Menino won close JP vote

November 20, 2009
By

John Ruch

Beat Flaherty with 52 percent

Mayor Thomas Menino handily beat challenger Michael Flaherty in the Nov. 3 election with 57 percent of the citywide vote. But in the battleground neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, Menino’s victory was hard-won: 52 percent to Flaherty’s 48 percent, a margin of 310 votes.

Flaherty actually won JP’s electoral crown jewel: Ward 19 (Pondside/Jamaica Hills/Forest Hills), one of the highest-voting areas in the city. Flaherty edged Menino there with 51 percent of the vote.

But Menino made up for that by squeezing past Flaherty in Ward 11 (Egleston Square/eastern JP) with 52 percent of the vote. And Menino won big in Ward 10 (Hyde/Jackson Squares) with 60 percent of the vote.

Menino essentially won with Flaherty’s own strategy. Flaherty intended to hold his own in traditionally high-turnout, more conservative neighborhoods, then win with a boost in turnout among progressive and minority voters.

But turnout was nothing special, and it was Menino who often won precincts in minority-majority areas such as Egleston and Hyde Squares.

In the September preliminary election, Menino also won the JP area, but only with a 43 percent plurality. Flaherty and fellow challenger Sam Yoon combined won 53 percent of the JP preliminary election vote. Flaherty then made Yoon his unofficial running mate in the final election in the hopes of keeping those numbers together.

But in the final election, Menino’s slice of the JP vote went up by 9 percent. Meanwhile, Flaherty and Yoon’s combined chunk of the vote slipped by 5 percent.

As in most elections, the vast majority of eligible voters were not inspired to vote for any candidate. JP’s voter turnout was about 35 percent, compared to 31 percent citywide.

As usual, voter turnout was higher in higher-income areas of JP. Ward 10 turnout was about 25 percent. Ward 11 was about 32 percent. Ward 19 was about 41 percent. Ward 19’s Precinct 2 (Jamaica Hills) had turnout over 50 percent and was among the top three highest-voting precincts in the city.

In the at-large Boston City Council race, voters citywide re-elected incumbents John Connolly and Steve Murphy, while adding JP resident Felix Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley.

JP voters favored Arroyo, giving him 24 percent of their votes. But they also would have preferred seeing Murphy booted from the council and Tito Jackson winning a seat instead.

Citywide, the order of at-large council candidates by their vote totals was: Connolly, Murphy, Arroyo, Pressley, Jackson, Andrew Kenneally, Tomás Gonzalez and Doug Bennett.

But locally, the order was: Arroyo, Pressley, Connolly, Jackson, Murphy, Gonzalez, Kenneally and Bennett.

JP voters also had a different opinion in the District 7 City Council race. Incumbent Chuck Turner won re-election to that seat. But in the single JP precinct in the district, covering part of Egleston Square, challenger Carlos Henriquez beat Turner with 51 percent of the vote.