The contest for Boston City Council's at-large seats has come down to a race for a place in the final four. It started with a diverse field of 15, then the preliminary election narrowed it down to eight candidates who are on Tuesday's ballot.
"It's going to be John Connolly, who was the top ticket-getter, and he's the incumbent; Steve Murphy, another incumbent; and then Felix Arroyo, the son of the former city councilor; and Ayanna Pressley, a former aide to Sen. John Kerry," predicts Gintautas Dumcius, who's been covering the contest.
Those four candidates received the most votes in the preliminary election and analysts don't expect the field to change much. Dumcius says they were the candidates with the highest name recognition going in to the race and it would be hard for the bottom four to change that in time for election day.
Voter interest in this year's race has been high, Dumcius says, although other, more high-profile races — the mayoral race, in particular, but also the gubernatorial race and the race for the seat held by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy — have been somewhat of a distraction.
But the mayoral race may actually prove to be a good thing when it comes to voter turnout. Mayor Thomas Menino is predicting 120,000 people will cast ballots in the City Council election, which is about 35 percent of registered voters.
"I think in terms of the two candidates — Mayor Menino and City Councilor-At-Large (Michael) Flaherty — just pulling as much support as they can out of the neighborhoods and into the polls, that's going to have an effect on the City Council race," Dumcius says.
Minority voters turned out in higher-than-average numbers for September's preliminary and Dumcius says he "absolutely" expects the same will be true in the final election. "The minority vote is going to be key," he says. "We have four minority candidates: two African Americans and two Latinos."
Click "Listen Now" to hear Bob Oakes interview Gintautas Dumcius.
This program aired on November 2, 2009.