WBUR

Endorsements Take Center Stage In Boston Mayor’s Race

Boston’s mayoral election is turning into a contest for endorsements.

U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, right, endorses Boston mayoral candidate Marty Walsh, left, on Monday. (Asma Khalid/WBUR)

U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, right, endorses Boston mayoral candidate Marty Walsh, left, on Monday. (Asma Khalid/WBUR)

And to most, it clearly looks like state Rep. Marty Walsh is in the lead; he’s pulling in all the big names. On Monday, he received another: Congressman Michael Capuano sang his praises as he publicly backed Walsh at a rally in Hyde Park.

On one side of the race, you have Walsh, the former union man, who’s now supported by three of his former rivals in the preliminary mayoral election: Charlotte Golar Richie, John Barros and Felix Arroyo. Walsh says all that support sends a message.

“My opponent to date has not yet received one endorsement from an elected official of color from the city of Boston, and I think that in itself is a statement,” Walsh said Monday.

And now, Capuano is also on his team. Capuano’s district covers a large swath of the city.

“I want to be very clear,” Capuano said. “I don’t do this very often, because I don’t think it’s the way people should act. Members of Congress, particularly elected officials, should use their endorsements sparingly.”

He added: “Marty is one of the few people I would cross over broken glass to help.”

Walsh says he hopes all these endorsements show voters he can win.

“Many different elected officials, with many different political philosophies, are coalescing behind my candidacy, and I think that statement in itself shows I can lead the city of Boston and work with like-minded or different-minded people to come up with compromise,” he said. “I think that’s the common theme here.”

Walsh claims the endorsements are one reason he’s catching up with his opponent, City Councilor John Connolly, in recent polls.

Connolly acknowledges he’d like more big-name endorsements. But he says it’s people, not political players, who make the difference.

“I would love to have every endorsement I could get,” he said, “but at the end of this, I think it’s about my voice, my vision and the people of Boston, and I think that’s how these races get decided.”

On Monday, Connolly touted the endorsements of community leaders, activists and clergy members. Ten people spoke on his behalf.

“John may not be at the top of the list when it comes to elected officials high-fiving him and promoting him, but he’s at the top of the list when it comes to grassroots people who understand what Boston needs,” said the Rev. William Dickerson, pastor of Greater Love Tabernacle Church in Dorchester.

Connolly would like some bigger-name endorsements, too. But instead of lamenting reality, he laughs. He jokes that with all of Walsh’s political endorsements in recent days, he heard even President Obama was planning to back Marty Walsh.

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  • Irishmom Roslindale

    I was disappointed in the reporting for this piece. Yes, Walsh has garnered many high profile endorsements in the past couple of weeks. However, the story didn’t even question why Walsh is being endorsed by many local politicians, while Connolly’s support is coming from much less “impressive” sources — regular people, from cyclists, BPS parents, to immigrants, to black ministers to business leaders. Hmmm, why could this be? I have a wild guess: those elected officials are endorsing Walsh with the expectation that he will bring his union supporters out for them someday. They each have a strong self interest in having him return the favor when their time comes. Those self-serving politicians’ endorsements mean nothing, except perhaps to reveal the shallow cynicism of the endorsers. Take a look at the names: Connolly’s supporters are the ones who care about their community, and not just their own political careers. I respect the hard working teachers, first responders, sanitation workers and others who run this city and make it a nice place to raise a family, but I think even they know that Walsh is not a visionary when it comes to the major issues facing Boston. I would trust my vote for the interests of working families to someone who is running for one Boston, fairness and opportunity for all, rather than for a so-called “working class” character making hundreds of thousands of dollars each year filing special interest legislation in the State House. I don’t blame Walsh for his lack of understanding the real issues; he doesn’t have a wife and three kids to support and he has never been through the BPS lottery with his child. I have, and my vote is for Connolly all the way. I expect a more balanced and insightful view from WBUR.

  • dgotshalk

    The so called “public service union” people will all endorse and vote for Walsh.
    That is a given. Their pork job takers are all on the line. They love negotiating with themselves. However this election might turn the tide. Parents and children with no representation, young people who can not find a job have a 50 50 chance if they get out and vote. Many Americans see what has happened in this country. They now remember that great private sector labor leader of the 30’40′and 50′s George Meany when he said “public service unions” is opening up a dangerous can of worms.

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