Mayor-elect Marty Walsh is no stranger to overcoming obstacles in life. A survivor of cancer and a recovering alcoholic, Walsh has stared adversity in the face many times only to come out on top.
So it came as no surprise to his supporters here in the North End that Walsh won last week’s Mayoral election and beat John Connolly citywide.
A month before the election, Walsh was facing a deficit in the polls. Connolly, who topped the ticket in the North End during the Primary, enjoyed widespread support but Walsh and his supporters did not concede the election here or citywide.
Walsh ended up doing better than expected here and broke 1,000 votes in the North End despite Representative Aaron Michlewitz, City Councilor Sal LaMattina and former City Councilor Paul Scapicchio campaigning hard for Connolly.
The final vote totals here were 1,464 votes for Connolly and 1,095 votes for Walsh. Citywide Walsh topped Connolly 72,514 to 67,606 votes.
But the story of Walsh’s win citywide was attributed to his team of supporters that fought a hard ground game on election day.
In the North End, campaign workers like Stephen Passacantilli have been credited with helping hand Walsh his Mayoral victory.
Passacantilli, a former staffer for LaMattina, was overwhelmed by the victory on election night.
“This was the most organized and dedicated campaign you will ever see, and I mean that literally. It was a campaign of people that believed in Marty. Not a campaign of front-runners riding the favorite,” said Passacantilli. “Our campaign never looked at polls and panicked, even when most political pundits had us trailing by 19 points. We knew we had the best field and most importantly we knew we had the best candidate. And we believed we would win and we did.”
For him personally Passacantilli said Walsh being the next Mayor of Boston means more than him just occupying the 5th floor at City Hall.
“He’s been a great friend and tremendous role model to me beyond politics,” he said. “His work within the recovery community is remarkable and he loves helping those who can’t help themselves. And at the end of the day that’s what good government is supposed to do and that is help people”
Passacantilli has been dubbed a rising star in a neighborhood were old school street politics still remain a viable part of campaigns.
For his part, Walsh said he was humbled by his support here in Eastie and citywide.
“I am grateful and honored for the elections results,” said Walsh. “For this kid from Taft Street in Dorchester, you’ve made Boston a place where dreams come true. This victory is your victory.”
Last week Walsh met with Mayor Thomas Menino to begin transition discussions. “Mayor Menino’s legacy is a world-class City, a vibrant economy, and a strong fiscal position,” said Walsh. “And he’s done it while never forgetting where he came from and the people he serves. I am grateful to be guided by his strength and leadership.”