If you were a betting man, your money was most likely on the incumbent 16-year Mayor of Boston during last weeks city election.
Mayor Thomas Menino easily edged out two of the three challengers, At-Large City Councilor Sam Yoon and South End Developer Kevin McCrea, and garnered more votes than the three combined. Menino will now square off against At-Large Councilor Michael Flaherty during the Tuesday, November 3 general election.
In East Boston, Menino topped the ticket with 2,145 votes. Flaherty finished second among Eastie voters with 924 followed by Yoon and McCrea. Yoon received 532 votes out of Eastie 14 precincts while McCrea got only 130.
Citywide, Menino received 41,026 votes or 51 percent. Flaherty finished second with 19,459 votes or 24 percent and secured a position in the final election. Yoon was eliminated and received only 2,280 votes less than Flaherty. McCrea finished with only 3,340 votes or 4 percent of the total votes.
In the final days leading up to the primary, the three challengers to Menino tried to capitalize on a scandal involving the deletion of city e-mails by a top Menino advisor and Menino’s absence at two community forums. The three challengers began calling the city’s longest serving mayor an ‘empty chair’ at City Hall.
Menino shot back with advertisements suggesting if his chair maybe empty at City Hall it’s because his job has taken him into Boston’s neighborhoods to work on behalf of the people.
The attacks on Menino did not seem to resonate with voters here or in the rest of the city as Menino easily won.
“I think we had the most positive, progressive and inclusive vision for Boston,” said Menino at the IBEW Local 103 Hall in Dorchester after the election. “We have 42 days left so let’s make the most of them so we can continue making the most of this great city.”
In his speech, Flaherty acknowledged both Yoon and McCrea who he credited as raising critical issues along the campaign trail and consequently, helped him become a better candidate who is committed to making Boston a better city.
“As a result of all of your hard work, we showed Boston that there is a desire for change in our city,” said Flaherty. “Now, we will directly face off against the 16-year-incumbent, Tom Menino, in the most critical election this city has seen in nearly twenty years. Over the next six weeks, we must work harder than ever before, spreading the word and reaching out to more residents to let them know that together, we can change Boston.”
A tearful Yoon, who was eliminated from the mayoral race and lost his At-Large Council seat, thanked supporters after last Tuesday’s primary and said the campaign was never about him but about the people of Boston.
“And we couldn’t have gotten this far without you — without your time, without your financial support, without your belief that we could make a difference,” said Yoon. “We have changed Boston. No city election for the last 100 years focused attention on power, about how the power of the mayor can be abused or misused, or how politics itself can prevent us from achieving our potential as a city.”
McCrea, always considered a long shot, said Tuesday’s election was the ‘best day’ of his life.
However, in the end, in a time when the nation is moving away from incumbency and embracing change Menino’s win last week is a testament to his job performance and powerfully showed the mayor’s staying power among Boston voters.
“It’s his job as long as he wants it,” said Menino supporter and District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina.