Positivity, Grassroots Support Put Laborer Marty Walsh Over the Top in Boston Mayoral Primary

On Tuesday, Massachusetts State Rep. Marty Walsh emerged from a crowded Democratic primary field in the Boston Mayoral race with a victory. He earned 18 percent of the vote.  

The top two vote getters in the primary, Walsh and City Councilor John Connolly, will now face off in the November 5th general election.  The two candidates will attempt to win over voters who chose one of the 12 other candidates yesterday in the fight to replace outgoing Mayor Thomas Menino. Menino has been in the mayor’s office for over two decades.  

Walsh, a former union laborer, touched on this changing of the guard in his victory speech:

“What makes this election so big and so important is that after two decades of Mayor Thomas Menino, his trusted leadership, we are stepping into a new era,” Walsh told supporters late Tuesday night. We recognize the next 20 years will be different from the last — new problems, new opportunities and new challenges.”

Walsh gained support with a positive and honest campaign.  Throughout the primary, he opened up to reporters and citizens about his struggles with alcoholism as a young adult.  During his victory speech he touched on this saying:

I understand what opportunity means, and second chances, because I have been blessed with both. And that’s why I envision a city where every kid, in every neighborhood, can believe that someday they too can grow up to be mayor. That’s who we are. And as long as I am mayor, that’s who we will be.

Walsh out-fundraised his primary opponents building a warchest of $1.4 million.  Connolly came a close second with $1.1 million. However, much of Walsh’s success has come through volunteers who helped knock on doors and make phone calls.  The Walsh campaign currently has 10 field offices throughout Boston.  With the positive momentum that lead him to a primary victory, Walsh’s Campaign Manager Megan Costello told the Boston Herald it was unlikely the campaign would turn negative now:

It’s certainly a more intimate race when you work one-on-one.  (But) Marty is a very positive person. I can’t picture us going down the negative route at all. We’re real­ly going to focus, like we have been, on who Marty is and what we’re about.

Walsh’s union support could be the differenc maker moving forward, much as it has been to this point. MassLive outlines the long list of labor allies Walsh has collected:

Walsh has benefited from strong support from organized labor and, in particular, the building trades that he represented for years. AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman, John Doherty of the Local 391, Rich Rogers of the Greater Boston Labor Council, Brian Doherty of the Boston Building Trades and Donna Kelly-Williams of the Massachusetts Nurses Association were all on hand at Walsh’s party.

“Marty being our next mayor is very important to us. Marty has always supported taking care of everyone,” said Donna Kelly-Williams, 59, president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association and a staff nurse at Cambridge Hospital.

“He clearly has his heart into the job, he’s demonstrated that by his leadership the last twenty years and we’re all very excited,” said Tolman.

During his victory remarks, Walsh put forward a middle class vision for his administration:

Let me be clear.  This is decision time.  We must decide whether Boston will be a name on a map where a few people do well, or a community of shared prosperity. We have to choose whether this city is going to open the doors of opportunity for a strong middle class and those struggling to get there, or whether we will allow them to be shut out.

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