Mayoral candidates Bill Walczak and Daniel F. Conley have clashed over the proposed Suffolk Downs casino, with Conley repeatedly calling for a citywide vote while Walczak has crafted himself as the candidate most morally opposed to casino gambling.
Just one day before voters hit the polls, the clash has heated up.
Today, Walczak slammed Conley for sending out a campaign mailer in which Conley seemingly claims to be the only candidate who favors a citywide vote on the casino.
“These are evasive tactics and gutter politics by Dan Conley,” Walczak said in a statement to the Globe. “The district attorney is well aware of my position on a citywide vote and the casino. I am disturbed that someone in his position would intentional mislead so many Boston voters.”
The 8 1/2 x 11 inch glossy mailer is double sided. The front shows a smiling Conley and includes pictures of six other mayoral candidates, not including Walczak.
“Of these candidates, only DAN CONLEY supports a citywide referendum on the Suffolk Downs casino,” the ad reads.
The backside of the mailer goes a step further: “Only one candidate for Mayor favors a citywide referendum on the Suffolk Downs Casino. DAN CONLEY.”
In a statement to the Globe, Walczak “It is disturbing when a seated district attorney blatantly misleads the voters of Boston.’’
The Conley campaign countered that there was nothing inaccurate or misleading about the mailer.
“The front of the mailer clearly says, in large text: Of these candidates, only Dan Conley supports a citywide vote,” said Mike Sherry, Conley’s campaign spokesman. “This is a contrast piece between Dan and John Connolly, Marty Walsh, Charlotte Golar Richie, Rob Consalvo, Mike Ross and Felix Arroyo—all of whom do not want to let the entire city vote on the question of a casino in East Boston.”
Whether the casino should be put to a citywide or East Boston vote has been a contentious issue in the race. Under state law, the vote is neighborhood-only unless the City Council and mayor intervene. Some opponents of the casino see a citywide vote as having a better chance of rejecting the proposed Suffolk Downs casino.
Suffolk Downs has requested a referendum on the project be held Nov. 5, the date of the final election in the mayor’s race.
The City Council will decide Wednesday if it will grant the Nov. 5 date and whether the casino vote will be citywide or stay within East Boston.
During a council hearing last week, both Conley and Walczak offered public support for a citywide vote.
In addition to Conley, Walczak and two other candidates—John Barros and Charles Yancey—also support a citywide vote on the proposed casino.