Wu wins Boston mayoral race

Michelle Wu defeated Annissa Essaibi George in the nonpartisan mayoral election in Boston, Massachusetts, on Nov. 2. As of 11:15 p.m. ET, Wu had 61% of the vote to Essaibi George’s 39%. Both candidates are at-large city councilors.

Wu called the race a “choice about whether City Hall tackles our biggest challenges with bold solutions or we nibble around the edges of the status quo.” She highlighted her prioritization of climate issues and her support for rent control to provide short-term relief for renters. Wu’s endorsers included The Boston Globe, Democratic Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and several unions.

Following the primary, Essaibi George said, “I want progress to be made — real progress — not just abstract ideas that we talk about. … Instead of just advocating and participating in academic exercises and having lovely conversations as mayor, I will do these things.” She emphasized her background as a teacher and her opposition to decreasing the police department budget. Essaibi George’s endorsers included The Boston Herald, former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross, and several unions.

Former incumbent Marty Walsh left office in March 2021 to become secretary of labor in President Joe Biden’s (D) Cabinet. Kim Janey (District 7)—the city council president at the time—succeeded Walsh. Janey ran in the primary, placing fourth. Janey endorsed Wu in the general election.

The Boston Globe‘s Laura Crimaldi wrote, “Although census figures show about 65 percent of city residents identify as people of color, the upcoming election will be the first in Boston history that won’t result in a white man becoming mayor.” Wu’s parents immigrated from Taiwan.

Boston mayoral debate highlights differences on housing, policing policy and more

In Boston’s Oct. 13 mayoral debate, At-Large City Councilors Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu each argued that her record and vision make her the best candidate to lead the city.

Essaibi George said she has a track record of working with the people of Boston to get things done. She said, “This work is too important to simply do behind a podium at city hall. It has to be done in community.”

Wu said she had also done work in the community and that the city needs “not just to keep having the same conversations and meetings over and over again, but to take action that gets at root causes.”

Essaibi George emphasized her goal to create more opportunities for people to buy homes and her plan to invest more in the Boston Housing Authority. Wu discussed the city’s role in directing resources to people and simplifying processes for building affordable housing. The candidates argued about rent control, which Essaibi George opposes and Wu supports.

On policing, Essaibi George said she believes in investing in and not defunding the police department and that the department should be reflective of the city’s population. Wu said the department’s structure and culture need reforming and that the city needs nonpolice forms of response for certain types of issues.

Candidates also discussed their ideas for the public school system and for Mass and Cass—the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, where a number of people are living outside.

The election is Nov. 2. Wu was first elected to the city council in 2013. Essaibi George was elected in 2015.

Voter registration deadline for Boston’s city elections is Oct. 13

Those who want to vote in Boston’s Nov. 2 city elections must be registered to do so by Wednesday, Oct. 13. Voters who have moved need to re-register with their current address. Bostonians may register online, by mail, or in person by bringing their form to Boston City Hall. Mailed registration forms must be postmarked on or before Oct. 13.

Boston will vote for mayor and 13 city council seats next month. Nine council seats are elected by district and four are elected citywide. Three council seats are uncontested. There are five open council seats up for election. Four city councilors ran in the Aug. 3 mayoral primary. The two who advanced to the general, Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu, are at-large city councilors.

Boston will have its first elected female mayor after this year’s election. Acting Mayor Kim Janey is the first woman to hold the office. She succeeded Marty Walsh, who resigned to become secretary of labor in President Joe Biden’s Cabinet in March. Janey was city council president at the time.

Early in-person voting will take place from Oct. 23 to Oct. 29. Those wishing to vote by mail must return their postcard application for a mail-in ballot by Oct. 27.

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Boston mayoral candidates receive new endorsements following primary wins

Boston’s mayoral candidates received new endorsements following the Sept. 14 primary election. 

Michelle Wu, who received the most votes in the seven-candidate primary field at 33.4%, has been endorsed by gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D), state Rep. Liz Miranda (D), and SEIU 1199, which represents healthcare workers. 

Annissa Essaibi George received recent endorsements from the local sprinkler fitters union and IBEW Local 103, which represents electrical workers. Essaibi George was second in the primary with 22.5%.

Essaibi George had several union endorsements heading into the primary, along with backing from former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross. Wu also had several endorsements from unions as well as state legislators.

Media outlets have described Wu as more progressive and Essaibi George as more moderate. The candidates themselves have not been campaigning with those labels.

Essaibi George said she does “not neatly fit in a box.” She said after election night that she wants “progress to be made — real progress — not just abstract ideas that we talk about.” Wu said, “In city government, it’s about getting things done, not being judged on a scorecard of whether you said yes or no on certain things.” She described the race as “a choice about whether City Hall tackles our biggest challenges with bold solutions or we nibble around the edges of the status quo.”

The candidates offer different backgrounds, policy areas of emphasis, and positions on issues including housing and policing. For more information, see our coverage below.

