Kevin White in 1975

Former Boston Herald columnist Peter Lucas, now with the Lowell Sun, throws a change-up in his tribute to the late Boston mayor Kevin White.

Lucas, most closely associated with great mayoral nicknames like “Kevin from Heaven” and “Kevin Deluxe, the Mayor of America,” dwells at some length on White’s unsuccessful 1970 campaign for governor against the Republican incumbent, Frank Sargent. Lucas’ take:

Beaten politicians are usually humiliated in defeat. Not Kevin White. He grew bigger. While Sargent was ousted four years later by Michael Dukakis, White went on to get elected mayor three more times. And as the city grew, he grew, becoming almost larger than life. He had style and class. He made Boston come alive for the 16 years he was mayor. He put Boston on the map.

Lucas also makes a brief allusion to the “White Will Run” debacle of 1983, when the mayor gave him an exclusive: Lucas could report that White would seek re-election as long as he didn’t attribute it to White. The Herald went with a huge front-page headline the next morning. Later in the day, White publicly announced he wouldn’t run.

Years ago, Lucas told a hilarious version of that story at a meeting of the Northeastern Journalism Alumni Association to which I had invited him to speak. I hope he’ll tell it again.

Photo (cc) by the City of Boston Archives and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

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