Walsh wins 2nd term in Boston; other cities elect mayors
BOSTON (AP) — Marty Walsh swept to a second four-year term as Boston’s mayor on Tuesday, turning back a challenge from City Councilor Tito Jackson, who argued that income inequality was putting the city out of reach for too many residents.
Boston was among several dozen Massachusetts communities that held nonpartisan municipal elections.
A historic vote took place in Framingham, where Yvonne Spicer was elected the city’s first mayor. The MetroWest community opted this year to change its charter and transition from a town to a city.
In Lawrence, voters decided the latest round in a bitter political rivalry between Mayor Dan Rivera and former Mayor William Lantigua. Rivera, who ousted Lantigua from office in a narrow election four years ago, remains mayor after winning a rematch on Tuesday.
In Newton, Ruthanne Fuller defeated fellow City Councilor Scott Lennon by a razor-tight margin in the race to succeed outgoing Mayor Setti Warren, who’s seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.
Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants, overcame childhood cancer and a bout with alcoholism as a young man to launch a successful career in politics, beginning in the state Legislature. He emerged from a crowded field four years ago to succeed the city’s longest-serving mayor, the late Thomas Menino.
In his victory speech at a Boston hotel Tuesday night, he thanked campaign staff and volunteers for running a positive and diverse campaign throughout the city.
“You are union members, you are housing advocates, you are artists, you are members of the LGBT community, you are women and you are seniors,” Walsh said. “You are Boston.”
Jackson, who hoped to become the city’s first black mayor, called Walsh to concede. He told supporters the campaign wasn’t about him or Walsh but about income inequality.
“It’s always been about the people of the city of Boston and their future and what they need,” said Jackson, a lifelong resident of the city’s Roxbury neighborhood. “It has to be about deconstructing the structures of oppression ... that have uplifted some people and kept some people down.”
Jackson had argued that soaring rents and property values were pricing many residents out of the city. Walsh touted creation of more than 20,000 units of affordable housing since taking office.
Boston has had only four mayors in the last 50 years, and no incumbent has lost a re-election bid since James Michael Curley was defeated in 1949.
Spicer, a former educator and vice president at Boston’s Museum of Science, defeated former state Rep. John Stefanini in Framingham’s first mayoral election. She addressed supporters on the steps of Town Hall, soon to become City Hall.
“I could not have done this without the support of my team ... and all of the people who dedicated hundreds of hours of time and energy to make sure that I would win this race,” said Spicer, whose victory was doubly historic as she will be the first popularly elected black woman mayor in Massachusetts.
Not all incumbents around the state survived re-election bids.
State Sen. Thomas McGee unseated Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy. McGee, a former state Democratic Party chairman, hails from a well-known political family in the city. His father, also named Thomas McGee, served as speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the 1970s.
In Attleboro, Mayor Kevin Dumas, who had led the city since 2004, was defeated by state Rep. Paul Heroux.