Connolly pivots to general election with focus still on schools

A tired but upbeat City Councilor John R. Connolly said Wednesday he won a spot in the final mayoral election by building citywide support with his message that reforming Boston schools will help create better neighborhoods and more jobs.

“The one thing I’m really proud of from last night is strong numbers across this entire city,’’ Connolly told a scrum of reporters outside City Hall before he attended a City Council meeting. “We built a field organization across the city.’’

Connolly said his focus on fixing schools galvanized parents across neighborhoods and formed the bedrock of his support.

“My campaign was mom-powered,’’ Connolly said. “We had moms out knocking on doors who had never worked on a campaign before. But the thing I loved about it, we had moms from West Roxbury and moms from Mattapan, moms from Roxbury and moms from the South End.’’


Connolly took questions about seeking endorsements from the 10 candidates who failed to make the final. (“I would like to earn everybody’s support,’’ he said. “All 10 of those candidates contributed great things to the debate.’’)

He talked about building an “inclusive, transparent City Hall that looks like the whole city of Boston and reaches the whole city of Boston.’’ Connolly credited Mayor Thomas M. Menino with setting a tone that kept the race civil and focused on issues.

“All the candidates showed Boston what a campaign really could be,’’ Connolly said, adding that he thanked Menino by telephone Tuesday night. “I think the mayor really set the standard for it by telling all of us he wanted to see a positive campaign.’’

Connolly said he would not shift his position on outside spending by Stand for Children, an education group that had vowed to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on his behalf. Connolly accepted the group’s endorsement in August but then asked Stand for Children and all other outside groups not to spend money supporting his candidacy.

“My remarks on that have been clear, and I stand by them,’’ Connolly said when asked whether he would change his stance on outside money for the final election. “I don’t want outside money to decide this race. The voters ought to decide this race, and the candidates and campaigns will decide it. My remarks on that have been clear and I stand by them.’’


Connolly’s opponent, State Representative Martin J. Walsh, has not made the same vow. Leading up to the preliminary election, outside groups affiliated or funded by organized labor spent more than $700,000 on Walsh’s behalf, according to the state Office of Campaign & Political Finance.

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