He was the first in the race, announcing his candidacy for mayor even before Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he would bow out. He had spent years establishing himself as the mayor’s chief political antagonist on the City Council and the chief agitator for reform in the Boston public schools. He came in a solid second in the September preliminary election, when his well-established citywide campaign organization turned out in force.
But on Tuesday night, Councilor John R. Connolly was edged out by state Representative Martin J. Walsh, whose massive campaign team, assembled with the help of organized labor, outmanned, outspent, and out-maneuvered Connolly’s campaign.
“We came up short tonight, but I am very proud of how we ran this campaign,” Connolly said in his concession speech last night. “This campaign looked like the entire city of Boston and I’m so proud of that.”
The tight results ended a roller-coaster campaign for Connolly, who began the race as an underdog taking on an all-powerful incumbent. But when Menino announced he would not run for reelection, Connolly became the sudden front-runner, the best-established and one of the best-financed candidates in a field of 12. He came in second in the preliminary election but was still considered the favorite to win the general, until a series of key endorsements and a flood of union money made him the underdog again.
Connolly, 40, a father of three who lives in West Roxbury, had made school reform the cornerstone of his campaigns even before his oldest child was assigned to a failing city school. The chairman of the City Council’s Education Committee, he crusaded on expired food in school cafeterias and on changing the schools’ student assignment system.
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week