• Voting expert: Boston mayoral seat is wide open


    (MyFoxBoston.com) – The voting landscape has certainly changed since Boston Mayor Tom Menino took office 20 years ago.

    FOX 25's Jarrod Holbrook sat down with voting expert Larry DiCara to talk about the potential candidates looking to become Boston's next mayor, some of whom are already turning to him for his research.

    "In 46 years, the mayor's office has only been vacant twice," said DiCara, who has studied the voting history of Boston for years and is finalizing a book on the subject.

    DiCara served on the Boston City Council in the 70s and ran for mayor in 1983, the last time there was an empty seat up for grabs.

    In fact, ever since the news broke about Mayor Menino's decision, his phone has been ringing off the hook from interested potential candidates

    "I've spoken to many and will probably speak to the rest," DiCara said.

    "Over the last 20 years, what's the biggest change you've seen in the voting landscape," Holbrook asked.

    "Years ago this was still an Irish-Italian city. That's changed. Dramatically," DiCara said.

    DiCara says areas like East Boston which were heavily Italian are now heavily Hispanic. Neighborhoods in Dorchester, which were heavily Irish, are now a mix of Vietnamese, Cape Verdeans, and Puerto Ricans.

    In terms of mayoral voter turnout, DiCara's research states from 1970 to 2010 the biggest areas that have increased in voter turnout are Charlestown, because of the Navy Yard, and the Downtown and South End areas typically because of construction.

    The areas that have decreased over the years: East Boston, areas of Dorchester, and Allston and Brighton areas.

    Holbrook asked DiCara which areas would be the most important districts in the upcoming election and what demographics will the new candidates have to focus on.

    "West Roxbury remains the breadbasket of votes," DiCara replied. "The biggest change is we have tens of thousands of educated, affluent younger people who are not involved in the city."

    DiCara's research found that there are now more college-educated people in Boston and 55 percent fewer school-aged children.

    Overall the seat for the next Mayor of Boston is wide open so he expects to see a lot of people interested in running.

    "It's a good time. No printer place will be outta' business, no legion hall will be empty, and lots of free doughnuts at the elderly housing developments," DiCara joked.

    Let the robocalls begin.

    DiCara's book "In Translation" is expected to be released by Labor Day.

    To view a breakdown of the results and voter turnout by wards and precincts for every mayoral race since 2005, click here http://www.cityofboston.gov/elections/results/.

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