BOSTON — Boston voters elected a new mayor, Marty Walsh, Tuesday night. The state representative who will take over City Hall in January defeated City Councilor At-Large John Connolly, 52 to 48 percent. By Wednesday, both men were heading down divergent paths.
Walsh met with Mayor Thomas Menino behind closed doors. Menino said he thinks Walsh will help move Boston in the right direction.
“You know, we’re in good hands,” Menino said. “I mean, Marty has the ability, I think, to lead this city to the next level.”
The city has set aside $50,000 for the transition and given Walsh and his staff an office for that purpose. Menino insisted he wants to help his successor.
“This is not about Marty Walsh and Tommy Menino, it’s about the city of Boston and how we’re going to continue to move this city forward,” Menino said. “I have a lot of confidence in this young man. When I was sick, Marty came to visit me, and we talked about the future.”
As Menino picked up his cane to head back into his office, Walsh put his hand on his back.
A few hours later, the mayor-elect was out on Boston Common for his first official press conference.
“It didn’t really hit me until this morning that I was the mayor-elect of the city of Boston,” Walsh said. “When I was getting dressed and I walked out, and I looked at Lorrie, and she goes, ‘Oh my God, you’re going to be the mayor.’”
Walsh did not go into any policy specifics.
“My top priority is making sure we have a smooth transition from the Menino administration into the Walsh administration,” he said, “so that the residents of the city of Boston don’t miss a beat.”
He said he received phone calls from President Obama, President Clinton and Vice President Biden.
“But one of the calls I received last night was from John Connolly,” Walsh said. “And John congratulated me on the victory, I congratulated him on a great race. John’s been my friend, we’ve been friends, he mentioned it last night, for a long time.”
But Walsh won and his friend, Connolly, lost. The two spent the day after a hotly contested election very differently.
While Walsh soaked in the limelight, surrounded by cameras, supporters and relatives, Connolly was back at his day job on the Boston City Council.
Connolly quietly strolled in a few minutes late for a council meeting. His colleagues shook his hand and offered faint smiles of condolences. Then, after business was done, City Councilor Matt O’Malley took to the mic.
“I just wanted to rise to acknowledge our colleague,” O’Malley said. “And our friend, John Connolly.”
The chamber filled with applause. O’Malley said that Walsh will be a better mayor because of his campaign against Connolly.
As for his future, Connolly said he hasn’t decided on what’s next, but whatever it is, he wants to make sure he can tuck his kids in at night. He said that he’s tired.
“You know what, I’m glad it’s over,” Connolly said. “I mean, win or lose, it was a long run, and so I’m glad I did it, you know, I wouldn’t change a thing on it.”
Connolly said he realized as early as 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night that he didn’t have the numbers to win. He said he has no regrets, except for maybe one.
“I was under constant attack about my resume from day one of the final. ‘He’s not a teacher, he’s a privileged elite, he’s this, he’s that,’ ” Connolly said. “I mean, and it was all nonsense. And maybe that’s one thing that I wish we combated better, except that you would need money to do it, and we didn’t have money.”
Still, Connolly said he has no regrets that he didn’t take more outside money.