BOSTON MAYOR RACE : SIX WEEKS TO GO

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^ Rob Consalvo outside one of his local headquarters

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It’s getting nitty now, and gritty, the 12-candidate race to elect a new Boston Mayor. Candidates and their armies are knocking on doors, talking to voters one on one — which is the ONLY way to do it. The lawn signs wars are crowding fast. The money is in, and many key endorsements, ones that actually can deliver votes. Nor, fascinatingly, is anyone dropping out. It’s too late to do so, as the Primary ballots have already been printed. The rumors of Dan Conley moving away to run for Attorney General did not pan out. (This is good news for Rob Consalvo.)

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^ Dan Conley : staying in mayor race

Indeed, Conley, like Rob Consalvo, Marty Walsh, Felix Arroyo, and, probably, the other “major” candidates, have already begun to open local headquarters in the neighborhoods they are counting on; and to staff them. (Haven’t seen a John Connolly local HQ yet, but very likely soon.) With local headquarters open, the candidates who have them can ramp up their reach out to voters as yet uncontacted, or contacted but uncommitted. From local headquarters phone banks can be more precisely targeted than from a central office.

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^ Felix Arroyo : “forward with Felix” showing up at last in the neighborhoods that count

The ‘majors’ are also scheduling regular weekly ‘events,’ such as Marty Walsh’s “Mondays With Marty” and Felix Arroyo’s regular meet-and-greets at locations key to his campaign. Rob Consalvo is making his headquarters openings an “event.” Surely John Connolly and Dan Conley are doing the same. For these candidates, “events” are occasions to raise the enthusiasm level of their already committed voters — and campaign volunteers — and to bring to the committed-vote level voters who have shown interest. In other words, the fun and games times in this campaign are over. From here on it’s all about commit, commit, commit and identify a vote and keep it identified all the way to Primary day.

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^ Marty Walsh : “Mondays With Marty” in every neighborhood ?

So much for the “major’ candidates. What we do not understand, frankly, is the stance of the other candidates. Why are Charles Clemons, John Barros, and Bill Walczak still in this race ? And what of District Councillor Mike Ross, who has raised much money from real estate interests but doesn’t seem so far to have gathered an observable following ? Unfortunately, neither question has a ready answer. Clemons, Barros, Walczak, and even Ross surely knew that they were almost certain not to get to the November Final, yet they ran anyway. Is it about introducing oneself to voters ? Hard to see the advantage in making a first impression as an election loser. More likely they see that for the Final, the votes they do manage to win on Primary day will give them influence as the two finalists compete to win their support. Sometimes that campaign purpose succeeds.

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^ Mike Ross : lots of money, so far not many visible votes

The above discussion did not mention candidate Charlotte Golar-Richie. Her campaign remains the most puzzling of all. As the only woman in the race, as a person of color, and as a widely accomplished city and state administrator, she has all the credentials a next Mayor would want to possess and an identifiable, sizeable constituency. Yet her campaign hasn’t made itself felt much. She lacks money. She is only now beginning to be visible in the lawn sign wars. She has key endorsements, but they were won early and do not so far seem to have brought her many votes. Nor has she dominated the news. How could she, when, as reporter David S. Bernstein has pointed out, she has only the vaguest of messages and no platform ? The other “majors’ have both message and platform. It matters.

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^ Charlotte Golar-Richie : disappointing campaign so far

In a campaign like this one, which will reach almost every voter, most of them at the door, a candidate has to make himself or herself FELT as well as seen and heard. We used to say, “make them feel your grip, just as if you were grabbing them by the wrists.” Walsh, Consalvo, Connolly. Arroyo, and Conley are doing that; so far, Charlotte Golar-Richie hasn’t. Time for her to get tough. A Mayor of Boston HAS to be that.

Prediction : right now we see Rob Consalvo looking stronger, possibly moving to second place; Connolly weaker. Walsh still a good bet for second, even first place. Dan Conley fourth. None of the eight “new Boston” candidates has a chance if all stay in the race — and with the September ballots already printed, all remain in it.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

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