NEWTON — Longtime city councilor-at-large and former mayoral candidate Amy Mah Sangiolo has thrown her support behind her onetime rival, City Council president Scott Lennon, in the final weeks of Newton’s race for mayor.
The news, just weeks ahead of the Nov. 7 election, could upend a mayor’s race in which Lennon had trailed in fund-raising to his competitor, city councilor-at-large Ruthanne Schwartz Fuller.
“To me, he’s the most relatable,” Sangiolo told the Globe. “He understands the difficulties the people of the city face. He is the one who can bring all parties . . . together to move the city forward.”
Fuller and Lennon were the top two finishers during a preliminary election last month and will appear on the city’s Nov. 7 ballot. Sangiolo finished third in the seven-way contest.
In a statement released by his campaign, Lennon said he looked forward to working with Sangiolo and her supporters.
“I am so grateful for Amy’s support of my candidacy because I so deeply respect her decades of bold advocacy for community-based planning and affordable housing, improved services and transportation for seniors, strong environmental policies, and deep commitment to our public schools,” Lennon said.
Fuller came in first in September’s voting with 5,234 ballots, or about 37 percent of the vote, according to the city. Lennon was second with 4,690 votes — about 33 percent of the ballots cast.
Despite a third-place finish, Sangiolo, a Ward 4 councilor-at-large, brought in nearly one-quarter of the votes placed during September’s preliminary election, with about 3,500 ballots cast.
If Sangiolo is able to encourage enough of her supporters to cast their ballots for Lennon in November, it could turn the balance in the race toward Lennon.
Fuller continues to lead in total contributions, although September was a better month for Lennon in fund-raising.
Fuller has collected about $262,000 as of the end of last month, according to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, including nearly $22,000 in September.
But Lennon’s September haul was higher, at nearly $37,000, helping to bring his campaign’s total contributions to nearly $215,000.
Lennon has also run a thriftier campaign than Fuller: At about $160,000, Lennon spent about $52,000 less than Fuller’s $212,000, as of the end of September, according to state reports.
Sangiolo said she decided to back Lennon because they had similar views on issues she was committed to, including the environment, development, having a transparent government, affordable housing, and promoting what she called “resident-centered, community-based planning.”
She said she still disagrees with Lennon on some issues, including his support of a proposed change in the city’s charter that would eliminate ward-only voting for councilors.
“That is near and dear to my heart, that we retain ward representation,” Sangiolo said.John Hilliard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.