8 set for council run

By 
Gintautas Dumcius and Mike Deehan, Reporter Staff
Sep. 23, 2009

Boston voters – and name recognition – propelled two incumbents to first and second place, with six newcomers rounding out the rest of the pack of candidates seeking the four City Council At-Large seats.

The top four vote-getters – and the people the other candidates will attempt to beat on Nov. 3 to win a seat – are Councillors At-Large Stephen Murphy and John Connolly, Felix G. Arroyo, a labor organizer and the son of the former city councilor, and former U.S. Senate aide Ayanna Pressley.

Connolly, who was also juggling the birth of a baby, received 35,115 votes, or 18 percent of the vote, to top the ticket while Murphy garnered 30,311, or 15.6 percent. After their vote totals came a sheer drop in votes cast for the other candidates.

Murphy, who was second from the bottom of the ballot of 15 candidates, said a campaign adviser told him that “every one of those 30-odd thousand votes – they had to hunt for you to find you.” Added Murphy, a Dorchester native who grew up in Hyde Park, ““Those are not cavalier votes, those are supporters. I take great pride in that.”

Pressley, referring to her position on the ballot, said that she and campaign volunteers had adopted the motto that “eight is great,” telling told supporters at Tavolo’s in the Ashmont area of Dorchester, ““I’ll tell you what, I like number four a lot better.”

At Pressley’s party, she was introduced by City Council President Michael Ross, who said he was endorsing the first-time candidate. District 3 Councillor Maureen Feeney also spoke.

“For me as the sole woman on the council I can’t tell you excited I am,” Feeney said. “Once again Dorchester leads the way.”

About 150 supporters crammed in to hear Pressley, who thanked dozens of supporters – starting with her mother – by name.

The fifteen candidates reflected the city’s growing diversity: there were six blacks, two Latinos, and one Vietnamese-American who had come over as a baby. The field was also ideologically diverse, with a Libertarian candidate and a pair of Republicans.

Pressley came in at 16,846 votes, or 8.7 percent, while Arroyo received the third highest number of votes: 25,821 votes, or 13.3 percent. “We made sure that our campaign was in every neighborhood and the principles of collaborative politics resonated with voters,” said Arroyo, who leads in union endorsements, having gathered about 25 of them.

After Pressley’s vote total came another drop-off. Andrew Kenneally, who has worked in City Hall for City Councillor At-Large Michael Flaherty and in Congress for the late Joseph Moakley, received 12,632 votes, or 6.5 percent.

“I always love a challenge,” he said. “And things always change. These at-large races can change substantially. I think like most candidates, we’re going to take the next couple of days to look over the results, see where we did well, where we didn’t do well, look at our strategy and improve it a little.”

Rounding out the eight who will appear on the ballot: Tito Jackson, a Patrick administration official on leave from his job, who received 12,520 votes, or 6.45 percent; Doug Bennett, a former Nantucket selectman who has been campaigning for the job for nearly two years and has knocked on over 80,000 doors, coming in with 10,519 votes, or 5.4 percent; and Tomas Gonzalez, former chief of staff to the Boston Elderly Commission, with 10,108 votes, or 5.20 percent.

The rest of the candidates on the ballot garnered 39,784 votes among them. Ego Ezedi, the former head of the Roxbury YMCA, received 9,245 votes, while Fields Corner accountant Hiep Quoc Nguyen gained 7,682. Libertarian Sean Ryan, who works as a hot dog vendor at Fenway Park, won over 6,654 voters.

Mattapan activist Jean-Claude Sanon and Robert Fortes, an MBTA manager and son of a former state representative, placed twelfth and thirteenth, respectively.

Boston EMT Bill Trabucco, who lives in Dorchester, received 3,126 votes, finishing ahead of Roxbury business consultant Scotland Willis, who was in last place.

Trabucco, who refused to take donations and said he would only accept voters’ trust, said if he were to run again he would need to be on the campaign trail full time and have a dedicated staff.

“I commend all fourteen of my running mates,” Trabucco said. “It’s an enormous task to run for elected office.”

Reporter managing editor Bill Forry contributed to this report.