Menino Wins Record 5th Term As Boston Mayor

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino during his State of the City address at Boston's Strand Theatre in Boston in January 2007. (Elise Amendola/AP)
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino during his State of the City address at Boston's Strand Theatre in Boston in January 2007 (Elise Amendola/AP)

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino won an unprecedented fifth consecutive four-year term Tuesday, holding off City Council President Michael Flaherty in his toughest re-election challenge.

Menino, 66, already has been in office for 16 1/2 years - longer than any mayor in the city's history.

WBUR Topics: Boston 2009
WBUR Topics: Boston 2009

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results gave Menino about 57 percent of the vote to Flaherty's 42 percent.

In his concession speech, the mayor thanked Flaherty for the challenge and promised not to be complacent in his next term.

"Our victory today is not a trophy to put on a shelf or to parade on a Duck Boat," the mayor said, to laughs. "It's not a championship, but a chance. It's an opportunity to improve our neighbors' lives. To bring the city together — and to move it forward."

Flaherty, 40, told his supporters he learned a lot, and that "change takes some time."

"This election raised serious discussions about real issues in our city," Flaherty said, "and these discussions will not stop because the ballots have been cast."

Flaherty had run in an unusual partnership with City Councilor Sam Yoon. Flaherty, a lifelong resident of South Boston, had vowed to make Yoon, a community organizer of Korean descent, his deputy mayor if he had won.

Kelly Calvin Young III, of Mattapan, worked on the Menino campaign, organizing communities of color in District 6.

Young said he feels like the margin between Menino and Flaherty was closer than expected because of the councilor's partnership with Yoon, and said he hopes that Menino pays attention to the election results.

"He's an intelligent man; he's a bull of a man," Young said. "He's aware of the numbers and he has his finger on the pulse of the community."

History shows it's tough to unseat a Boston mayor. No incumbent has lost the seat in 60 years. The last one was James Michael Curley, who was ousted by John Hynes in 1949 after a term that was interrupted by a five-month federal prison sentence for mail fraud.

This program aired on November 3, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.


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