Profiles delve into backgrounds of Boston mayoral candidates

The Globe has kicked off its series of profiles of Boston’s 12 mayoral candidates as they head toward a Sept. 24 preliminary election that will narrow the field to two. Here’s a snapshop of two of the profiles so far.

For state Representative Martin J. Walsh, challenges early in his life have helped forge a sense of drive and purpose, reporter Andrew Ryan found:

The cancer ravaged Martin J. Walsh when he was a husky 7-year-old with bold red hair that would all fall out. They held a special First Communion for him on Christmas Day because doctors didn’t think he’d live until spring.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Years later an errant bullet hit Walsh one night on Dorchester Avenue, grazing his left leg when he was 22 and had developed a taste for alcohol. Before long he would hit bottom as an alcoholic and embrace sobriety, a turning point that gave his life focus.

Today, Walsh is a candidate for mayor of Boston as the contest enters the frenzied, post-Labor Day sprint to the preliminary election Sept. 24. He remains calm amid the tumult of the race. He is smiling, always smiling, because Walsh says he has yet to have a bad day on the campaign trail. Alcoholism, bullets, and cancer can give a man perspective.

“Subconsciously, it builds up strong character,” Walsh, now 46. (Here is the full version.)


Former city councilor Felix Arroyo is hoping that his energetic get-out-the-vote push will sweep up more supporters, reporter Meghan Irons writes:

On a recent morning, Felix G. Arroyo started his campaign day around 7:30 outside a Dunkin’ Donuts in Brighton’s Oak Square, brightly greeting customers fueling up before work. After an hour, an aide checked her watch, and he hustled off to the Sisters of St. Joseph for 30 minutes at a March on Washington commemoration. “Pray for me,’’ he whispered to one of the nuns, before rushing away again. Next was a radio show. After that, a gun control rally.

In a day that ended well past 8:30 p.m., he never stopped rushing, and there was a reason. The mayoral candidate doesn’t have much in his campaign war chest compared with some of the other contenders, so he’s relying on something else.

“I’m blessed with a lot of energy,” he said. (Here is the full version.)


Check out more Globe coverage of the mayoral race, including a comparison of where they stand on key issues.