Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
It says a lot that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino yesterday had the weakest electoral showing of his 16-year tenure -- and still looks as though he will win a 5th term without much difficulty. Here are the basics of what happened, courtesy of the Boston Globe:
Mayor Thomas M. Menino surged to the top of the field and Councilor at Large Michael F. Flaherty Jr. grabbed second place in Boston's preliminary mayoral race yesterday, setting up a general election that pits two former allies who have become sharp political adversaries.
Menino captured 50.5 percent of the vote, while Flaherty got 24 percent, beating out the other challengers by a comparatively slim margin for a spot in the final election. Councilor at Large Sam Yoon ended the day with 21 percent, and South End businessman Kevin McCrea got 4 percent.
With the mayor over 50%, Flaherty would still lose even if he consolidated the entire anti-Menino vote. While Flaherty is more experienced and better funded than Menino's other foes this year, he also presents less of a contrast for voters than Yoon or McCrea would have. Like Menino, Flaherty is a long-time insider who has been criticized for conducting government business in an opaque manner.
Menino's other advantages are in fundraising and organization. He has at his disposal what critics term a political machine -- I prefer the gentler term, "political apparatus." Regardless, there are some advantages to being an old-school politician.
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