Marty Walsh rode labor, likability, and liberals to a narrow victory in Tuesday’s mayoral election. A former labor leader, Walsh got a big boost from local and national union dollars and from legions of union members who joined his canvassing and get-out-the-vote efforts.
Yet it sells Walsh short to say this was just about labor. His hidden advantage was always his sterling personal qualities. The Dorchester state representative is outgoing, sympathetic, a good listener, and all-around decent guy. After finishing first in the preliminary, Walsh quickly leveraged that likability into a string of endorsements — most notably from former rivals Charlotte Golar Richie, John Barros, and Felix Arroyo — that changed the dynamic of the race. Their nods gave him credibility with minority voters, while helping him emerge as the favorite of movement progressives.