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(NECN: Alison King) - Residents of Boston have just one week to make a decision on their choice for mayor in the preliminary election - and each of the 12 candidates are only too happy to help them do that.
So in a crowded field that does not include a strong frontrunner, what is it going to take to win?
Bill Forry, managing editor of the Reporter Newspapers in Dorchester, says it all comes down to the election day ground game.
Dorchester is the diverse neighborhood that six of the 12 candidates call home.
While the lawn signs, robo calls, mailings and TV ads are all important, Forry believes the race will be solidified between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., when the polls close on election day as the streets are saturated with teams of campaign foot soldiers - knocking on doors.
"You'll literally see people who are cooking dinner on a stove and somebody will come in and say, no no, this is it, you have a half hour, let's go," Forry says.
Four of the six minority candidates hail from Dorchester: Charlotte Golar Richie, second in the latest poll and a surging John Barros who just got the endorsement of the Boston Globe are considered leaders of the pack.
Their supporters fear that the split in the hometown vote will prevent any of the minorities from advancing, but Forry says he'll be surprised if a minority candidate does not make the final two.
"Given the demographics of the city. Given the recent trends in elections in the city going back to Andrea Cabral and Governor Patrick and President Obama and other leaders of color, when they're on the ballot and they're a viable candidate, communities of color are going to come out strong," Forry says.
The problem with this Mayor's race is there's no election in the past that provides a good example of how this one might play out. At least, not that most Bostonians can remember.
Former Boston City Councilor and 1983 mayoral candidate Larry DiCara says the closest is the '67 Mayoral election. That race featured Louise Day Hicks and Kevin White along with several candidates - but as former Boston City Councilor and 1983 mayoral candidate Larry DiCara points out, this race includes a significant wild card.
"The number of citizens who say they do not know any of the candidates is extraordinary and that is among people who are likely voters," DiCara says.