Pressley The Surprise Ticket-Topper In At-Large Boston Council Race

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All of the incumbents seeking re-election to the Boston City Council have held on to their seats.

It was a close call in District 2, where fewer than 100 votes decided the outcome between incumbent Bill Linehan of South Boston and Chinatown resident Suzanne Lee.

District 3 — the only open seat — was the only one to produce a new member, Frank Baker, who defeated John O'Toole for a place on the council.

But the headliner was the race for the four at-large seats, and Ayanna Pressley surprised everyone, even herself, by being the top vote-getter in the at-large race.

Pressley, who's a former aide to Sen. John Kerry, sees her re-election victory as a validation of her agenda.

"Sen. Kerry taught me that when it's right to keep it right and when it's wrong to make it right, and that's the role of government, and the fact that I have another opportunity to continue to do just's awesome," she said.

Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley (Delores Handy/WBUR)
Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley (Delores Handy/WBUR)

Pressley summarizes her work as "eradicating poverty and ending cycles of violence."

Her victory defied the speculation that she was the most vulnerable candidate for the at-large seats.

State Rep. Carlos Henriquez was among Pressley's supporters at her campaign headquarters near the Ashmont T station. He said Pressley was never vulnerable.

"But that underdog cry and that rally the troops, that got everybody to the table and got everybody in the streets, knocking on doors, reaching out to friends and that transferred into her topping the ticket," Henriquez said.

The winning "ticket" also included Felix Arroyo, in second place, followed by John Connolly, who had partnered with Pressley on the campaign trail. The fourth place slot went to the City Council President Stephen Murphy, who barely beat former at-large Councilor Michael Flaherty.

Flaherty said he was up against a slate of incumbents backed by Mayor Thomas Menino.

"There were partnerships within the slate and teams within that, so plots and sub-plots, so at the end of the day I stand on my own," Flaherty said.

Flaherty said he'll continue to push for the City Council to stand on its own, too.

This program aired on November 9, 2011.

Delores Handy Reporter
Delores Handy was formerly a host and reporter at WBUR.



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