Four Incumbents Win At-Large Seats on City Council

Challenger Michael Flaherty closely trailed incumbent Stephen Murphy, according to the city's unofficial election results.

The four incumbent candidates for Boston's at-large city council seats all won their re-election bids Tuesday, with former city council member Michael Flaherty trailing behind Stephen Murphy by 922 votes, according to the unofficial results posted on the city's web site

Ayanna Pressley, the lone woman on the council, won the most votes, with 21.42 percent. She was followed by Felix Arroyo with 20.26 percent, John Connolly with 18.74 percent and Murphy with 15.26 percent. Flaherty received 14.73 percent. 

By 10:30 p.m., the city was reporting 100 percent of the results from Boston's 254 voting precincts. To see the tally, check the city's election web site.

District races

There were close races in Districts 2 and 3 on Tuesday. In District, challenger Suzanne Lee collected 4,978 votes, but incumbent Bill Linehan pulled ahead (barely) with 5,065 votes. And in District 3, which represents Dorchester, Frank Baker bested John O'Toole by 1,142 votes. Reportedly, O'Toole called Baker to concede. Baker will replace Maureen Feeney, the district councilor who opted to not seek re-election.  

In District 4, incumbent Charles Yancey beat his challenger J.R. Rucker with 89 percent of the vote. And in District 7, incumbent Tito Jackson held a strong lead over challenger Sheneal Parker, with about 84 percent of the vote. The district largely covers Roxbury.

Councilors in the remaining six district races ran unopposed. 

On Tuesday night, Patch editors were out in the city at post-election parties for candidates. Here's a round-up from the events.

Pressley: 'Girls rock and women can rule!'

At-Large incumbent Ayanna Pressley greeted a crowd of supporters Tuesday night at Tavolo in Dorchester, including Gov. Deval Patrick and his wife. Many pundits had predicted Pressley was *the* vulnerable incumbent in this year's election, but in the end, Pressley collected the highest number of votes around the city. 

"We had 500 boots on the streets today," she said. "I am so humbled. I can't believe what we have accomplished. The whole city was represented on that sidewalk."

Pressley's supporters praised her victory as a crucial win for diversity on the council. She is the lone woman serving now. "Girls rock and women can rule," she told the crowd Tuesday night.

Connolly 'humbled' by support from communities of color

At John Connolly's victory party at the , supporters gossiped back and forth as numbers poured in through the city.

Around 9 p.m., Connolly entered to applause with a big smile on his face. He made his way to the stage and thanked his wife, Meg, first for taking up some of his family duties during the last couple of weeks leading up to the election.

Connolly thanked staff members, campaign workers, supporters, family and added, "I will miss a thousand names... you've been financially generous, stood at polls... volunteers have been living in our headquarters morning, noon and night..."

He joked that he'd be missing the next couple of weeks of events so he can tuck his children in at night.

"I am thrilled tonight to be reelected. I am overjoyed to be reelected. I can't wait to go back to work tomorrow," said Connolly. "... I know you wanted to top the ticket. It's not about that."

"I got more votes in communities in color than I ever did before. I'm humbled by that," said Connolly. 

Arroyo celebrates 'Our Boston' in JP

Re-elected City Councilor Felix Arroyo joined a throng of family, supporters and staff at James's Gate pub in Jamaica Plain on Tuesday night.

As Arroyo made his remarks to the crowd, a friend of Arroyo in the audience yelled, "It's a New Boston!" That's a reference to previous City Council elections in which people of color made historic gains.

"I’m going to correct him just a little bit. I think he'll appreciate this. This is Our Boston now," Arroyo said to the crowd. "This is a Boston that’s diverse in race, in gender, in sexual orientation, in economic class and I’m going to do everything I can to keep it that way. And I plan to do it with you. We’re going to have one hell of another two years.”

Arroyo's father, Felix D. Arroyo, was a trailblazing figure in Boston politics, becoming the first Latino to win a City Council seat. The elder Arroyo attended the festivities and spoke before his son.

And an almost-victory party for Flaherty

Michael Flaherty isn't ruling out the possibility of a recount, after losing by such a narrow margin.

He spent election night in a packed room at Cornerstone Pub in South Boston. The mood quickly changed from festive anticipation to disappointment as he thanked his supporters for months of hard work and campaigning. 

"What can I say other that it just wasn't in the cards," he said. As for a recount, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I haven't even seen the numbers so it's something for tomorrow." 

Some people were visibly upset, hugging each other and crying as they filed out of the bar.

"Mike was good for everybody," said South Boston resident Cathylee Melchin. "I believed in him when he ran for mayor. I believed in him for this race. And if he runs for any other seat, I'll believe in him then." 

When asked if Mayor Thomas M. Menino's support of the city council incumbents made a difference, "Everything makes a difference," Flaherty said. 

Kasey Hariman November 09, 2011 at 06:08 PM
This seems pretty negative. I'll have to disagree with you here--the people of Boston do not deserve corruption and waste, no matter who they vote into office.
Kasey Hariman November 09, 2011 at 06:22 PM
The cabbage patch! But, in all seriousness, I have no idea. My guess (or hope?) is that once people become dissatisfied enough with a particular politician, someone would step up and decide to take on political career, and then the electorate could determine their viability based on the typical factors (education, transferrable experience, etc.), but we know this doesn't always happen. I think a viable candidate could be found anywhere, but that it's not so much a process of finding a candidate who is all set and ready to win, but instead a process of encouraging smart, caring people to consider a career (or just a term) in politics. Do you agree?
Deb Nam-Krane November 09, 2011 at 08:00 PM
Did we really have less than 20% of the electorate come out? Shameful.
Max "Jay" P. November 09, 2011 at 08:53 PM
District 6, which includes most of JP, had a 24% turnout. Not bad considering that Matt O'Malley was running unopposed. Is it shameful that Boston doesn't have more vigorous municipal politics? Perhaps, but lack of electoral participation is certainly tied to lack of choice, no?
Deb Nam-Krane November 09, 2011 at 10:52 PM
There were 7 people running for four At-Large seats. That's choice. 24% is marginally better than under 20%, but not something to get excited about when we had another contested race to vote in.


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