Updates on the Boston mayor’s general election race
Here’s the latest on the head-to-head finale between Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George.
Boston City Councilors and general election mayoral candidates Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George. File
The election to choose the next mayor of Boston will take place Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.
Following a preliminary election on Sept. 14, the field was narrowed down to two final candidates:
View updates from prior to the preliminary election here.
Latest updates below:
Bill Galvin is not expecting blowout turnout in Boston’s historic mayoral race on Tuesday.
The Massachusetts secretary of state told reporters on Monday he is expecting about 135,000 voters will cast their ballots in the city — about a 30 percent overall turnout, which is slightly lower than in 2013, the last time Boston saw an open mayoral election.
That year, when former Mayor Marty Walsh succeeded his longtime predecessor Tom Menino and beat out John Connolly, just more than 142,000 people voted, Galvin said.
“We’ve had a dramatic increase in the number of voters in Boston, particularly attributable, I believe, to last year’s presidential election — we carry over 440,000 people on the rolls,” Galvin told reporters, according to the State House News Service. “My opinion is much as it was in the preliminary election: that it will not be a record turnout.”
So far, over 38,000 people have sent in a mail-in ballot out of the approximately 53,000 people who requested one, said Galvin, who admitted he was “encouraged” by that return rate.
Sixty other cities and towns across Massachusetts are also hosting local elections on Tuesday.
Michelle Wu’s campaign is urging local TV stations against running an ad they say is “false” and “defamatory” from a super PAC supporting her mayoral general election opponent, Annissa Essaibi George.
As the Dorchester Reporter first reported Friday night, a lawyer representing the Wu campaign sent a cease-and-desist letter to local broadcast stations asking them against running the ad from the group “Bostonians for Real Progress,” which attacks Wu over the purchase of her Roslindale home.
“We are writing to notify you that the ad is more defamatory and more full of wholly false claims than anything we have seen up to this point in this election,” the lawyer, Gerry McDonough, wrote, according to the Boston Herald. “It is a scorched-earth character assault on Michelle Wu, on the eve of Election Day, openly and falsely suggesting criminality and corruption.”
While broadcast TV campaign ads from the candidates themselves are not directly subject to truth-in-advertising laws due to constitutionally protected political speech rights, TV stations are allowed to reject ads from third-party groups if they think they include false claims.
The short ad from Bostonians for Real Progress, which reportedly began circulating on social media last week, suggests Wu got a “sweetheart deal” and received help from “real estate investors” in the purchase of her two-family home in Roslindale.
But it does not elaborate on the context of the purchase.
Wu and her husband bought the home in 2015 with her college roommate Elizabeth Likovich and her husband, the former of which works in real estate. According to The Boston Globe, records show that the Likoviches sold their portion of the home to Wu and her husband after 14 months at fair market value. The newspaper examined the connections between Wu and the Likoviches amid suggestions of impropriety and found no evidence of inappropriate activity. The Herald’s report Friday has more on the details:
The ad does leave out the context that the “investors” were Wu’s college roommate and the woman’s husband, who both went in on the Rozzie two-family with Wu and her husband. Wu then bought them out, but a purchase-and-sale agreement from February 2016 provided by the Wu campaign says Wu and her husband paid $390,000, as opposed to the $110,000 figure the ad asserts.
Publicly available documents do have the $110,000 mark listed as the sale price for the deed, but the Wu campaign says that doesn’t factor in mortgage considerations.
The college roommate is indeed involved in luxury development in Boston, but Wu’s campaign says Wu didn’t take any action on any of her projects. The PAC cites the fact that Wu didn’t oppose a large and swanky South End project, but doesn’t have any further evidence that she helped the friend in any way.
In a statement, Wu campaign spokeswoman Sarah Anders called it “sad but not surprising that those wishing to continue the status quo are choosing to spend the last days of this race peddling lies, rather than engaging voters on our most pressing issues, like housing affordability, quality schools, and the climate crisis.”
“We call upon those responsible for this false ad to immediately take it down,” Anders said. “Bostonians deserve better than cynical, dishonest smears, and we look forward to continuing our forward-looking, positive campaign until and through Election Day.”
Steve Jewitt, the executive director of Bostonians for Real Progress, stood by the ad, telling the Dorchester Reporter that it “clearly hit a nerve.”
Asked about the ad at a campaign event Saturday morning, Essaibi George said that she has “no connection with the PAC” and reiterated that she asked third-party groups to stay out of the race “months ago.”
“Beyond that I have nothing else to say,” she said, according to the Globe.
