|Elections in Massachusetts|
The nonpartisan municipal preliminary election was held on October 7, 1983.
On March 5, 1983, former State Representative Mel King became the first candidate to officially enter the race. The focus of his campaign was decentralizing the city's government and bringing together its racially polarized population. His announcement came on the 213th anniversary of the death of Crispus Attucks during the Boston Massacre.
On March 20, Mayor Kevin White told WCVB-TV's Frank Avruch that he planned on running for an unprecedented fifth term. However, soon after the announcement, aides to the Mayor retracted his statement, saying that it was "facetious" and "jocular".
On April 19, City Councilman Frederick C. Langone declared his candidacy. Langone was accused of running as a publicity stunt, a charge the Councilman denied. To prove that his campaign was serious he announced that he would not seek another City Council term.
On April 24, Suffolk County Sheriff Dennis J. Kearney declared his candidacy at Faneuil Hall. He promised that if elected he would create an office of internal affairs to investigate "fraud, waste and abuse". He also promised to hire 99 new police officers each year for the next three years, a plan which would cost the city $3 million dollars.
Former School Board President and radio talk show host David Finnegan announced his candidacy on April 21 at the Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner. Finnegan chose to make his announcement in Uphams Corner because White had not fulfilled his promise to rebuild the neighborhood and the man he appointed to run the project was jail. He attempted to portray himself as the best candidate to defeat Mayor White and used the campaign slogan "Finnegan or him again." After White announced that he was not running, Finnegan changed the slogan to "Begin Again with Finnegan".
On April 27, City Councilman Ray Flynn announced his candidacy. As part of his announcement he released "The Flynn Program for Boston", a 30 page booklet outlining his proposals for jobs, housing, crime, services, and other issues.
On May 26, Mayor White announced that he would not seek a fifth term.
The first televised debate of the campaign was held on June 29. All nine candidates participated.
The League of Women Voters of Boston and the Boston Chamber of Commerce hosted a debate between Kiley, Flynn, Langone, Kearney, Finnegan, and DiCara at Faneuil Hall. Gelber and Linger were excluded from the debate and King chose not to particapte in protest of the decision to exclude two of the candidates.
Shortly before the primary, Bob Kiley withdrew from the race and endoresed DiCara.
Two weeks before the preliminary election, a poll by the The Boston Globe showed that King was in a dead heat with Finnegan and Flynn. King's campaign gained momentum through a voter registration drive and visits from Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young.
Although he had the most campaign funds and was considered to be a favorite to make the runoff election, Finnegan was criticized for running a "safe" campaign and for "lack[ing] substance".
On October 7, Flynn and King received the most votes in the preliminary election and moved on to the general election. Flynn went on to win the general election 65%-35%.
|Candidates||Primary Election||General Election|
|Dennis J. Kearney||10,992||6.59|
|Frederick C. Langone||2,262||1.36|
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