Setti Warren wins Newton mayor's race

Kenneth J. Cooper | 11/11/2009, 5:30 a.m.
Newton Mayor Elect Setti Warren is all smiles after attending a meeting with Gov. Deval Patrick at the State House for newly elected mayors. Lolita Parker Jr.

“Race was not an issue in this race,” Warren said. “That is very significant at this time. I’m proud of my city.”

His victory, he suggested, reflects broader changes in voting patterns and black politics.

“We’ve made progress,” he said. “We have an African American president. We have an African American governor, both of whom don’t use the lens of race when they’re dealing with issues before us as a society. I believe that had an impact on my race — no doubt.”

Perry called Warren a “crossover candidate” who was “able to build a coalition on issues and agenda items, not based on race.”

But the government professor added “there might be a drawback” because “he’s likely to have a challenge representing minority interests in a city that is that majority white.”

Perry said the election of Warren as mayor of Newton, and Ayanna Pressley and Jass Stewart as councilors at-large in Boston and Brockton, respectively, “would give credence to the idea that electing a black mayor of Boston is soon on the horizon. What is missing is an organized effort.”

He blamed machine-type politics and a lack of terms limits for the failure of any African American so far to capture the office that Mayor Thomas Menino won for an unprecedented fifth time. The professor dismissed the common argument that the reason is Boston’s black population, about 25 percent, is too small.

“The black community is not that small,” Perry said. “We’ve elected black mayors in Seattle, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles — all cities that have less of a black population than Boston.”