Ray Flynn, Mel King endorse Michael Flaherty for Mayor

Former Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn and his 1983 challenger, long-time activist Mel King, this morning threw their support behind mayoral candidate Michael F. Flaherty Jr. and his would-be deputy mayor, Sam Yoon.

The two former rivals, hailed for running civil, principled campaigns for mayor when the city was racially divided in 1983, said Flaherty and Yoon would unite Boston as Flynn and King did 26 years ago.

“We see that same kind of leadership and that same kind of courage and the determination to move the city forward,” said Flynn, who stood with King, Yoon, and Flaherty before a bank of television cameras and supporters holding Flaherty/Yoon signs on City Hall Plaza.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino's reelection campaign dismissed the value of the endorsements. A spokesman, Nick Martin, said that Flynn had previously backed a Republican, George W. Bush, for president, and that King had endorsed a Green Party candidate, Ralph Nader, in 1996, in that year's presidential campaign. The mayoral race in Boston is non-partisan, but the city is overwhelmingly Democratic.