Neighborhood Voters Give a Strong Endorsement to Incumbent Councilors

November 16, 2011
By

East Boston came out strong for all of the at-Large incumbents during last Tuesday general election except Ayanna Pressley who finished fifth here behind Stephen Murphy and former mayoral candidate and at-Large Councilor Michael Flaherty.

However, Pressley became the story of election night as she topped the ticket citywide after many political pundits counted her out and were convinced Flaherty could overtake her reelection efforts. At best, many believed she could only hold the fourth place position in the polls.

In Eastie John Connolly topped the at-Large ticket with 1,183 votes followed by Felix Arroyo who received 1,154.

Finishing third in Eastie was Michael Flaherty with 1,144 votes in his bid to recapture an at-Large seat on the council. Citywide Flaherty was unable to squeeze in and finished fifth behind Murphy with 25,790 votes.

Murphy rounded out the top four in Eastie with 1,090 followed by Pressley who got 981 votes from Eastie voters. Citywide, Murphy finished fourth for the second time in two years forcing some to speculate that it was Murphy and not Pressley that was in trouble during last week’s general election. Political wizards have gone as far as to suggest that 2013, during the next Boston mayoral race, may be the end of the line for Murphy if a young charismatic progressive was to come out of the woodwork. He has spent a quite year as Council President without a real issue to wrap his arms around and make headlines.

However, Murphy has long enjoyed a level citywide base since being elected to the Council and remains a formidable Boston politician. He is likely the Council’s choice to serve another year as its president but will have to find a way to reinvent his political career if he hopes to thwart any threat to his seat next time around from a pool of candidates waiting to strike.

With that said, the anointing of Pressley as a potential successor of Menino based simply on the fact that she topped the ticket last week may be a bit premature.

Pressley, who got a huge amount of help and support from Connolly in the big voting districts of West Roxbury, Hyde Park and Roslindale made the difference this time around. In those areas Connolly, who finished third citywide with 32,803 votes but topped the ticket two years ago asked his supporters to consider Pressley as well during the campaign. In those areas Pressley held her own and finished second and third to Connolly in his strongholds.

However, Pressley’s people did not reciprocate Connolly’s gesture in her strongholds of Dorchester, Roxbury, the South End and Jamaica Plain and bulleted Pressley and did not consider Connolly or the other candidates for that matter. This was the main factor in her finishing first citywide because she was able to gain a huge swath of votes in Connolly strongholds she would not have otherwise gotten had Connolly not helped. When the vote moved into her strongholds Connolly was unable to gain anything from her supporters.

In the weeks leading up to last week’s election Connolly talked up Pressley when campaigning on his own yet people reported that Pressley, in places like Dorchester, asked crowds to consider only her for one of the four at-Large seats. Only 4,703 votes separated Pressley first place finish from Connolly’s third place finish and the lack of support for Connolly in Pressley’s areas could have made the difference. We predict Connolly, during the next Boston mayoral race in 2013 when the voter turnout is higher will most likely top the ticket as he did in 2009.

Like in Eastie, Arroyo finished third citywide with 35,465 votes.

City Councilor Sal LaMattina, who ran unopposed was the top vote getter in Eastie with 1,748 votes and finished up with 4,158 votes in Ward I, which included Eastie, Charlestown and the North End.

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