Wu — who also has supportive super PACs running ads on her behalf — has not called for the same blanket ban on super PACs in the race; she has however asked them to stay positive.
Mayoral candidate and city councilor Annissa Essaibi George is on a marathon 24-hour campaign blitz ahead of Tuesday’s election.
On Sunday, the Essaibi George campaign announced that she would travel to “every corner of the city” beginning at 5:15 p.m. for the Monument Square Halloween Parade & Trick or Treat in Charlestown and ending an Election Eve GOTV Rally with supporters in Hyde Park, plus 17 places in between.
Boston.com caught Essaibi George at 9:30 p.m. after her visit to Club Cafe’s Halloween Tea Party, when she was on her way to Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center Emergency Room to drop off treats for first responders.
How did you choose these locations?
“We just wanted to take a look at the city over a longer period of time. Generally, our work as an elected official and as a campaign are during the more typical working hours, but there’s so much that happens after hours. We’re doing a few Halloween celebrations, went to East Boston for some community trick or treating, then went to Club Cafe because where else would you want to be on Halloween night? It’s really about celebrating some of what’s great about Boston, and spending time meeting those who are working. There’s a lot that happens over the course of 24 hours in the city, and it’s important for the mayor to know about what’s happening at all hours of the night. We’re hoping to have just a glimpse of that this evening, the celebrations but also some of the challenges. We’re heading to a hospital emergency room to greet some of our nurses and medical staff — but it’s a glimpse, it’s not an opportunity to understand what they’re dealing with. It’s a snapshot of a moment in their time, and of the city’s time, over a 24-hour span.”
How are you getting through 24-hours on the campaign trail?
“We just stopped for an iced coffee. I did a little bit of dancing at Club Cafe, and dancing always gets the adrenaline going. I’m going to be tired at the end of this, there’s no pretending I won’t be, but so many of our city’s residents are pulling lots of hours to serve this city, whether they’re nurses or firefighters or working in one of our establishments. So, it’s important to take a glimpse at what they’re experiencing.”
How are you feeling ahead of Tuesday’s election?
“I’m feeling excited, I’m ready for Tuesday. I’m looking forward to opening the polls on Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. and closing the polls at 8 p.m. I’m excited about the celebration we’re going to have Tuesday night. I’m hopeful that the people of Boston believe in my leadership, appreciate my commitment to this city, and I hope they look forward to the work I want to do in partnership with all of them.”
Between Sunday and Monday nights, Essaibi George will be speaking with MBTA workers, visiting Mass & Cass around 2:30 a.m., dropping by Bova’s Bakery in the North End and the South Street Diner, speaking with bus drivers, testifying at a state hearing in support of establishing a commission to study the feasibility of employing mental health professionals as police department staff, and knocking on doors in Dorchester and Roxbury.
Deval Patrick is joining the ranks of current and former elected officials rallying behind Michelle Wu in the Boston mayor’s race.
The former Massachusetts governor endorsed Wu for mayor in a press release announced Friday afternoon by her campaign, praising the at-large city councilor’s leadership style as much as her progressive platform.
“The best leaders bring people together, with hope and determination, to forge solutions to pressing problems,” Patrick said in a statement. “That starts during a campaign, not just afterwards, and has to be about all the people, not just the ones already on your side. Michelle Wu has been that kind of leader on the City Council, and in this campaign. She is the kind of Mayor Boston needs and deserves.”
A fellow Democrat (and fellow Chicago native), Patrick went on to praise Wu’s platform on “housing, transportation, climate, education, public safety and so much more,” adding that “her humility and independence incline her to listen to the views of others.”
“She has demonstrated her understanding that, instead of more division or scare tactics, Boston needs transformative leadership that looks to the future,” Patrick said. “I am proud to endorse her for Mayor of Boston.”
The endorsement comes just days before the Nov. 2 general election, with polls suggesting Wu has a sizable lead over rival Annissa Essaibi George. Patrick had stayed out of the preliminary race. However, his wife, Diane Patrick, backed City Councilor Andrea Campbell — who served as deputy legal counsel during Patrick’s second term as governor — in the five-way field.
The couple sold their home in Milton in 2019, but still owns a house in the Berkshires.
In a statement, Wu said she was honored to receive the support of Patrick — the first Black governor of Massachusetts and the state’s only Democratic governor in the last three decades — citing his “legacy of bringing people together in politics and public service” and opening doors “for a new generation to lead.” After the 2020 election cycle (during which he was briefly a candidate), Patrick launched a political organization focused on growing a grassroots infrastructure for progressive Democratic politics.
“I look forward to continuing to partner with him on the urgent challenges facing Boston and the Commonwealth,” Wu said Friday.
Patrick’s successor, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, has repeatedly declined to weigh in on the Boston mayor’s race (while nonpartisan, both candidates are Democrats). During a GBH interview earlier this week, Baker said he tends to stay out of a race where he doesn’t have “a prior history”
“And in this case, I don’t have a prior history,” he said.
If the polls are correct, there isn’t much of a path to victory for Annissa Essaibi George in next week’s Boston mayoral election.
An Emerson College/WHDH poll released Thursday night found City Councilor Michelle Wu leading the race with 61 percent support, nearly doubling Essaibi George’s support, at 31 percent. Eight percent of voters remain undecided, the poll said.
It’s the fourth poll in recent weeks showing Wu with more than 50 percent support, indicating that Essaibi George will need to get voters to change their minds and switch their picks to have any chance to win next Tuesday. The three previous polls all showed Wu with a 32 percentage point lead.
According to the Emerson poll, Wu is dominating with 72 percent support of Democrats — which made up 66 percent of the 500 voters surveyed — compared to 24 percent for Essaibi George. Essaibi George got more than 80 percent support of Republicans, but they made up less than 5 percent of poll respondents in the increasingly liberal city. Independents, meanwhile, leaned slightly toward Wu — 45 percent to 39 percent.
While the last day of early voting wraps up Friday, 73 percent said they planned to vote on Election Day next Tuesday (10 percent said they were voting early, and 8 percent planned to vote by mail).
On the issues, 28 percent of voters said the next mayor should focus on housing within her first 100 days, compared to 21 percent who said education and 10 percent who said police reform.
A plurality, 36 percent, also said they think it’s “very important” that the next mayor enacts rent control, a form of which Wu supports and Essaibi George opposes — while 28 percent did not think it was important. Twenty-two percent said they thought it’s somewhat important, 8 percent said not very important, and 6 percent were unsure.
Asked about the general trajectory of the city, more than double the number of respondents said Boston was headed in the right direction compared to those who said it wasn’t, 48 percent to 23 percent.
Michelle Wu has received the blessing of Angela Menino, the wife of Tom Menino, Boston’s longest serving mayor (and Wu’s former boss), to follow in her late husband’s footsteps.
With just a few days until the Nov. 2 election, Wu’s campaign announced Menino’s endorsement Thursday night. And the 78-year-old widow said she thinks her husband would have endorsed Wu, too.
“In Michelle, I see someone like Tommy, who gets to know personally every part and person of our city to provide the city services we need,” Menino said in a statement, adding that she was proud to support Wu’s campaign to be mayor “and continue Tommy’s legacy as an urban mechanic who fights for Boston to be a city for everyone.”
Menino said she got to know Wu from her time working with Tom Menino at City Hall. Before she ran for City Council in 2013, Wu had worked for the city for two years through a Harvard Law School fellowship and designed both a streamlined licensing process for restaurants and a food truck program, catching then-mayor Menino’s eye, The New York Times reported this week.
“He had a great respect for her as she was raising her sister, navigating BPS to enroll her in classes all while achieving on her own by attending Harvard graduate school – her ability to remain focused on improving lives of people in the city while also dealing with her own family dynamics was impressive,” Angela Menino said Thursday.
Menino added that Wu’s “grace under pressure and sharp mind to think differently about city services and build trust among city agencies made her stand out.”
Menino’s husband died of cancer in 2014, less than a year after completing over two decades of service as Boston’s mayor.
Boston’s two living former mayors, Ray Flynn and Marty Walsh, have stayed out of the 2021 race (though Walsh’s mother is a supporter of Wu’s opponent, Annissa Essaibi George, who is often described as an ally of her son). However, according to Menino, her husband Tommy would not have been so hands off.
“I know my husband would have endorsed [Wu] for Mayor as he supported her when she ran for City Council,” Menino said. “She has my vote and full confidence that she will continue to earn the trust of the people in our neighborhoods that is necessary to get big things done for our city.”
The Satanic Temple of Salem wants Michelle Wu to leave Boston on Election Day.
The Salem-based organization has subpoenaed the city councilor at large and mayoral candidate in an attempt to get her to visit its home city to take questions about how the Boston City Council selects religious leaders to address the council during its regular meetings, according to Universal Hub.
The move is the latest chapter of a lawsuit the temple filed against the entire City Council earlier this year after the council declined to allow the satanists to deliver one of the invocations. The group alleges the selection policy is discriminatory and unconstitutional because the rules do not allow every religious organization that wants to deliver the invocation to do so.
