Reporter’s Notebook: Poll shows Pressley, Wu looking good in at-large finale

City Councillor At-Large Ayanna Pressley and Michelle Wu, a former campaign aide to US Sen. Elizabeth Warren, topped a poll on the eight-way race for four at-large council slots that was released early this week. A Boston Herald/Suffolk University poll, primarily focused on the mayoral race and given out on Monday morning, showed Pressley with 19 percent and Wu with 17 percent. Rounding out the top four were former Councillor At-Large Michael Flaherty, who is looking to get back on the 13-member council, at 14 percent and Council President Stephen Murphy at 12 percent. The survey, which carried a margin of error of 4 percentage points, involved 600 likely voters.
As to the rest of the field, South End attorney Jeff Ross garnered 9 percent and Dorchester’s Annissa Essaibi George, West Roxbury’s Martin Keogh, and Charlestown’s Jack Kelly were tied at 6 percent.
Wu finished in fourth place in the preliminary, which featured 19 candidates. Pressley, running for a third term, topped the ticket with 16.7 percent, while Flaherty garnered 15.5 percent. Murphy, who was elected to the council in 1997, received 12.3 percent. There was a sharp drop-off in vote totals between fourth place and fifth place: Wu received 29,359 votes while Keogh, a former City Hall aide, received 15,734, Ross picked up 12,929, and Kelly got 11,900.

The poll was published as Ross rolled out several endorsements, including those coming from District 7 Councillor Tito Jackson, the National Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, the Ward 10 Democratic Committee in Mission Hill and Jamaica Plain, and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund.

Wu picked up the endorsement of the North End’s Phil Frattaroli, who received 5,800 votes in the preliminary and didn’t make the cut. “Having gotten to know Michelle, I am proud to endorse her campaign,” Frattaroli wrote on Twitter. “Her passion & experience will make her a strong advocate in City Hall.”

Golar Richie adviser defends third place finish

A top adviser to former state Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie’s mayoral campaign rejected criticism of her candidate and said there had been “quite a bit of unfairness” directed toward her.

Joyce Ferriabough Bolling, a local political consultant, pushed back on the criticism that Golar Richie didn’t have a “message” during the campaign in a recent interview on “Talk of the Neighborhoods,” a local chat show hosted by Joe Heisler. “Please,” she said. “She started from nothing, she’s within striking distance of the second person who’s on the ballot now, beats the guy with the biggest bank, [Suffolk District Attorney Dan] Conley. And yet she has no message? That in and of itself doesn’t make sense. Maybe her message wasn’t as fine-tuned as you would like it to be.”

Ferriabough Bolling also criticized the Boston Globe, and one of the paper’s columnists, Larry Harmon, who described the Golar Richie campaign as “dysfunctional.” “Four days before the election, a columnist comes out with something like that? It’s just, it’s beyond belief somebody would do something like that,” she said. Ferriabough Bolling added: “And I have to also say that, the fact that you know folks were saying, ‘Well, you know, putting it around one person, it lacks democracy.’ Come on, give me a break.”

When Heisler pointed a meeting in early September where several community activists attempted to galvanize support behind Golar Richie, Ferriabough Bolling said the idea of “coalescing” around a single candidate of color was a “numerical, smart move.” Word of the meeting infuriated supporters of John Barros, a fellow candidate who was the first person of Cape Verdean descent to serve on the School Committee.

“Let me just say, first of all, the candidate knew nothing about it, ok?” Ferriabough Bolling said of Golar Richie. “Sometimes, these guys think that they know strategy better than you. But I just think that had anybody known about it, we would have said look, this is the kind …” “Leave it be,” Heisler offered. “Thank you,” Ferriabough Bolling said, “but it did open a fissure.”

With 12 candidates in the race, there were too many to choose from and not enough distinction between them, Ferriabough Bolling said. “With Charlotte, it was always not enough money, [no] message, but she kept zooming in the polls. So it was clear that she was rising. And so there were some things at play, some her, the campaign, maybe, I would agree to that, but I think that certain institutions feel that they need to shape who our leaders are. I think that people in this community see right through it. But I think that it’s wrong.”

Heisler brought up the Globe endorsement, which went to City Councillor At-Large John Connolly and Barros.

“In our community, I mean, we read the Herald,” Ferriabough Bolling said. “Sorry, Globe. But we do read the Herald. But I’m sure that having lost the Globe endorsement, she lost a few liberal voters who probably went to John Barros. But you know, I mean, a lot of people look at it as they chose the weakest person of color to insure that, you know, their real pick got it.”

Asked about her comment, Barros told the Reporter, “For the people who look at it that way, it’s a very convenient way to feel better that their candidate didn’t get the endorsement.”

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