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From somber prosecutor to affable candidate, Conley tries to make the transition

Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

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When Daniel F. Conley sought Thomas M. Menino’s counsel on how he could be a better candidate for mayor, the city’s longtime leader had a succinct piece of advice: “Smile more.”

It was a telling bit of wisdom for Conley, as the 55-year-old Suffolk district attorney tries to make the transition from sober prosecutor, often presiding over the grimmest of press conferences, to accessible leader who can appeal to a city teeming with diverse constituencies.

And so over the past several months, voters have been introduced to a sunnier Conley, smiling widely in stump speeches and in television ads funded by his ample war chest.

On the trail, he has even broken into song, recently crooning “Dirty Water” at a fund-raising event on Cape Cod.

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