Newcomer Andrea Campbell has scored an impressive debut victory in her challenge of longtime District 4 incumbent Charles Yancey in a preliminary election that was marred by a record-low turnout of voters.
The result, once it is certified by state election officials, will set up a two way battle in November between Campbell and Yancey, who has faced multiple challengers over his 32 year career, but had never lost a preliminary contest.
That will change tonight, according to unofficial results shared with The Reporter that show Campbell winning the top spot with 1,982 votes. Yancey finished second with 1,159, followed by Terrence Williams at 227 and Jovan Lacet at 59.
Campbell credited her win to a robust campaign that began last year.
"We said we were going to run a true grassroots campaign," she said, on her way to a post-election party at the Blarney Stone in Fields Corner.
She thanked her volunteers and said they were already gearing up for the next leg.
"We've still got a lot of work to do."
In a press release issued by her campaign, Campbell alleged that she had been the target of "rumors and negative campaign tactics her opposition is employing in an effort to impede her momentum."
“Although some would like to paint me as an outsider, the results tonight clearly show that the support I have is from this community," said Campbell in the statement. "Despite some of the tactics being used against us, I assure you that I will continue to carry myself and this campaign with the positivity and grace that I believe this community deserves.”
The election day was a moribund affair, marked by the lowest turnout rate in recorded history. Only two of the city's council districts were active, since there were not enough challengers outside of District 4 and 7 to trigger a run-off. There are only five candidates for the four at-large council seats— also not enough to necessitate a citywide preliminary.
Polling stations in District 4 were sleepy throughout the day, but there were some places that were busier than others. One was the Groveland Community Room polling station in Ward 18-Precinct 1; As darkness fell at the location just off of River Street in Mattapan, voters wandered in one at a time or in groups of up to three. Several were confused, as their voting districts had changed in 2012.
A volunteer for Yancey's campaign said at least nine voters had tried to cast ballots, only to be sent off due to their district.
Alvin Campbell, 35, Campbell's older brother, dropped off three voters. Two of them -- Antoinette Alcide, 78, and Joseph Alcide, 80, were unable to walk to their polling station and called the campaign for help. Their tenant, 41-year-old Stephen Dominguez, also joined them to vote.
"We live in the neighborhood, and we can do something for the neighborhood," Joseph said. "For many years, we've been voting for Yancey, but sometimes change is better."
At just past 5 p.m., the pace began picking up slightly at the Lower Mills Branch of the Boston Public Library.
Poll workers said the day had been slow, and at 6, the Election Department reported 132 residents had voted in the precinct, with 9.9 percent precinct turnout.
Campaigners for Yancey and Williams waited outside, flanked by posters for both candidates. Response was mixed from exiting voters.
Shontis Rivers, 32, and her husband Emil Rivers, 34, said they supported Yancey. The couple, who lives on River Street, wanted consistency in their district.
"He's done a lot for the community over the years," Emil Rivers said. Shontis said Campbell seemed like "a good person, but not the right fit."
A newcomer to the neighborhood, 33-year-old Lori Greenwood said she liked the idea of a new face in her district.
She was voting for Campbell, she said. "I really like what she has to say," Greenwood said. "I think she has a really good energy, and I feel like it's maybe time for a change."