Wu and Essaibi George advance from Boston mayoral primary

Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George advanced from Boston’s mayoral primary election Tuesday night. As of Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EST, Wu received 33.4% of the vote to Essaibi George’s 22.5%. Eight candidates were on the ballot.

Wu and Essaibi George are both at-large city councilors. They defeated fellow city councilors Andrea Campbell and Kim Janey (who received 19.7% and 19.5% of the vote, respectively) along with three other candidates to advance to the Nov. 2 general election. Janey is also the city’s acting mayor, having succeeded Marty Walsh in March 2021 when he became secretary of labor in President Joe Biden’s (D) administration.

Media outlets have described Essaibi George as the more moderate of the leading candidates in the primary and Wu as one of the more progressive candidates. A former teacher and a member of the council since 2016, Essaibi George has emphasized her opposition to defunding the police and has discussed housing, schools, and public safety as priority issues. Wu has highlighted her climate plan, including a Boston Green New Deal, and her support for rent control. Wu has been on the city council since 2014.

Either will be the first woman to serve as Boston’s mayor. Essaibi George and Wu have emphasized that they are the children of immigrants. Wu’s parents are Taiwanese. Essaibi George’s mother is from Poland and her father, from Tunisia. 

Boston holds mayoral primary on Sept. 14

On Sept. 14, Boston voters will decide which two of seven mayoral candidates advance to the Nov. 2 general election. 

Acting Mayor Kim Janey, who succeeded former incumbent Marty Walsh after his appointment to President Joe Biden’s (D) Cabinet, is seeking election to a full four-year term. Janey also serves on the city council. Three other councilors—Andrea Campbell (District 4), Annissa Essaibi George (at-large), and Michelle Wu (at-large)—are running for mayor. Local media have described Essaibi George as more moderate and the other three candidates as more progressive.

Three independent polls in recent weeks have shown Wu leading the field and Campbell, Essaibi George, and Janey within a few percentage points of one another for second place. 

The candidates’ personal backgrounds have been a key theme of the race, which is expected to produce the city’s first non-white, male mayor. All leading candidates are women. Campbell and Janey are Black, Essaibi George is Arab American, and Michelle Wu is Asian American.

  1. Campbell, a lawyer, said the story of her and her brother, who died in prison at 29, was the story of two Bostons divided by access to opportunity. Campbell’s campaign website said, “Andrea’s career has been driven by the pain of Andre’s loss and a fundamental question: How can two twins born and raised in Boston have such different life outcomes?”
  2. Essaibi George is the daughter of a Tunisian father and Polish mother. She emphasizes her background as a teacher—she taught at East Boston High School for 13 years. Essaibi George’s campaign website says this “gave her a front-row seat to the challenges and inequities that Boston families face.”
  3. Janey has discussed her experience as a student during the second phase of busing desegregation in Boston and as one of two Black students in her graduating class. She said her work has “centered around making sure every child has the opportunity to learn and succeed in a more just city than the one I grew up in.” Janey worked for Massachusetts Advocates for Children from 2001 and 2017.
  4. Wu is the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants. She discusses her experience caring for her sisters when her mother experienced mental illness, saying, “it felt like we were alone, invisible, and powerless.” She said her time on the city council has taught her “what’s possible through city government in Boston.”

Satellite groups have reported spending more than $2 million in the race. Among the highest spenders are the Better Boston PAC, which has spent $1.4 million supporting Campbell; the Real Progress Boston PAC, which spent $425,000 supporting Essaibi George; the Hospitality Workers PAC, which spent $380,000 supporting Janey and opposing Campbell; and the Boston Turnout Project PAC, which spent $334,000 supporting Wu.

Boston will also vote on all 13 city council seats—nine elected by district and four, citywide.

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Early voting in Boston is Sept. 4-10

Early in-person voting for Boston’s Sept. 14 primary elections begins Sept. 4 and runs through Sept. 10. The city is holding elections for mayor and all 13 city council seats—four elected citywide and nine elected by district. The two candidates who receive the most primary votes in each race will advance to the Nov. 2 general election. The 17 candidates running for the city’s four at-large council seats will all compete in one race, and the top eight candidates will advance.

Four of the seven mayoral candidates are current city councilors, including the acting mayor. Kim Janey, who represents District 7, became acting mayor after former Mayor Marty Walsh joined President Joe Biden’s (D) Cabinet as secretary of labor. Councilors Andrea Campbell (District 4), Annissa Essaibi George (at-large), and Michelle Wu (at-large) are also running for mayor. 

The Boston Globe‘s Laura Crimaldi wrote, “Although census figures show about 65 percent of city residents identify as people of color, the upcoming election will be the first in Boston history that won’t result in a white man becoming mayor.” Each of the above candidates has argued that her personal experience and record best equips her to lead the city.

With the four mayoral candidates and an additional councilor not seeking re-election, around 40% of city council seats are open.

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