Menino opted not to run again as he battled a series of health problems in recent years, including prostate surgery in June and a fractured leg in April. He was hospitalized for about six weeks last year with a respiratory infection and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Walsh and Connolly’s nearest contenders were former state Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley.
The other hopefuls included City Councilor Felix Arroyo; former school committee member John Barros; radio station owner Charles Clemons; City Councilor Robert Consalvo; City Councilor Michael Ross; community organizer Bill Walczak; former schoolteacher David Wyatt; and City Councilor Charles Yancey.
The election is nonpartisan, but Walsh and Connolly are both Democrats, as is Menino, who had pledged to stay neutral in the race.
As of 6 p.m., two hours before the polls closed, about 86,000 votes had been cast. That was significantly ahead of the last preliminary election for mayor in 2009, when just over 60,000 people had voted as of 6 p.m. Menino was facing three challengers in that election.
Among the challenges facing the next mayor will be choosing a new police commissioner to replace Edward Davis, who announced Monday he would be stepping down later this year after seven years in the post.