Michelle Wu, Democrat, has been elected the mayor of Boston’s top-voting candidate in a runoff election. However, it was too soon to determine her opponent in November.
Wu, a city councilor won Tuesday’s preliminary voting with Annissa Essaibi George in second. Even though partial results showed a close race for No. 2, two other candidates, acting mayor Kim Janey (with Andrea Campbell), conceded defeat late Tuesday evening. 2.
All four candidates are of color. John Barros is Boston’s former chief economic development officer and the only man in contention. Barros was well behind the four women.
It doesn’t matter who votes for Wu on Nov. 2, history will be made in a city where there has never been a Black resident, a woman or an Asian American mayor. The office has been held by white males for the last 200 years.
Wu and Tuesday’s winner will meet on Nov. 2, ushering into a new era in the city, which has struggled with racial or ethnic strife.
Wu stated to her supporters that she was overjoyed to have made it to the top two and is now moving on the final election. “I want to thank and honor this historic group of candidates. It was an incredible moment for Boston.”
Essaibi George claimed she had enough support to challenge Wu in November.
She told supporters that she was so grateful for their support, and added that every vote had to be counted. However, it didn’t mean they couldn’t celebrate.
Janey was the first Black Bostonian to hold the top office as an interim position after Marty Walsh, the former mayor, resigned to become President Joe Biden’s labor secretary.
Janey released a statement saying that she wanted to congratulate Michelle Wu, Annissa Essaibi George for their victories tonight. “This was an exciting and historic race and I wish them both success in the final election.”
Some leaders of the Black community tried to unite around one candidate in order to guarantee that at least one Black candidate could win one of the top two slots.
All the candidates are Democrats. Party primaries are not required for Boston’s mayoral race.
There are many backgrounds represented by the candidates. Wu’s parents came from Taiwan to immigrate to the United States. Janey Campbell and Campbell are both Black. Essaibi George calls herself a first-generation Arab/Polish American. Barros is of Cape Verdean heritage.
Wu, a 28-year-old Asian-American woman, was elected to the Boston City Council. She was the first woman of color elected to be president of the city council in 2016 by her fellow members.
Essaibi George received a number of endorsements throughout the race, including those from unions representing firefighters and nurses. William Gross, former Boston Police Commissioner, also supported Essaibi George.
Essaibi George was born in Boston’s Dorchester neighbourhood and taught in Boston Public Schools. In 2015, she was elected to the city council. Her father, a Tunisian national, immigrated to the United States in 1972. Her mother was born in Germany to Polish parents in a camp for displaced persons.
The November election could be used to see if voters in a long-dominated city of parochial neighborhoods and ethnic politics are willing to tap Wu, who was born in Chicago.
Wu came to Boston to study at Harvard Law School and Harvard University. She also studied under U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who was then a law professor. She is the only candidate who was not born in Boston.
Boston has seen a lot of change since 1970, when it was in the national spotlight for the chaos caused by school desegregation. In the 1980s, Charles Stuart’s case rekindled simmering racial tensions.
Stuart is believed to be the one who shot and killed his wife, pregnant in 1989. He tried to blame the murder on an unknown Black man. Police searched Black neighborhoods for a suspect. Stuart later died after jumping from a bridge.
According to the U.S. Census, white residents make up 44.6%, compared with Black residents (19.1%), Latino residents (18.7%), and those of Asian descent (11.2%).
Gentrification is one of the biggest challenges facing the city. This has led to the displacement of many long-term residents, especially those from historically Black neighborhoods.
The new mayor will also face many other challenges, including transportation woes and racial injustice, as well as policing and schools, and ongoing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.