13 hours until polls open in Boston....
there were 15 names on the ballot for at-large. But the bottom 7, who
were knocked out, were non-factors: combined they received just over
13% of the total votes cast. (There were 40,802 ballots, with 128,246
total votes.) The top vote-getter in the prelim (Flaherty) took just
about 14% of the votes, while the 8th-place (Ed Flynn) took close to
9%. Then there was a huge gap to 9th place, which was perennial
candidate Althea Garrison, who got less than 4%. This year, the bottom
7 will almost certainly take a lot more of the vote than in
'05. That means it should take less than 9% to make the top 8. So,
let's say 60,000 people vote, averaging a little over 3 votes per
ballot. That's 200,000 votes. Let's say it takes 7% to make the cut;
that's 14,000 votes. But that's 14,000 different voters -- or 23% of
the total. You gotta get marked by nearly a quarter of all voters just
to survive tomorrow? Yipe!!! Most of these challengers started with
name-recognition below 5%. I'm not sure what my point here is, but it's
a daunting task for even the best of these unknowns.
what helps get you marked on 23% of ballots? Knocking on 80,000 doors.
That's why some folks I talk to think that Doug Bennett will get into
the top 8 tomorrow.
--When I first heard that Robert Fortes was thinking of running for at-large Boston City Council, I was intrigued.
But I kind of lost interest as he failed to raise much money and didn't
seem to be popping up on the radar of people I talk to. But with his
endorsements from both the Globe and Herald, perhaps
he's got a shot at getting through the preliminary. His father is
extremely well-respected in parts of the city (I've run into several
people who said they're voting for him b/c of his dad), and he's an
impressive, very likeable guy in person. Whether he can do well enough
to be a factor, despite a lack of organizational ground game, is
--Both Ego Ezedi and Ayanna Pressley have made
public statements against bullet voting (Ezedi on Facebook, Pressley on
Blue Mass Group), and Felix Arroyo told me he's speaking out against
the practice as well. What they, or some of their supporters, may be
doing privately I don't know, but I do think that a line may be getting
drawn that could have a post-prelim effect. If, after the prelim, any
of the minority candidates try to join forces to create a "slate," I
suspect that they will be disinclined to include any candidate who they
know has been courting bullets.
--Speaking of Ezedi... the poor
guy's got an obvious dilemma trying to please both the (generally
conservative) black ministers whose support he needs, and the
progressives whose votes he wants. Seems to me he's tried meeting the
progressives more than half-way, with full support of gay marriage,
pro-choice on everything but parental notification for young teens, and
opposition to the BU biolab that he was once spokesperson for. But with
so many other options, why should progressives settle? The remaining
differences are enough to have cost him some endorsements, and probably
quite a few progressive votes.
--Andrew Kenneally has run a very
effective campaign, and he speaks knowledgably and passionately about
the city's issues. But I think it may be off-putting to voters that he
defines his candidacy first and foremost by his terrifying battle with
a brain tumor last fall. Don't get me wrong -- I have tremendous
empathy and admiration for him, and it's certainly part of his story
that deserves a place in his pitch. But I think it may be a political
mistake to lead off with it, and to make it his 'why I'm running'
answer. To me, it comes across a little like he's trying to get your vote out of
sympathy (which I don't believe is his intention), and also a little
like he's running for personal (ie selfish), rather than public-service
reasons (which is really true of almost all candidates, but it's
comforting to voters that they pretend otherwise).
--I get the
sense that there are some campaigns hoping that Tomas Gonzalez ends up
as odd man out, falling short of the top 8. Why? Because he's got one
of the better organizations around, and other campaigns would love to
get a shot at recruiting that talent.
--If you're looking to
gather with the candidates' supporters tomorrow night, here's where
they'll be (the ones I know of so far): Arroyo, James Gate in JP;
Connolly, Robyns in Roslindale; Ezedi, Ezedi HQ in Dorchester;
Gonzalez, Dogwood Cafe, JP; Jackson, Charlesmark Hotel in Back Bay;
Kenneally, the Corrib in W. Rox; Murphy, Doyle's in JP; Pressley,
Tavolo in Dorchester.