Mayor-elect Marty Walsh is no stranger to overcoming obstacles in life. A survivor of cancer and a recovering alcoholic, Walsh has stared adversity in the face many times only to come out on top.
So it came as no surprise to his supporters here in East Boston that Walsh won last week’s Mayoral election and beat john Connolly here in Eastie.
A month before the election, Walsh was facing a 20 point deficit in the Eastie polls. Connolly, who topped the ticket in Eastie during the Primary, enjoyed widespread support but Walsh and his supporters did not concede the election here or citywide.
In Eastie, Walsh ended the night with 3,817 votes to Connolly’s 3,739 votes. Citywide Walsh topped Connolly 72,514 to 67,606 votes.
But the story of Walsh’s win here and citywide was attributed to his team of supporters that fought a hard ground game on election day.
In Eastie, Joe Ruggiero Jr. and John Forbes have been credited with handing Walsh an Eastie victory.
Ruggiero, who took over the Ruggiero Memorial Home from his father two years ago and Forbes, Mayor Thomas Menino’s former community liaison have been dubbed rising stars in a neighborhood were old school street politics still remain a viable part of campaigns.
Like Walsh, both Ruggiero and Forbes are no strangers to facing addiction. Forbes had a very public fall from grace during his tenure as Menino’s liaison and Ruggiero has talked openly about his past struggle with addiction.
However, like their candidate, both have gotten their lives back on track and are successful men.
During the campaign, Walsh said during his campaign here in Eastie that he believes everyone should get a second chance and pointed out the lives of Forbes and Ruggiero as examples.
Walsh got a second chance at winning Eastie and, with the help and work of his two top guys in Eastie, was able to succeed.
“Marty’s (Walsh) win provides hope that second chances truly are possible,” said Forbes. “Just when everyone was counting him out he was able to pull it out, like he has done so many times in his life and career.”
Ruggiero said the win was a testimony to their volunteer’s passion for Walsh.
“They knew the only poll that mattered was the one on election day,” said Ruggiero. “Day in and day out they were bound and determined to get Marty’s (Walsh) message across to every voter in east Boston whether by phone, door knocking or social media. This dedication was paramount in our success and reflected the dedication the candidate had to be of service to our great city as the next mayor of Boston.”
For his part, Walsh said he was humbled by his support here in Eastie and citywide.
“I am grateful and honored for the elections results,” said Walsh. “For this kid from Taft Street in Dorchester, you’ve made Boston a place where dreams come true. This victory is your victory.”
Last week Walsh met with Mayor Thomas Menino to begin transition discussions. “Mayor Menino’s legacy is a world-class City, a vibrant economy, and a strong fiscal position,” said Walsh. “And he’s done it while never forgetting where he came from and the people he serves. I am grateful to be guided by his strength and leadership.”