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Wide-open field in race to succeed Boston's longest-serving mayor

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino addresses delegates during the second session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina,
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino addresses delegates during the second session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina,

BOSTON (Reuters) - The race to succeed Boston's longest-serving mayor remains wide open with none of the dozen candidates seeking the office enjoying a significant lead, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll.

The two leaders in the field to succeed Mayor Thomas Menino are City Councilor-at-large John Connolly, who had the support of 12 percent of likely voters, and State Representative Martin Walsh, who had 11 percent support in the poll, released late on Tuesday.

Boston faces its most competitive mayoral race in decades this year, following Mayor Thomas Menino's March decision not seek re-election.

Trailing them were Daniel Conley, the district attorney for the county that includes Boston, with 9 percent, and District Councilor Rob Consalvo, with 8 percent.

All the top candidates are Democrats.

"Currently the top four candidates are within the poll's margin of error, and with 40 percent undecided the race is wide open," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.

The candidates will first face each other in a nonpartisan September 24 preliminary election. The two candidates who receive the most votes in that contest will be on the ballot in the November general election.

The poll of 600 likely primary voters was conducted July 10th through 15th and has a 4 percent margin of error.

Incumbent mayors in Boston are rarely defeated. Menino began his time in the job as acting mayor after U.S. President Bill Clinton named Menino's predecessor, Raymond Flynn, ambassador to the Vatican.

Menino is now in his 20th year as mayor.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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