Dedication, civil manner mark scene at Dot’s polling places

Hoisting signs, handing out emery boards, and calling candidates’ names, volunteers at several local polling places made a strong but civil final push for their candidates in the hopes that a last-minute recommendation from a friend or neighbor would sway voters when they went into the booth.

At midday Tuesday, about two dozen campaigners lined each side of the walkway to the door of Florian Hall – a frequent stop of candidates and a hotspot for electioneering ­– greeting a steady stream of voters energized by the contested mayoral race between Mayor Menino and Councilor Flaherty.

And although the race has been heated at times, the mood at Florian seemed mostly friendly, with those toting green Menino signs working the area alongside those with the red and blue Flaherty signs. At times, people wearing the stickers of opposing candidates would chitchat or shake hands.

“We all have to live together afterward,” said Sean Weir, president of the Cedar Grove Civic Association, as he stumped for Menino and council candidates Stephen Murphy and Tomas Gonzalez. He pointed toward the Flaherty supporters and said he grew up with many of them and that their differences in the election would be set aside by Wednesday.

While many at Florian were regular Election Day campaigners, this election also brought out city firefighters, who have been highly critical of Menino and had endorsed Flaherty. William P. Carroll, a retired firefighter, said it is Menino’s policies that brought him out to campaign for Flaherty.

At the Adams Street Branch Library, one voter shook the hands of a Flaherty volunteer and said, “You’ve got mine, pal.” A few minutes later, voter J. Burns nodded affirmatively at Menino supporters. “He’s done a lot. He’s out there on the streets with the people,” Burns said of the mayor.

Mid-morning at the Edward Everett Elementary School on Pleasant Street, a slow trickle of voters walked past volunteers stumping outside the polls on the crisp morning. Poll workers and volunteers plugging for candidates on both sides of the mayors’ race enjoyed coffee and pastries delivered courtesy of State Rep. Marty Walsh.

Jones Hill resident George Edwards, who was hoping to swing undecided voters Flaherty’s way, said turnout had been good. “I’m glad to see all my neighbors out here voting,” said Edwards, who has stood out for candidates frequently.

Ed Geary Jr., who gave out cards for Menino, said it seemed there was more excitement for the preliminary than there was Tuesday, with the mayoral contest down to two candidates. Geary grew up across the street from the school and said he has worked outside the polls for more than 15 years.

And even before Tuesday’s voting was over, some campaigners were on to the next one – the Dec. 8 primary for U.S. Senate. Many of the polling place regulars will be back drinking coffee and handing out fliers again then.

“No matter how contested the race, we’re all friends and neighbors around here,” said St. Brendan Road resident Dan Cullinane as he handed out fliers for Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Senate campaign at Florian Hall. “After this one, everyone will put these signs away and pick up some more.”