When the Boston mayoral candidates step to their podiums for Tuesday’s 7 p.m. televised debate, the spotlight for the first time will be on them — and them alone.
While both state Representative Martin J. Walsh and City Councilor John R. Connolly were onstage in the dozens of candidates forums held during the preliminary race, those meetings held a much different dynamic where the hopefuls had little individual speaking time.
As the last ones standing, the general election debates pit Connolly and Walsh in head-to-head matchups that political observers say will be far less forgiving than the crowded forums that occurred nearly daily during the preliminary race.
“This race is very fluid and very volatile,” said Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic strategist in Boston. “That’s where something like a debate — that no one can predict — becomes vital.”
Other than the preliminary race’s sole televised debate, a hectic, 12-candidate forum in which the candidates competed for mere seconds of talking time, neither Walsh nor Connolly has previously appeared in a contest on television.
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