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