Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Ethnic Blocs Key in Boston Race Italian-American Faces Irish-American in City Traditionally Run by Irish Politicians

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Ethnic Blocs Key in Boston Race Italian-American Faces Irish-American in City Traditionally Run by Irish Politicians

Article excerpt

IN a city that takes its politics as seriously as its sports teams, two candidates now begin the final phase of what promises to be a lively fall campaign for Boston mayor.

Acting Mayor Thomas Menino and state Rep. James Brett, both Democrats, were the two top vote-getters out of a field of seven Democrats and one Republican in the nonpartisan preliminary election held Tuesday.

After an unusually civil summer campaign, Mr. Menino garnered 27 percent of the vote, while Mr. Brett pulled in 22 percent. They will face off in the Nov. 2 special general election, called because longtime Mayor Raymond Flynn left the city this summer to take on the United States ambassadorship to the Vatican.

In a Monitor interview conducted after early election results became known, Menino said he will discuss the following themes in the next few weeks: developing the downtown waterfront, reforming public schools, and improving public safety in the nation's 20th largest city.

"Our proposals will be concrete proposals," he said. "They won't be pie in the sky, they will be Tom Menino's proposals. Just like Tom Menino: practical and real." Menino - a little-known city councilor elevated to council president, then acting mayor - clearly benefited from his 2-1/2 month stint in that office.

Despite changing demographics over the last decade - an influx of minorities, especially, and white newcomers - analysts say the results of the preliminary contest show little variation from traditional ethnic voting patterns in the rough-and-tumble world of Boston politics. Specifically, the strong showing of Menino, an Italian-American, and Brett, an Irish-American, came as no surprise.

"As the electorate shrinks as a percentage of the population, it becomes like foreign countries where there is a voting class," notes Lawrence DiCara, former city mayoral candidate. "In this case, the people who are the very regular voters are middle-class Irish and Italian people, many of them public employees. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.