Connolly, Walsh urge voters to turn out at the polls

Candidates make last push in mayoral race

John Connolly (left) campaigned at the Knights of Columbus hall in Roslindale among other spots around the city Friday, and Martin Walsh spoke with Barry Nelson at the Amy Lowell House in the West End, one of his campaign stops.
John Connolly (left) campaigned at the Knights of Columbus hall in Roslindale among other spots around the city Friday, and Martin Walsh spoke with Barry Nelson at the Amy Lowell House in the West End, one of his campaign stops.
Essdras M Suarez/Globe staff (left); Wendy Maeda/Globe staff

With time winding down before Tuesday’s election, mayoral candidates John R. Connolly and Martin J. Walsh had one message for voters: Show up at the polls.

The two contenders in Boston’s first competitive mayoral race in three decades shrugged off questions about newly released polls and outside spending in the race as they both dashed across the city, from event to event. At senior centers, press conferences, and town hall meetings, they urged supporters to make it to the polls on Election Day.

“Don’t pay any attention to these polls,” Connolly implored the crowd that gathered in Roslindale Friday night for his campaign’s final rally. “This campaign is a jump ball.”


Connolly’s impassioned “closing argument” speech hit Walsh for accepting millions in outside spending on behalf of his campaign and urged supporters to dig in during the campaign’s final stretch.

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“Just four more days. Give me everything you’ve got for four days and I’ll give you everything I’ve got for four years,” Connolly said.

The rally capped a long day for Connolly, who had earlier appeared in Grove Hall to accept the endorsement of former mayoral candidate Charles Clemons, in Chinatown to make his appeal to voters at the Asian American Civic Association, and in Charleston to give hugs and shake hands at a senior center.

Meanwhile, his opponent courted senior citizens in the West End, patronized a popular North End cafe, and participated in a housing rally at City Hall.

“I need your help,’’ Walsh, a state representative, told voters as he dashed from one senior center to the next on Friday.


Riding high on fresh momentum after a string of endorsements, Walsh placed no significance on the latest poll, which gave him a 3-point edge in the race Friday, stressing that the poll he values most is the one on Election Day.

“It doesn’t really matter what the polls say,’’ said Walsh. “I am here today to ask for your support.”

Walsh brought his mother, Mary, to a midmorning coffee hour at the Amy Lowell Building in the West End, where he was peppered with questions about what he would do about the Boston Redevelopment Authority. He pledged to overhaul the BRA, block fare increases on the MBTA Ride service, and support a new supermarket in the area.

The Dorchester representative was besieged with questions from reporters about a newly formed political action committee that has spent $480,000 on a major television ad supporting him.

The group, One Boston, is not obliged to identify its financial backers until January. The Globe has reported that the only name listed on the committee’s paperwork is Jocelyn Hutt, a 55-year-old woman from Congreve Street in Roslindale. According to city records, Hutt has not voted in three of Boston’s past four municipal elections.


Walsh said he did not know of One Boston until a reporter asked him about it.

“It was the first time I’ve heard of it, and I don’t know anything about them, at all,’’ Walsh said.

But he would not say unequivocally whether he wants the ads to stop.

“I just want them to stay positive,’’ Walsh said. “I have been clear from the beginning [that] we have a positive campaign. I don’t condone negative ads. I don’t condone negative campaigning. I wasn’t happy at all when the [flier criticizing Connolly] came out.”

As Walsh fielded questions about outside spending, Connolly attempted to address concerns that he has not always played nicely with others.

The Globe reported Friday on some strained relationships between him and other elected officials, and Connolly made a point in his stump speeches throughout the day to stress that he has always worked with others to address city problems and would continue to do so as mayor. As a councilor, he said, he has often avoided political avenues and instead worked with those working to address problems on the ground level, such as schoolteachers and community activists.

“I’m proud of the fact that I do have nine endorsements from elected officials,” Connolly added during his Chinatown stop.

The tone was similar to that sounded during his first event of the day, when Connolly accepted the endorsement of Clemons, founder of TOUCH 106.1 FM.

Clemons earned just 1,800 votes in the Sept. 24 preliminary, placing 11th of 12 candidates, but is seen as an influential voice in parts of Roxbury. His Internet radio station boasts of being the “voice of Boston’s black community” and claims to reach well over 100,000 listeners.

He is the first of the failed preliminary race candidates to back Connolly.

Three others — third-place finisher Charlotte Golar Richie, fifth-place finisher Felix G. Arroyo, and sixth-place finisher John Barros — have backed Walsh.

“I greatly appreciate Charles Clemons’s endorsement,” Connolly said. “I may not have the elected officials behind me, but I have the ministers and the clergy behind me, I have business leaders of color behind me. . . . I have the people on the front lines, trying to make a difference for Boston behind me.”

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