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Mayoral candidates rally troops as election nears

Annalise Cooper, 3, hugged mayoral candidate Martin Walsh as her mother, Julia Mejia of Dorchester, looked on.

Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff

Annalise Cooper, 3, hugged mayoral candidate Martin Walsh as her mother, Julia Mejia of Dorchester, looked on.

For John R. Connolly and Martin J. Walsh, the day was a whirlwind.

Both candidates spent long hours on Saturday — in the second-to-last weekend before the election — at forums, house parties, and major afternoon rallies. Walsh set out to appeal to women at a rally in a Boston church, while Connolly aimed for Latino voters during an appearance at a Mexican-Salvadoran restaurant in East Boston.

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More than 100 people packed the Old South Church on Boylston Street around 2 p.m. for a “Women for Walsh” rally that featured more than half a dozen passionate speakers.

“People like Marty Walsh make sure that the things are in place to make sure that my past does not become my present,” said Carroletta Shaw-Boyd, who described herself as a recovering addict and survivor of domestic violence.

John Connolly shook hands with David Gonzalez, 18, of East Boston, during a campaign stop at La Hacienda Restaurant in East Boston.

Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

John Connolly shook hands with David Gonzalez, 18, of East Boston, during a campaign stop at La Hacienda Restaurant in East Boston.

“If you want a mayor who is going to make things happen and going to make sure that your sister, your brother . . . does not have to suffer injustice, show up on Nov. 5 and vote for Marty Walsh!” she shouted from the stage at the front of the church.

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Her address was met with wild cheers, a sustained standing ovation, and a huge hug from Walsh as she made her way down from the stage.

The candidate was introduced by Charlotte Golar Richie, his former State House colleague and former mayoral rival, who endorsed him earlier this month. As he made his way to the stage, the loud cheers slowly transitioned from “Charlotte!” to “Marty!”

In a 15-minute speech, Walsh highlighted differences between his and his opponent’s education, jobs, and housing plans.

“I don’t look for the headlines,” Walsh said, prompting more cheers. “I look for solutions.”

In East Boston around the same time, about 40 Connolly supporters gathered inside the crowded La Hacienda Restaurant awaiting the candidate’s arrival. Outside another 30 or so stood holding blue Connolly for Mayor signs.

The candidate entered to the crowd’s chants of “alcalde!” — “mayor” in Spanish — and took to the microphone to deliver a speech about the importance of promoting greater diversity within the city’s police force and pushing for better bilingual language programs in the city’s schools.

“For six years as a city councilor, I have pushed for more dual-language schools,” Connolly declared. “I have pushed for more programming for our English-language learners, and I want us to recognize that this is something we need to do together.”

After his address, Connolly noted that he picked up some conversational Spanish during the years he taught in a bilingual middle school in New York City, and said that he would like to really learn the language one day.

“That’s a life goal for me more than a mayor goal,” he said, jokingly.

Among those in attendance was State Representative Carlo P. Basile, of East Boston, who recently endorsed Connolly.

Basile said that as a father of two boys attending Boston schools, he trusts Connolly’s perspectives on education and believes they share similar views on the Boston school system.

Standing outside La Hacienda and holding a campaign sign, Bill Deveau, 56, said he came to support Connolly as a longtime friend of the family.

“I’ve known the Connolly family for over 30 years — I’ve known John personally for 20 years,” he said. “I think he’s a fine person and he’d do a great job as mayor.”

Wesley Lowery can be reached at Wesley.Lowery@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @WesleyLowery. Alyssa Creamer can be reached at Alyssa.Creamer@globe.com.
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