By Jon Ollom, Reggie Kim and Morgan Cheung
BU News Service
South Boston native Ed Flynn, the son of former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn, narrowly defeated Michael Kelley Tuesday in the Boston District 2 City Council race.
Flynn entered his campaign party at Seapoint Restaurant in South Boston on Tuesday night to booming applause and chants of “Eddie! Eddie!”
“You put your hard work on the line, you sent your checks and you knocked on doors for me,” said Flynn to all in attendance. “I️ could not have done this without you and all the voters of District 2.”
According to an unofficial tally, Flynn won 53.8 percent of the vote as of Tuesday night, beating Kelley by nearly 1,000 votes.
Flynn will now represent the district where he was born and raised. He fills a seat left vacant by longtime Councilmen Bill Linehan who had represented the district for the past decade.
District 2 includes downtown, Chinatown, South Boston and the South End.
Flynn, a probation officer and Navy veteran, had entered election day as the favorite to win office over Kelley. Flynn won more than 50 percent of the preliminary election votes, while Kelley finished second with 32 percent of the votes out of a field of 7 candidates. Neither Flynn nor Kelley had held political office before.
Flynn ran on a platform that emphasized improving public education and transportation as well as access to affordable housing.
Flynn’s lifelong residency in South Boston and his involvement in that neighborhood left a lasting impact on its residents.
“I’ve known [Ed Flynn] since I was one . . . and he’s got a heart of gold” said South Boston resident Chris Mackin, 57. “If he saw you carrying something heavy across the street he would go and grab the other end.”
While Flynn supporters celebrated in Southie, Kelley had to inform his campaign party about coming up short at the polls.
“I️ am sad that we are here, but I’m also excited that we sent a message that people care and we made a difference,” said Kelley. “This is just the beginning.”
Kelley, who grew up just outside of Boston in Revere, worked for former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino for 10 years as a neighborhood coordinator and liaison to the LGBTQ community. If he had won, Kelley would have been the first openly gay representative of District 2 in its history.
“He’s very committed to diversity and he is very committed to supporting people who have been disadvantaged,” said Ben Siegel, a South End resident for the past 47 years, earlier Tuesday. “This is a time to do what the city needs, particularly around diversity and inclusion.”
Ed Flynn’s father, Raymond Flynn, a South Boston native, served as mayor of Boston for nine years before resigning in 1993.
In the eyes of voters, Ed Flynn will carry on the legacy set by his father more than 25 years ago.
“I have a disabled daughter, and many years ago his dad Ray Flynn was mayor, helped me find a program for her when I couldn’t,” said J.L Shaub, a South End resident. “I think Ed Flynn is a great guy and a real apple from the tree.”