The Boston mayoral campaign, marked during the preliminary election by a notable civility among its 12 contestants, has turned caustic in the race’s closing weeks, with phone calls floating negative messages against state Representative Martin J. Walsh hitting voters’ phones this week.
Those calls, which have been tied to a company with connections to Councilor at Large John R. Connolly, follow at least two negative fliers denouncing Connolly that were sent out by unions that support Walsh.
On Wednesday night, an unknown number of Boston voters received calls from interviewers who identified themselves as employees of BR Interviewing, according to multiple recipients. The calls raised questions about Walsh’s progressive credentials and his financial ties to labor unions. They asked recipients whether their votes would be affected if they learned that Walsh had filed legislation hurting the city’s finances, without specifying which bills were being discussed.
They also pointed to Walsh’s past participation in the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade, which does not allow groups supporting gay rights to march. Both Walsh and Connolly previously marched in the parade, but have since distanced themselves from the event.
Polling calls to voters are not uncommon in campaigns; frequently they ask voters a combination of positive and negative questions about both candidates involved to test the viability of different campaign messages. What is less typical is a call like this, one that polls on demographics and on strictly negative questions about one candidate, a sign that a campaign may be gearing up for an attack against the opponent.
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