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2 candidates vie to succeed Boston Mayor Menino

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Boston residents will head to the polls Tuesday to cast a ballot that will not include the name "Thomas Menino" for the first time in two decades.

Residents will choose between City Councilor John Connolly and State Rep. Marty Walsh.

Connolly, who supporters have dubbed the 'Education Mayor,' is a Roslindale native and former teacher. The city councilor has promised to transform the city's public schools, as well as bring a more inclusive culture to City Hall. According to his campaign website, Connolly plans to "usher in a new era of innovation across the City of Boston" that puts the city in the lead "when it comes to creating safe, healthy, and livable neighborhoods."

Learn more about where Connolly stands on the issues: www.connollyforboston.com/ideas

Walsh is a Dorchester native whose parents emigrated from Ireland in the 1950s. The state representative is described by supporters as an "accomplished advocate for working people." According to his website, Walsh plans to ensure all students have access to high quality public schools close to their homes, encourage the creation new businesses by streamlining the permitting process, and ensure all residents have easy access to the City's cultural resources.

Learn more about where Walsh stands on the issues: www.martywalsh.org/issues

Four days prior to the election, a Boston Herald/Suffolk University poll showed Walsh ahead of Connolly by three percentage points. It's the second poll in a week that shows Walsh in the lead, but nine percent of voters are undecided.

Connolly is quick to point out that his lead still lies within the margin of error. "I don't put a lot of stock in the polls. I'll say my internal polls have it as a dead heat."

Walsh said the race is all about getting out the votes on election day. Boston has more than 372,000 registered voters. Only 113,000 turned out to vote in September's preliminary election.

The candidates were eclipsed by the Red Sox in the final weeks of their campaigns. Neither candidate appeared discouraged by the World Series champions drawing attention away from their race during their final weekend push. Connolly said people might be more likely to listen since they were in a good mood after the win. Walsh said there might be a lot of people in town for the parade, but there would still be people in the neighborhoods concerned about the issues.

Either Connolly or Walsh will be taking over for Mayor Thomas Menino, who decided not to seek re-election in the spring after facing a series of ailments. Taking office in 1993, Menino is Boston's longest-serving mayor.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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