^ planting his flag in precincts of color : Marty Walsh at Bartlett Street Garage (ward 9 Precinct 5)

—- —- —-

Marty Walsh’s big effort to win at least a majority of voters of color continues. He is getting advice from a respected operative who knows where Walsh should up, and he is showing up and doing it relentlessly. It is essential if Walsh intends to get into the win game for November. Why ? Let us look at the numbers. (I ask my readers’ indulgence on this. It’s a lot of statistics to read, but voting is measured in statistics. They matter totally.)

We have selected 40 precincts dominated by voters of color, by which we mean Black community voters, not Cape Verdean or Hispanic. 40 precincts is, I think, a lot fairer to both candidates than the Globe’s recent one-precinct story featuring a precinct that is far from typical. Here is the list, and the September 24th result. Keep in mind that by far the majority of voters picked Golar-Richie, Barros, Clemons, and even Arroyo.

Ward 12 Precincts 2 and 4
(along the West side of Blue Hill Avenue) ……….. Connolly 68 Walsh 55
Ward 12Precincts 6 and 8
(further up the west side of Blue Hill Avenue to Grove Hall)
…………………………………………………………….          Connolly 42 Walsh 37
Ward 12 Precincts 3 and 5
(along Warren Street along M. L. King Blvd) ……. Connolly 48 Walsh 46
Ward 12 Precincts 7 and 9
(south of M. L. King Blvd to Seaver Street) ……..  Connolly 93 Walsh 73
Ward 14 complete (14 precincts)
(easterly side of Blue Hill Ave from Fayston Street all the way to walk Hill Street, and across Blue Hill west to Harvard St from Talbot Ave south) .. Connolly 479 Walsh 371
Ward 18 Precincts 3 and 21 (Almont Field area) .. Connolly 125 Walsh 81
Ward 18 Precincts 2 and 4 (Mattapan Sq)………… Connolly 85 Walsh 77
Ward 18 Precinct 15 (along River Street, railroad underpass to Hungtington Ave)\
…………                                                                     Connolly 54 Walsh 29
Ward 10 Precinct 7 (Bromley Heath housing)…… Connolly 29 Walsh 27
Ward 11 Precincts 2 aand 3 (along Washington Street from Cedar Street to Columbus Ave)
…………                                                                     Connolly 60 Walsh 60
Ward 17 Precincts 1 and 3 (Washington Street Dorchester from Park Street south)
…………                                                                     Connolly 80 Walsh 108
Ward 17 Precincts 5 and 7 (Codman Sq. west) … Connolly 33 Walsh 40
Ward 17 Precincts 8 and 10 (Codman square South and Norfolk Street west)
………….                                                                   Connolly 84 Walsh 68
Ward 15 Precincts 2 and 8 (Richfield Street / Bowdoin-Geneva and Charles Street north of
Fields Corner ………………………………………….       Connolly 45 Walsh 71
TOTAL VOTE IN 40 PRECINCTS ………………….       Connolly 1357 Walsh 1188

On Final election day these 40 precincts will likely cast a total of about 16,000 votes. If so, it means that about 13,470 votes are up for grabs, with — if the September proportions hold — an advantage to Connolly of about eight points = 1100 votes. It’s a small advantage, but as the precinct numbers show, it was, except for areas close to Walsh’s Dorchester, a consistent one for Connolly. Given how poorly Walsh performed on Primary day outside of his South Boston / seaside Dorchester base, it’s a consistent 1100 vote loss he can’t afford. But there is more to it for him than just the 1100 votes. Look:

White candidates of good will often campaign in Black communities not simply to try to win Black voters’ votes. These candidates know that many white voters are watching them and are assured of these candidates’ progressive or reformist bona fides thereby. Walsh’s serious effort in Boston’s most Black voter precincts is thus an effort to impress white voters in neighborhoods dominated by progressive or reformist whites, all of which he lost decisively on September 24th. He can’t BE Felix Arroyo, or John Barros, and certainly can’t do Charlotte Golar-Richie; but he can try to impress their white, reformist allies.

Will it work ? It might. All depends on how strongly progressive or reformist voters rate winning voters of color’s confidence, compared to the campaign’s hottest agenda issues : school reform, jobs and the building boom, the bicycle/Hubway movement, restaurants and liquor licences, diversity in the police force and Mayor’s cabinet. Yet even if Walsh’s larger objective fails, the vigor of his campaign in the 40 precincts (and some others) will keep him from being beaten decisive therein by John Connolly. This is no minor factor. Historically, Boston’s communities of color have been much more easily drawn to patrician, even Brahmin reformers like Connolly than to candidates with rough edges and laborer’s hands, who Marty Walsh personifies.

Anybody who meets Walsh sees pretty quickly that he is as passionate a reformer as he is about Labor. The only question is, how many voters of color will meet him ? And believe him ? His success on Novemnber 5th probably depends on it.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

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