For candidates, a march up the avenue of possibilities

Rep. Marty Walsh: Walked/ran parade route with large contingent. Photo by Bill ForryRep. Marty Walsh: Walked/ran parade route with large contingent. Photo by Bill ForryThe parade of candidates for City Hall offices marched down sun-lit Dorchester Avenue on Sunday, with contenders and their supporters crisscrossing the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare in their bids for visibility and votes.

State Rep. Marty Walsh, who has represented Savin Hill for 16 years, boasted the largest contingent, with a few dozen supporters clad in deep blue shirts marching with him along the 3.2-mile route.

The annual parade celebration of the settlement of Dorchester 383 years ago featured the candidates mixed in with clowns, dancers, and drummers.

The other candidates from Dorchester also made their way down the avenue, chugging water on a sweaty early summer afternoon: former state Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie, community activists Bill Walczak and John Barros, radio station co-founder Charles Clemons, and District 4 Councillor Charles Yancey. City Councillors Ayanna Pressley and Tito Jackson, both running for reelection, walked together for some of the route. State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, set to ascend to the state Senate on June 13, also marched, as did Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins.

The parade also featured several statewide candidates: Steve Kerrigan, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in 2014, and a lone Republican, Gabriel Gomez, a businessman and former Navy SEAL who is vying for the US Senate seat that John Kerry left open after taking the top job at the US State Department. His Democratic opponent is Ed Markey, a Malden Democrat and a longtime congressman.

Before the parade started, Gomez made his way down Richmond Street, where many of the floats and other candidates were stationed, waiting for the signal from organizers that it was their turn to move up and onto Dorchester Avenue.

The candidate, who had run the annual Corrib Class 5K Road Race in West Roxbury with about 1,700 people earlier that morning, gamely shook hands and asked for votes.

“This is a great day, Dorchester Day,” he said. Acknowledging he is a Republican in Massachusetts, Gomez added, “I will say there’s not many Republicans in the state. So our goal obviously is to reach out, get a lot of Democrats, a lot of independents.”

At one point, a man dressed as a clown and using a wheelchair rolled up to Gomez as he spoke with reporters. “I love your story, man,” the clown said. “Just sorry you’re a Republican.”

“You know what? You can still go to heaven if you vote for me,” Gomez quipped.

“Oh, naw, naw,” the clown said.

“Ah, see that’s bad information, man,” Gomez said. “All right? Hey, vote your heart and your conscience, okay? Don’t vote the party.”