Walsh Defeats Jackson in Boston’s 2017 Mayoral Race

Martin J. Walsh, WCAS ’09, won a second term as Mayor of Boston on Tuesday, in a race called around 9 p.m., one hour after polls closed. As of 10:00 p.m. 64.7 percent of precincts were reporting, with Walsh taking 67.1 percent of the vote to City Councilor Tito Jackson’s 32.19 percent.

Voters at Alexander Hamilton Elementary School in Brighton were eager to cast their vote at 7 a.m., though they are in the minority, as voter turnout for this mayoral race so far was low, with only 14 percent of registered voters casting a ballot in the preliminary election. The Warden of this particular polling location, Chris Roth, noted that only a little more than 60 people came to this polling place to vote in the preliminary election. Roth has been involved during election day for 15 years, and said that there was a significant decline in the number of voters today in comparison to last year’s election. But this is not unusual, since there was no presidential election and Massachusetts was not holding elections for any governors or congressmen.

By the time 5 p.m. rolled around there had been around 120 voters who showed up at Alexander Hamilton Elementary, but Roth expected that number to grow to 150 by the time the polls closed. This is a contrast to the roughly 450 voters who showed up at this location for last year’s election. Though voter turnout for this race has been better than numbers in past non-presidential election years, Roth still noted that it is low overall.

“We have 1,500 names on our list, that’s still only 10 percent, you know, so it’s still pretty bad,” Roth said.

This low turnout has reflected a general trend of low voter participation in the United States. According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. trails most developed countries in voter turnout. In last year’s election, roughly 56 percent of registered voters cast ballots. While this is a high percentage for the US, it is low in comparison to the rates in other industrialized democracies.

Walsh’s popularity showed very early on in the race. Over the summer, Walsh was the first certified candidate to get onto the ballot, collecting over 38,000 signatures by mid-May, among the highest number of signatures for a Boston mayoral campaign ever collected. This early achievement was not the only time that Walsh enjoyed massive popular support. Throughout the race, Walsh has consistently polled ahead of Jackson, getting 62 percent of the vote in the September 26 preliminary election, with Jackson coming in second with 29 percent. Walsh also enjoyed key endorsements, including support from LGBTQ+ leaders, Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts, and U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey.

After the results of the election were called, the Committee to Elect Martin J. Walsh tweeted its thanks, writing “Four more years.” Jackson took his defeat graciously, writing “Thank you Boston. I love you all. My congratulations to Mayor Walsh. Not an ending but a commencement.”

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff