It was just after noon and already City Councilor Rob Consalvo was on his fifth campaign event and second ecclesiastical stop of the day.
He had just spoken to the congregation of the Church of God of Good Shepherd in Mattapan, where the pastor encouraged his flock to vote for Consalvo. Now, the candidate stood at the door as parishioners filed out, repeatedly making his pitch, sometimes detailed, sometimes distilled to four words:
“Please vote for me.”
From Mattapan to South Boston to Jamaica Plain, many of the 12 candidates running for mayor of Boston fanned out across the city Sunday, making their case to voters with nine days to go before polls open.
On a warm, blue-sky day, the hopefuls kept up a frenetic pace, shaking hands and smiling through church services, picnics, festivals, and house parties, as Bostonians expressed increasing interest in the race to pick Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s successor.
“People are paying attention to the election now,” Consalvo said.
A number of events on Sunday served as a draw for candidates, a few of whom appeared at the rededication of the South Boston Vietnam veterans memorial in the morning and East Boston Salvadoran festival in the afternoon.
A picnic on a suburban-style street in Jamaica Plain nearly reached a critical candidate mass. Around 2 p.m., at least seven mayoral hopefuls were at the Ward 11 Democratic Committee picnic, which stretched across a few backyards on Peter Parley Road in Jamaica Plain. Each schmoozed with a different group of voters, sometimes just steps away from each other, as dozens milled about, munching on burgers, hot dogs, ribs, and bulgur salad.
At one point, City Councilor Charles C. Yancey had to turn sideways to slip past fellow City Councilor Michael P. Ross, who was eating a handful of pretzels and making the case for himself to a few voters.
“Hi Charles, how are ya?” Ross said gamely.
About 20 feet away, former School Committee member John F. Barros held court, speaking to seven people about education.
Also mingling with residents were Consalvo, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, radio station cofounder Charles L. Clemons Jr., and City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo.
Arroyo said in an interview that people in Boston knew the mayor’s race was going on but many voters were still undecided as the Sept. 24 preliminary election approached. That’s why, he said, his campaign was focused on going to door to door. “We talk to people at their doorsteps because we believe that’s . . . the best way to secure support in our race.”
Kevin Batt, one of the cohosts of the picnic, said he had yet to settle on a candidate yet.
“I’m going to have to make up my mind soon,” he said.
Jamaica Plain resident Dave Nichol, 35, attended the picnic and said he had narrowed his choice down to two candidates, Barros and City Councilor John R. Connolly.
Not all the picnicgoers were undecided, however. Phoebe O’Mara, said she enjoyed meeting the candidates but already had made up her mind to vote for Charlotte Golar Richie.
Golar Richie said her campaign, like many others, was in high gear.
“We’re still very much nose to the grindstone, making contact with every voter that we can,” she said. About 3 p.m., she swept into a room at the Franklin Park Clubhouse, smiling broadly as she was applauded by about 90 people.
Outside of the question-and-answer session, Tom DeVita, a Roxbury resident, was relaxing after a round of golf.
He said he was absolutely going to vote but had not yet figured out for whom.
“There are so many candidates, it’s hard,” he said, adding that he was leaning toward Connolly.
State Representative Martin J. Walsh, Conley, and Connolly all attended the re-dedication in South Boston Sunday morning. All said that they felt voters recently had amped up their focus on the race, all expressed optimism about their prospects, and all were greeted with friendly exclamations by at least a few Bostonians.
Walsh, who later in the day proposed selling City Hall Plaza, arrived first and engaged in low-key conversations with people waiting for the ceremony to start.
“It’s looking good for you,” Bill Egan, a lifelong South Boston resident, said as he shook Walsh’s hand. Egan later said he was voting for Walsh because, “He’s for the working guy.”
“Dan!” one woman exclaimed, as Conley made his way through the crowd.
“People are fully engaged, they recognize you, they’re happy to talk with you about the campaign,” Conley.
Connolly said he felt good about the race. “But there’s always a sort of gnawing anxiety that eats away,” he said.
“You know, I think that’s what fuels you to go morning, noon, and night.”