In Eastie John Connolly has always received tremendous support, but voters will now have to decide who their loyalty rests with if Mayor Thomas Menino announces he’s in for another term.
Last time around, Connolly topped the at-Large ticket with 1,183 and in 2009 he topped the ticket in the city with 51,308 and was the favorite here with 2,290.
However, in the 2011 election, Connolly failed to top the ticket and political wizards began anointing Ayanna Pressley as a potential successor to Menino based simply on the fact that she topped the ticket.
But that may have been a bit premature and the results of that election were a bit schizophrenic.
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 in 2011.
In those areas, Connolly asked his supporters to consider Pressley 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 that 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.
One can get a better sense of Connolly’s strength citywide from 2009.
In that city election, Menino received 63,123 votes or 57 percent while former Councilor Michael Flaherty got 46,768 votes or 42 percent.
Connolly ended up 11,815 votes shy of Menino’s total but 4,540 votes ahead of Flaherty citywide.
If Menino throws his hat into the ring, one thing is for sure, it’s going to be an interesting summer.