By Beth Treffeisen and Seth Daniel
In a race that seemed to fluctuate between close and not-so-close as the night went on Tuesday, the District 2 race finished in a bit of a nail biter, with Councilor-elect Ed Flynn winning out at the wire over Mike Kelley by around 500 votes.
Flynn won the district-wide vote 7,458 (52 percent) to Kelley’s 6,950 (48 percent). However, Kelley easily won the South End/Bay Village vote, beating Flynn 3,741 votes to 1,313 votes.
“I am so proud of the positive, grassroots campaign we built across each and every neighborhood in District 2 – from the South End to Chinatown, Bay Village to South Boston,” said Flynn. “This election was about bringing people together and working collaboratively towards an inclusive vision for District 2. I’m honored to have earned such a broad-based support and look forward to working closely with residents on the quality-of-life issues that matter to them.”
That race had been highlighted by lackluster voter turnout in the Preliminary Election in September, with Flynn easily beating Kelley. It appeared to be the same script on Tuesday night as Flynn pulled away with about half the vote in, buoyed by strong results in his favor coming out of the Ward 6 Southie precincts.
Then, with about 80 percent of the vote in, Kelley began to surge and the race narrowed considerably. But it didn’t prove enough to beat Flynn, who showed strength in South Boston that overpowered the rest of the district. It was, still, the closest race of the evening in Boston – even closer than the hotly contested, nip-and-tuck race in District 1 that featured Lydia Edwards and Stephen Passacantilli.
As one Kelley supporter said once it was decided, “We came within spitting distance again.”
In a statement released on Twitter after the election results came in Kelly wrote, “I am so proud of Team Kelly! We built a progressive movement dedicated to a District 2 for everyone. Thousands of voters agree with our inclusive ‘putting people first’ agenda.”
“This doesn’t end tonight, my friends,” Kelly continued. “We are just getting started.”
For the South End and Bay Village, the push was on since last summer to try to get a candidate that wasn’t from South Boston. Many in those neighborhoods have considered their representation in the past to be marginal and their neighborhoods to be marginalized, often in the shadows of the powerful Southie voting blocks.
So it was the big push came to get the vote out in the South End and Bay Village over the last two weeks. The neighborhoods were energized as they have been for no campaign in several years.
Sign holding, petitions, campaign stickers and all of the old-time political fun was on display.
However, to take the crown, Kelley needed to penetrate somewhat into South Boston.
That did not happen, though, as Flynn was untouchable there.
In Wards 6 and 7, Flynn scored huge victories, winning 14 of 15 precincts. In Ward 6, Precinct 6, he beat Kelley 440-94.
But the South End showed some prowess along the way too.
At Cathedral High polling station in Ward 3, Precinct 3, Kelley scored 1,036 votes. Not even Flynn garnered more than 1,000 votes at a single precinct. Also, at the McKinley School in Ward 4, Precinct 1, Kelley got more than 500 votes to Flynn’s 82.
There were certainly highlights for the South End, but it wasn’t enough to carry the district.
- In District 8, a hard-fought race by first time candidate Kristen Mobilia didn’t make headway in an upward battle against defeating well-known incumbent candidate Josh Zakim. Zakim beat Mobilia 67 percent to 32 percent. Zakim won the majority of the districts with Mobilia just barley sneaking by with the win at the Boston Arts Academy and Simmons College in the Fenway. Zakim did not return with a response for comment in time for publication of this article.
- In District 7, formerly occupied by Mayoral candidate Tito Jackson, Kim Janey beat Rufus Faulk 56 percent to 43 percent. While most of the district lies in Roxbury, a few precincts occupy the South End and Lower Roxbury.
Of the eight precincts in the South End or Lower Roxbury, Janey won all of them over Faulk in large margins.