BOSTON (AP) - Bostonians were choosing a new mayor Tuesday - and for the first time in two decades Thomas Menino's name wasn't on the ballot.
State Rep. Martin Walsh and City Councilor John Connolly, both Democrats, urged supporters to flock to the polls.
"I feel great. I feel very confident. I think we've got a lot of momentum heading out there today," Connolly said as he voted with his wife and three children in West Roxbury. "And I think people are going to respond to a vision that puts our schools first and recognizes that if we have great schools we'll have safe streets and a great economy."
The 46-year-old Walsh relied on support from labor organizations to help his get-out-the-vote drive. Walsh, a union official before being elected to the House in 1997, has remained active in union affairs as a lawmaker.
"It's been a great morning," Walsh said, noting that it was strange not seeing Menino's name on the ballot. "I'm going to go around the city and shake hands and try and meet as many people as I can and try and suggest that they vote for me."
Connolly tried to make education his core issue and was hoping an army of "moms" would help propel him into the top office in New England's largest city. The 40-year-old father of three was also the only candidate to enter the race before Menino announced that he would not run again.
While both Connolly and Walsh raised similar amounts of money - just over $1.8 million for Walsh compared with nearly $1.9 million for Connolly as of Oct. 15 - Walsh benefited from outside spending on television ads.
Connolly pointed to the outside money in the closing days of the campaign.
"This is a decision about whether outside money, outside volunteers and secret PACs are going to win this campaign or it's going to be won by the people of Boston," Connolly said.
Walsh rejected the criticism, saying his base of support goes well beyond labor and outside groups.
"We have all kinds of people in our campaign," he said. "We have senior citizens. We have everybody helping."
Both candidates also made a push in the city's traditional minority communities.
Menino, the city's longest serving mayor, announced earlier this year he would not seek another term after more than two decades in office. He has battled a series of health problems in recent years.
Polls in Boston were open until 8 p.m.
The Boston contest was one of dozens of municipal elections across Massachusetts on Tuesday.
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