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A Day On The Campaign Trail With Mayoral Candidate John Connolly

By Mary Blake, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
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John Connolly (WBZ-TV)

John Connolly (WBZ-TV)

420x316-grad-blake1 Mary Blake
Mary Blake is an award-winning reporter and anchor who joined WBZ News...
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BOSTON (CBS) — “I was happy to see you have a new endorsement in Charles Clemons, but I wonder why you think the other candidates of color opted to go with your opponent?” That was one of several questions posed to John Connolly as he met with a group of voters at the Asian American Civic Association in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood last Friday.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake reports

Clemons had endorsed Connolly a few hours earlier that day.

“Look, I think that each elected official endorses for a different reason. I think some of the political talking points around it are political talking points and not much else. I’ve worked collaboratively with a number of those elected officials and I always will, whether they endorse me or not,” said Connolly.

The Chinatown stop was one of many in a string of hectic days.

“I’m up at 5:30 and then the first stop could be at 6 or 6:30, ” said Connolly. He continued. “I usually get home about 11 and I try to get in bed by midnight, and, uh, I don’t usually don’t fall asleep until 1, just ‘cuz of a lot of anxiety, ” laughed Connolly.

Connolly says even though he has campaigned across the city as an at-large city councilor over six years, The mayor’s race is a whole different ballgame.

“I would do 12 events in a day in a City Council reelection and think that was a big day and now the minimum I’m doing is about 18 events, and sometimes we’re getting up over 20 in a day, but I like it. It’s exciting. It’s energizing,” said Connolly.

Connolly credits his wife, Meg, a psychologist specializing in community mental health, for paving the way at home.

“She left her job to be at home and really give my kids an anchor at home while I’m gone so much, so she’s been incredible,” said Walsh. He also says days still can be hard. “The newborn isn’t so tough because I can see her when I get home late at night. It’s toughest on my four and five-year old because they’re sound asleep and sometimes I’m gone before they wake up.” He adds, “They get the race though. They understand the race. They see the signs and pay attention. I think they’re counting the days.”

Connolly made his comments as he walked from a senior center in Charlestown to a local coffee shop down the street. Wayne Black, at the senior center, said he was impressed because Connolly declared early.

“He was the first one to speak up and then all of these other people decided we’re gonna go on the bandwagon,” Black said.

Connolly worked his way through the crowds. He was comfortable at the senior center and joked with the crowd there.

“You can’t forget the seniors, and I’ve learned enough in six years as a City Councilor that you’d better not talk too long when there is Bingo to be played,” he said. The crowd laughed and applauded.

On the campaign trail, Connolly makes a point of saying he is not a one issue candidate.

“That may be the biggest misconception about me. I think I just speak so passionately about education that I’ve become known for that, and I don’t think of it as a single issue, period. I think of it as a connective issue,” said Connolly.

He says fundraisers in the home stretch are not taking up the lion’s share of his time.

“At this point, the money’s raised and we just spend all our time trying to shake hands with voters and talk to as many voters as possible,” he said.

The final event of Connolly’s day on Friday was a Get Out the Vote Rally in Roslindale. His mother, Linda Connolly, was there.

“The energy as we come into this last weekend is just fantastic,” she declared.

Connolly’s wife Meg was also on hand.

“They are very long days, but I think John and I both are very energized about his vision and believe in it so deeply for the city and for our children and everyone’s children,” she said.

In his 30 minute speech, Connolly touched for a moment on family life, recounting Halloween night.

“I was coming from my stops and Meg was corralling Claire and Teddy and Mary Kate, getting the costumes on and getting everything ready, coming over and then ran into some of the worst traffic in the world. I was worried Halloween itself would be in danger for Claire and Teddy and Mary Kate was dressed as a pumpkin, I don’t know if she realized that , but I got on the phone and said “Where are you?” Then, I could just hear Mary Kate screaming in the minivan and I immediately said, ‘I’m sorry, please allow me to apologize. I’m very sorry, you take your time. I’ll be here waiting,’ recounted

Connolly to supporters’ laughter and applause. He also touched on contentious issues in the campaign. “Even as we speak right now, we’ve seen $500,00 come into a group that no one knows anything about,” Connolly said. Connolly said the best part of his day was his last event. “These people have given me so much of their lives and I want to make sure they know how much I appreciate it and what it means to me.” The event ended with chants of “John Connolly.”

The crowd was fired up for the homestretch. The voters have their say tomorrow.

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