City Councilor John R. Connolly and state Representative Martin J. Walsh are spending the final weekend of their battle to be the next mayor in a flurry of retail campaign stops, skirting victory parade traffic to make their closing pitches.
While much of the city was consumed cheering on trophy-bearing duck boats, Connolly and Walsh are locked in a tight race, with polls showing a bloc of undecided voters that could decide the outcome.
To reach them, both candidates hopscotched across the city today. Walsh had stops scheduled in the South End, East Boston, Hyde Park, West Roxbury, the Back Bay, and Dorchester. Connolly was booked for Roslindale, Dorchester, the West End, South End, East Boston, Charlestown, the Back Bay, Jamaica Plain, and Hyde Park.
At a visit to the Amy Lowell Apartments in the West End, just as the Red Sox were moving from land to water on the Charles River, Connolly argued that he has a better plan for reshaping the city’s housing plan, economic development, and schools.
Connolly has been refining his pitch, lessening his emphasis on education, on the belief that he has maximized the political benefit of the issue.
“I hear what people say, ‘John Connolly, he seems OK, but does he ever talk about anything other than schools?’ Well, maybe not,” Connolly told a crowd of about 65 people, mostly senior citizens lunching on pizza from Ducali Pizzeria.
Connolly’s message was mostly positive, but he swiped at Walsh for being too tied to labor unions, which have provided the vast majority of the race’s outside spending, in an effort to support Walsh.
“I think my opponent is a good man, but is obligated to a narrow constituency that will make it very difficult for him to make the decisions that are in the best interest of all of Boston,” Connolly said.
Walsh spent much of the morning poking his head into hair salons, corner stores, and barber shops in Dorchester as he canvassed with councilor Tito Jackson and state Representative Russel Holmes.
He then dashed to East Boston, for a standout at a well-trafficked Dunkin’ Donuts, where he was joined by Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, who proudly wore a Red Sox tie.
“This right here is the next mayor,” DeLeo declared, his arm draped over Walsh’s shoulder. “I’m the Speaker, so I know these things.”
About two dozen people—many more wearing Sox apparel than campaign shirts—held Walsh signs as Walsh addressed the crowd, stressing the importance of making contact with unreached voters in the race’s final days.
“I love that shirt,” Walsh joked to a women decked out in Sox apparel who approached him after the event. “I’m Marty Walsh and I’m running for mayor,” he said as he extended his hand.
“I know all about you and Connolly,” the woman replied. “I said I’d vote for whichever one of you I met first. I haven’t met him, so you’ve got my vote.”