A small sliver of Boston’s electorate made it to the polls on Tuesday to pick a new crop of city councillors in an election that may signal a marked shift in the personnel and dynamics of the 13-member body. The new faces will include John FitzGerald, who posted a decisive victory over Joel Richards in the race to succeed Frank Baker as the District 3 councillor.
It is still to early to make final calls in the at-large contest, but all three incumbent citywide councillors— Erin Murphy, Ruthzee Louijuene, and Julia Mejia— appear on track for re-election based on early returns.
A longtime city planner who currently works at the BPDA, FitzGerald, 41, benefited from close ties to organized labor, developers and other donors to amass the largest election war-chest in the council field. He was buoyed by endorsements from former Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Baker, who publicly backed FitzGerald ahead of the preliminary election in September.
On Tuesday, his opponent— Joel Richards— won several precincts in Ward 16 and Ward 15, but by margins that could not compete with the lopsided numbers posted by FitzGerald in Neponset and Adams Village.
FitzGerald, for example, won his home precinct (16-9) at the Adams Street Library by a tally of 495-70.
The results at the Lower Mills Library were much tighter and offered a glimmer of hope for Richards, who earned 176 votes to FitzGerald's 181.
FitzGerald won a decisive victory at Savin Hill's bellwether precinct, 13-10, the Cristo Rey School. The final score there: 340-243.
The gap was widest at Florian Hall's 16-12, one-half of a potent double-precinct near Neponset Circle and St. Brendan's parish that could boast the largest percentage turnout of any precinct in Boston on Tuesday. It was FitzGerald 585, Richards 36— a 94 percent take-home for the winner.
The turnout was light across Boston, as has become the unfortunate norm, particularly in non-mayoral election cycles. As of 6 p.m., only about 15 percent of Bostonians has cast their votes.
On Tuesday around 9:30 p.m., FitzGerald entered a raucous scene: his victory party at Landmark Public House in Adams Village. His walk-in was preceded by bagpipes and drums played by supporters.
A jubilant FitzGerald told the crowd: "I've seen hard work lose, but I've never seen hard work fail. Do you understand what I'm saying? Something good always comes out of hard work."
-This is a developing story.-