh has now secured the backing of the three most prominent minority candidates from the preliminary election field: Golar Richie, City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo, and former School Committee member John Barros.
“It feels like the band is back together,” Walsh said, flanked by all three. “This is much more than an endorsement.”
Both Walsh and his opponent, City Councilor John R. Connolly, had aggressively courted Golar Richie, who kept her final decision close to the vest until just hours before her announcement.
“I wanted to make sure that my endorsement was not just a leap of faith,” she said.
Some close supporters said as late as Thursday that it was unclear if she would endorse at all. But Golar Richie made up her mind Friday, calling Walsh around 9:30 p.m. and telling him that he had her support.
“During my campaign for mayor, I talked about the tale of two cities . . . of the haves and have nots.” Golar Richie said. “I’m convinced that Marty understands the struggles of working people because he has lived through it.”
Speaking over the cheers of dozens of supporters, Golar Richie delivered an impassioned speech in which she praised Walsh’s commitment to diversity in his administration, his ability to work and negotiate with labor unions, and his understanding of what it takes to improve public safety and education.
She added that Walsh had committed to installing a cabinet that is at least 50 percent people of color, and ensuring that minorities and women are among the top ranks of the Boston Police Department.
Just an hour later, Golar Richie was again standing next to Walsh — this time in Dudley Square — as he was endorsed by several minority groups, including ¿Oíste?, the Chinese Progressive Political Action, and Right to the City Vote!
Saturday’s endorsements came as both candidates double down in communities of color, which could be kingmakers in the general election.
Earlier this week Connolly was endorsed by more than a dozen black clergy members, and he has spent a significant chunk of time stumping in Roxbury since the preliminary election.
The clergy members, as well as Golar Richie, Barros, and Arroyo stressed that they plan to actively canvass for their respective candidates — which both campaigns hope will make the difference come November.