By Sarah Rappaport
BU News Service
Incumbent Boston Mayor Marty Walsh defeated his challenger, Tito Jackson, in a lop-sided victory on Tuesday. Walsh received just over 65 percent of the vote.
Jackson conceded the race at an election night party held at Suya Joint in Roxbury. No candidate has successfully challenged an incumbent for the position of mayor in Boston since 1949. Jackson would have been the first African-American mayor of the city.
“Throughout this campaign, I have said many times that it doesn’t look like the cavalry is coming, but the cavalry showed up,” Jackson said amid cheers from his audience.
Despite the loss, supporters chanted “We love you, Tito!” as Jackson addressed the gathering. He thanked volunteers, supporters, his parents, and his opponent.
Jackson, the District 7 Councilor since 2011, was seen as an underdog in this year’s mayoral election. But campaign volunteer Joanne Sewell said Jackson has been a champion for everyday Bostonians.
“He knows what the people of Boston want, the real people,” Sewell said. “He really knows how to connect with all different kinds of people.”
Even in this potentially historic race, turnout was relatively light.
Some supporters took matters into their own hands to rally support. Louis Elisa drove around Roxbury yelling “Vote Tito!” through a megaphone. He reached out to schools and area residents to promote Jackson. Still, he said he believes that there was a lack of attention to the campaign.
“There was a lot that should have been done, and what I tried to do is just promote as much as I [could],” Elisa said. “[I tried] to get them involved, because this makes a difference.”
Although Jackson had sometimes been critical of Mayor Walsh during the campaign, he offered his congratulations.
“The role I’m going to play is accountability in chief,” he said to cheers and laughs.
In his concession speech Jackson spoke about the importance of diminishing crime and promoting education.
“We need to fully fund the Boston Public Schools and we need to make sure we don’t call our young people an expense,” Jackson said.
He also reiterated his hopes for racial equity in the city of Boston.
“We can have a city where we only talk about and have conversations about racial equity, we can have a city where we do something about racial equity,” Jackson said.
Dozens of Jackson’s supporters and campaign volunteers spoke to and embraced each other in the Suya Joint’s small space as their candidate faced his loss.
“I hope that he continues his work for the community,” Sewell said. “I’ll be behind him all the way.”
Jackson signaled that his efforts will continue.
“Tonight, we are not giving a speech for something that is an end. Tonight we give a commencement speech,” Jackson said. “Tonight we are declaring victory because the issues that have not been brought up for the last three and a half years are now being brought up.”