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Boston mayoral candidates make final pitches to undecided voters

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Boston mayoral candidates John Connolly and Marty Walsh joined the FOX 25 Morning News Tuesday to make their final pitch to voters heading to the polls.

Connolly made the first appearance, saying he thinks he will win the election.

"I think we're gonna have a big day," said the city councilor. "I think we're gonna win and I think people want to see a change that is going to allow us to really focus on transforming our schools and how that connects to safer neighborhoods and a stronger economy."

The Roslindale native did not express any concern over two recent polls showing his opponent in the lead just days ahead of the election.

"I think we always knew it was going to narrow, and I don't give the polls a whole lot of stock. I think it's a jump ball today. It's the first mayor's race in 20 years, of course it's going to be close," Connolly explained.

During his interview, Marty Walsh shared a similar opinion about the polls, indicating it is Tuesday that matters most.

"Polls are great it makes you feel good for that moment," the Dorchester native explained. "It's really about today and I feel very confident today. I have a great organization out in the street, I have a lot of people working, I've been talking about my message around the economy and around senior citizens and around closing the achievement gap in schools so I feel really confident about where my campaign is today."

When asked if he had any regrets, Connolly said some people believed he should have gone negative, but he made the conscious decision to stay away from attacks. He added that he felt the overall tone of the race has been good, however he feels all of the "outside money that poured in" on behalf of Walsh "has skewed this race a little bit."

Connolly, who supporters have dubbed the 'Education Mayor,' said while he has focused on improving the city's schools, he has always talked about jobs and safe neighborhoods. The former teacher told FOX 25's Gene Lavanchy he has a lot of thoughts and has put out plans, but that it all starts with good schools.

Walsh explained a promise he shared with supporters at a Monday night event. The state representative said if elected, he would make "one Boston."

"As I travel around the city and I campaign in different neighborhoods, some neighborhoods don't feel that they've gotten all the benefits. When I say that, as far as economic development and good quality schools and things like that. I want to make sure that everybody in Boston feels that they're appreciated, I want to make sure every neighborhood in the city is benefiting from a good economy, not just the certain neighborhoods," Walsh explained.

Both candidates shared praise for longtime Mayor Thomas Menino, who decided not to seek re-election in the spring after suffering a series of ailments.

When asked what he would do the same or differently as Mayor Tom Menino, the 40-year-old Connolly said he doesn't think anyone can be the longtime mayor, calling it an "impossible standard." He said there is a lot to learn from the city's longest serving mayor.

"He was in the neighborhoods constantly and that's how he kept his ear to the ground, knew what was going on," Connolly said.

"The way he took care of seniors, and that is something I really take to heart. I want to go out and be that same type of mayor who is always going to be in touch with the seniors and trying to help our seniors have a high quality of life."
 
Walsh said he spoke to Mayor Menino a few days ago and thanked him for the work he has done in the city.

"I thanked him for his service and he wished me luck in the race today and he said we'll be talking hopefully tonight," Walsh said. "I just wanted to give him a call to get a little bit of advice from him and pay him the respect he deserves."

The state rep. admits he asked the mayor for his vote and that he replied with a laugh. Walsh said he believes Mayor Menino was undecided and hopes he votes for him when he heads to the polls.

Both candidates expressed their commitment to the city as a whole in their final message to undecided voters.

"I truly love this city, I've spent the last 8 months running around the city talking about my record, what I've done in the Legislature, what I've done in my life experiences. And if you're looking for someone who is going to be hands on, hit the ground running in every neighborhood, I'm the candidate for people," said State Rep. Walsh.

Walsh also said he has worked 18 hours a day as a candidate and he plans to keep up that same pace if elected mayor.

"If you want an independent leader in City Hall, who is going to take on big decisions and be able to make them in the best interest of the whole city, I'm your guy," said City Councilor Connolly.

Polls are open until 8 p.m. in Boston.

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