Boston voters resoundingly reject unethical behavior [+election chart]

Voters in Boston resoundingly rejected two scandal-scarred City Council candidates but not necessarily the super woke progressive policies they espoused.

What the preliminary election showed was that voters will tolerate some extreme left positions but not repeated above-the-law behavior exhibited by defeated incumbents Kendra Lara and Ricardo Arroyo.

Lara and Arroyo, both proudly progressive, made history Tuesday night as the first incumbents toppled in a city preliminary election in four decades – not an easy feat.

But it was their personal behavior that sank them, not their devotion to bike lanes, a fossil fuel ban and racial equity.

Boston, one of the bluest and most reliably liberal cities in the country, didn’t suddenly become un-woke overnight. This was not a realignment.

This was also not a repudiation of liberal Mayor Michelle Wu – in fact she showed her endorsement power by helping Enrique Pepen win one of the two finalist slots in District 5.

Pepen was the leading vote-getter in his district Tuesday night and will face ex-police officer Jose Ruiz in November in a battle of liberal vs. moderate. Wu took a victory lap of sorts on Wednesday to showcase her endorsement muscle.

But at this point, the council’s plunged so far into the mud and ethics violations and corruption that voters want something that’s a restore to order and accountability.

There’s always been a certain amount of craziness on the City Council but never to this level. People will tolerate some shenanigans but not repeated ethical lapses and brazen breaking of the law.

Voters applied the same standard of ethical conduct no matter what the ideology was.

Kendra Lara talking about fighting the system was not enough to save her. All the sympathetic last-minute interviews run by friendly media were not enough to save her.

Saying all the right things was not enough. Avoiding responsibility for their actions was clear even to Democratic voters.

Lara and Arroyo’s losses set up interesting two-way fights in the November election.

It could come down to a showdown between progressives supported by the mayor and moderates backed by a business super PAC.

Several of the candidates who won slots in Districts 3, 5 and 6 were independently financed by Forward Boston, a super PAC funded primarily by New Balance CEO Jim Davis.

Davis sunk $150,000 of his own money into the independent expenditure PAC, which funneled money to help John FitzGerald, who easily topped the field in District 3 in Dorchester, Benjamin Weber and William King, who will face off in District 6, and Ruiz in District 5 in Roslindale.

All of the candidates backed by the super PAC have disavowed the support of Davis, a Republican donor.

But it didn’t hurt FitzGerald and others to get a last-minute infusion of money to back their campaigns.

The super PAC will try to get Ruiz, an ex-police officer, across the line in November in his race against Pepen.

But it will be a tall order. Wu’s endorsement may hold more sway than a super PAC.

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