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For mayoral candidates, a full return to shoe-leather politics

For John R. Connolly, Saturday brought the opening of two field offices and a long slate of marches, parades, and galas. For Martin J. Walsh, the sunny day included a memorial run/walk, a ribbon-cutting at a Dorchester catering business, and a small meet-and-greet with voters in Jamaica Plain.

While both candidates have kept hectic schedules since becoming the Boston mayoral race’s two finalists, Saturday marked a first for the general election campaign: a full day of retail campaigning.

Ultimately, both candidates ended up scrapping or rearranging large chunks of their itineraries — as is the nature of retail politicking. Yet, Saturday’s public schedules looked much more like the event-filled scrambles that were common during the preliminary and less like the sometimes sparse public event lists the two candidates have circulated in recent days.


Walsh began his day in Mission Hill at the annual road race held in memory of Kevin W. Fitzgerald, a former state representative and friend of Walsh’s who died of cancer in 2007.

He then hit a series of events in Dorchester — visiting members of a union chapter that had recently endorsed him and attending the opening of Handy Person Catering, a minority-owned business in Adams Corner — before heading to Jamaica Plain for a gathering hosted at the home of supporters who wanted to introduce their neighbors to their candidate.

Meanwhile, Connolly crisscrossed the city to speak at the openings of two field offices, in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury, before attending events at Roxbury Open Studios and Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry First Church of Roxbury.

Both candidates ended up at close to 10 events Saturday and still added more stops late in the day.

“The nights just seem to get later and later,” Walsh said in a phone interview late Saturday afternoon, after a round of calls to potential supporters. “And then there are always those unexpected visits that pop up. We have a few block parties tonight that I just got invites, too, we’re going to try hard to make it to those.’’


Shortly before 7 p.m., Walsh began quickly working the room at the Vietnamese American Initiatives for Development Gala, in Dorchester.

In a room packed with political candidates, elected officials, and members of the Vietnamese community, he moved, shaking hands and slapping backs.

He then snagged a spot at a table near the front, standing next to City Council at-large candidate Michael Flaherty, to watch the event’s musical and dance performances.

Both mayoral candidates have spent much of the two weeks since their preliminary election victories re-tooling their campaigns for the general election by hiring new staff, re-allocating volunteer and canvassing resources, and working the phones to reach out to potential donors, endorsers, and supporters.

The campaigns agree that expanding their ground operations and canvassing efforts will be key to crafting a winning coalition in the Nov. 5 election.

“This is about getting out there and knocking on every door. This is about getting out there and talking to every voter,” Connolly said as he addressed the two dozen supporters gathered in his newly-christened Roxbury office.

“I’m going to be out-spent 2-to-1, 3-to-1 by my opponent. . . . But he out-spent me in the preliminary . . . and I know that we can win this because it’s not going to be about who spends the most money.”


Wesley Lowery can be reached at wesley.lowery@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @WesleyLowery.