With the sun still low in the sky, mayoral hopeful Martin J. Walsh kicked off his final full day of campaigning early. Just after 7:15 am at a bus stop in South Boston, the long-time state representative began greeting commuters.
It was just the start of a frenetic final push that will take Walsh across the city. Capping it off is a planned election eve rally at 6:30 p.m.
“How are you, sir?” he asked a man at the bus stop, palm extended. “Marty Walsh running for mayor of Boston. I’d like to ask for your vote.”
The candidate, joined by a small entourage of aides and supporters, including former state senator Jack Hart, worked his way thorough a few cycles of bus riders at the corner of L Street and East Fourth Street before walking a block to another bus stop.
Greeting more commuters, he spotted a woman, Alex Cahill, handing out literature for his opponent, Councilor John R. Connolly. He wished her luck and then went to shake more hands.
“I’d like to ask for your vote,” he said to South Boston resident Sam Voolich, who was walking a dog.
Voolich later said he would indeed vote for Walsh, seeing him as “the better” of the two candidates.
Most of the dozens of people Walsh spoke with gave staccato replies to his entreaties: “Thank you,” “Good luck,” “Nice to meet you.”
But there were a few who pressed municipal concerns with him. One woman complained that the MBTA’s 7 bus, which connects South Boston and South Station, was always so full of people during rush hour it was impossible to board.
A few blocks away, South Boston resident James Garrett asked him about ongoing construction on pipes in the area and when it might end. Walsh and Hart spoke with him for a few minutes, attempting to answer his questions.
Garrett later said he remained undecided about who he would vote for in the mayor’s race, but he would make up his mind — by the time he cast his ballot on Tuesday.
Later this morning, Walsh continued with retail campaigning at businesses along Adams Street in Dorchester, very friendly territory.
“This is as home turf as I can get,” he said with a laugh in Greenhills Irish Bakery, as a plate with pieces of Irish soda bread was passed around the shop, packed with Walsh supporters.
Among the officials joining him in the bakery were: state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, state Representative Dan Cullinane former state Senator Jack Hart, and Maura S. Doyle, clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County.
His demeanor upbeat and relaxed, Walsh schmoozed with a crew from an Irish television station, posed for photos and then, along with his entourage moved next door to Butcher Shop Market. There he shook hands and posed for more cell phone shots with patrons.
Wearing a blue shirt, yellow tie and black jacket, Walsh continued along Adams Street to other retail establishments, including Gerard’s Restaurant and Eire Pub, where he received a universally warm response.
He asked some people for their vote on Tuesday, but to many supporters he had a different message: “Don’t forget me tomorrow.”
Joined by his mother, Mary, during a stop at the Holgate Apartments in Roxbury, Walsh said he also had some aunts who had recently come into town.
“My mother’s sisters came out from Ireland and England -- that’s the campaign people we shipped in,” Walsh joked, a reference to reports that Walsh’s campaign and its allies were flying in thousands of people from out of state to help with his election
Turning serious, he said, “these thousands of volunteers that are supposedly being shipped in from all over the country, I haven’t seen them and they’re not coming in.”
“The people on the ground are my campaign and we have volunteers from all over the City of Boston,” he added.
The campaign event took place in a room on the first floor of the Boston Housing Authority building, Walsh made his pitch to about 20 senior citizens after being introduced by Councilor Tito Jackson.
Using a variation of his stump speech, Walsh said if he were elected mayor, he would continue many of the city initiatives for seniors that exist today and promised to be extremely responsive to constituent concerns.
He also made a hard ask for their vote, noting that older people show up at the polls.
“There’s a lot of young people in the city that aren’t going to vote tomorrow,” he said. “But you’re going to vote tomorrow and I’m going to ask you for your vote tomorrow as mayor of the City of Boston.”
Before his next campaign stop, Walsh said he would make an impromptu visit to St. Anthony’s Shrine, where his late father used to pray.
In the afternoon, Walsh visited with seniors at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Towers in Roxbury.
Speaking to about two dozen people, he again pledged that, if elected mayor, he would be quick to respond to their concerns, and would return to the Towers again.
“This might be my first time in this building, but it won’t be my last,” Walsh said to applause.
His mother, Mary, joined him again and sat quietly in the back of the room as he spoke. He introduced her and joked that residents should contact her if he failed to return.
“If I don’t come back, just call my mother,” he said to laughter.
This evening, Walsh was scheduled to attend an election eve rally at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester.