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Walsh And Connolly Make Final Campaign Push 06:15

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As the Boston mayoral candidates campaigned across the city over the weekend, voters responded to them in different ways.

City Councilor John Connolly drew support for this ideas — people like his proposals to reform Boston's public schools. State Rep. Marty Walsh drew support from the personal connections he made — people identified with his personal struggles, his candor and his faith.

Still, many echoed what recent polls show.

"I think it's too close to call, I think it really is," Boston City Council candidate Tim McCarthy said at an event in Roslindale.

Saturday morning in voter-rich Hyde Park — a neighborhood Connolly acknowledges is a "serious battleground" — Connolly said he was feeling pretty good about Tuesday's election, in part because of what is own internal polling is showing.

"I think we feel our last internal had it tied after we had fallen a little behind last week, so we feel like we're actually coming on right now," Connolly said.

At Richy's, the breakfast special was the Big Papi sandwich: bacon, egg, sausage, ham and cheese. The patrons talked about who was going to the parade for the Red Sox. Connolly and Walsh did not attend. Neither felt it appropriate to talk politics there, in part because most people lining the route were not Boston voters.

"I will vote for you," Dave Stewart, of Roslindale, told Connolly, "because you're not the union guy."

"[Roslindale] is where I grew up, before I knew it was the Beverly Hills of Boston," Connolly said, joking about the fliers mailed by Working America, the political arm of the AFL-CIO, supporting Walsh. The flyers said Connolly came "from a wealthy political family."

Connolly walked into the beauty parlor next door and asked the only employee, Amber Coren, if she had made up her mind for whom to vote.

"I don't know," Coren replied. "I'm only 25, so I've only known Menino for all my life."

In Roxbury Saturday, City Councilor Tito Jackson introduced Walsh to people in Grove Hall. Jackson was confident that soon there would have to be an election for Walsh's open seat in the state Legislature.

"He won't be at the State House this summer," Jackson said. "He's moving down the hill. We don't have any gold on top of our building."

Walsh, too, was feeling confident. "You know, I'll let you know Tuesday, but I feel good so far. Heading into Election Day, I feel pretty confident."

Roxbury is another part of the city that is up for grabs.

"Certainly, it's a little bit of a battleground, but I feel really confident," Walsh said. "We have a strong organization. I feel really good about it."

That organization could be particularly effective if turnout is low. Connolly's campaign, on the other hand, is counting on a high turnout to diminish the importance of Walsh's get-out-the-vote effort.

In a barbershop on Blue Hill Avenue, Jackson told Walsh that the owner, Jamie Mitchell, started the revitalization of the entire block.

"We're going to do more when we get elected," Walsh promised Mitchell. "I'll help you out with this."


"He's the man to do it," Mitchell said, explaining his support for Walsh. "He brought a lot of people of color into the union, I heard. And we need that support. So that's one of the reasons. And when I first met him, the first thing he said is that he's a recovering alcoholic and that means a lot. It takes a lot for somebody to say that. So that impressed me a lot, that he was genuine. So that's what really got my heart."

In the beauty parlor in the back, one of the employees told Walsh, who used to lead the Boston Building Trades, about the problems her son has faced getting into a union.

"Has he tried to enter the Building Pathways?" Walsh asked. "The program I started up, Building Pathways, helping people get into the trades, predominantly people of color and women. Tell him to look at the program. He should put his name through."

Sunday morning, Walsh addressed hundreds of people at church services at Congregation Lion of Judah in the South End. In an emotional moment, Walsh told the congregation how moved he was by the part of the service when people went up to the front of the church asking for prayers.

"When everyone came up here, it brought me back to a time of my life where I was in a position of desperation and didn't think anyone in the world was going to listen, but I understood that God listened," Walsh said to applause, as Pastor Roberto Miranda interpreted for the Spanish-speaking congregation.

By Sunday afternoon, Connolly was at his daughter's school — the Trotter School, in Dorchester, at what his campaign billed as a rally with mothers and children — to highlight his emphasis on improving Boston's schools and to summarize why people should vote for him, and not Walsh.

"Marty Walsh is a good man and he wants to do good things for Boston, but Marty is too beholden to a narrow set of interests to be able to make the changes that Boston needs," Connolly said.

This program aired on November 4, 2013.

Fred Thys Twitter Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.