Attorneys representing the city in federal court on Wednesday requested Judge Angel Kelley block the subpoena on the grounds it is harassment of a political candidate, Universal Hub reports.
The lawyers wrote in a legal memorandum that they asked the temple to pick a different day or city official, given that the lawsuit is against all councilors, and went so far as to provide a list of 47 people with knowledge of the invocation policy who could go in Wu’s stead.
But the organization rejected those requests and instead filed the subpoena for Nov. 2.
Wu chimed in on the matter on Twitter on Wednesday.
“I will be slightly busy on this day,” she wrote.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Could the city of Boston soon follow in the footsteps of New York and Los Angeles?
On the verge of becoming the city’s next mayor, City Councilor Michelle Wu reiterated her support for requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, fitness clubs, and other indoor entertainment venues during an interview on GBH’s “Boston Public Radio.”
“Yes, it should,” Wu said Wednesday, when asked if Boston should have the requirement.
Wu added that the policy would “ensure that those going into high-risk indoor settings are able to be protected — workers and the general public — which actually enables our businesses and institutions to continue functioning rather than shutting down.” The at-large city councilor noted that many performing arts venues in Boston have already imposed vaccination requirements.
“They’ve taken it on their own shoulders to do the research, to do the coordination, to set the proper rules, and then to absorb the backlash that that might bring on to them, as opposed to government stepping up and saying, ‘We are going to set clear standards across the board,’” Wu said. “This is actually something that helps businesses and of course … We need to be sure that the burden of administration isn’t on our entrepreneurs.”
It’s not a new stance for Wu, who first expressed support for so-called vaccine passports this summer. But her comments Wednesday also signal that she isn’t backing away from the position, with polls suggesting she’s the favorite to win the mayoral race on Nov. 2.
Wu’s general election rival, Annissa Essaibi George, has expressed concerns in the past about requiring proof of vaccination in order to enter a restaurant or gym.
“The past year-and-a-half has been incredibly challenging for our businesses,” Essaibi George said in August. “I worry about placing yet another burden on them when, instead, we could focus efforts on building trust in the vaccine and distributing it to our residents in a way that’s equitable.”
Acting Mayor Kim Janey has also opposed a citywide vaccination requirement for indoor recreation, arguing that such a policy would disproportionately shut out communities of color, in which vaccination rates have lagged (proponents counter that the policy would ultimately benefit those communities by pushing them to get vaccinated).
The debates are over, but on Tuesday night Boston’s mayoral candidates sat down individually for a forum on equity. It marks the last time the two candidates will appear together at an organized event before the Nov. 2 election.
Though City Councilors Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu took part in the NBC10 Boston forum separately, they were asked similar questions by hosts NBC10 Boston and NECN anchor Latoyia Edwards, Executive Director of King Boston Imari Paris Jeffries, and President and CEO of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts Segun Idowu.
Idowu asked each candidate to rate where Boston falls on reaching equity on a scale of one to ten. Essaibi George rated Boston a four or a five, and Wu rated the city a three.
“It’s a place we certainly have struggled,” Essaibi George said. “It really depends on when we’re talking about economic development, when we’re talking about housing, when we’re talking about education, we’ve got different grades along that spectrum, and especially as it relates to education or business ownership, there’s also some nuance. …We need to make sure we’re truly doing it in all our work.”
“We are a city known nationally for the gaps we face connected to a reputation of not being welcoming for all, reinforced by segregation and systemic policies that have continued to exacerbate disparities, even throughout the pandemic,” Wu said. “It’s always been an uphill push in Boston, and time and again we see our policies and leadership need to…change the process for who’s at the table.”
NBC10 conducted a Twitter poll asking residents what issue they want the mayor to tackle on day one, and the answer was clear: housing. From rent control to supporting first-time homebuyers, housing has come up every step of the way on the campaign trail.
Essaibi George focused on homeownership as a pathway to equitable housing, and also referenced her commitment to putting $100 million towards the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance to ensure wraparound services for families moving through the process for the first time.
“We’ve got to double down on our efforts around homeownership, not just first-time homebuyers but first-in-your-family homebuyers,” Essaibi George said
Wu talked about simplifying the contracting process to ensure that people-of-color-owned businesses have an equal shot at big city contracts, as well as providing emergency relief.
“We cannot continue to put bandaids on situations, so broadly my housing plan will focus on ensuring we’re using city dollars to directly create affordable housing,” Wu said.
There’s no escape from punishment for City of Boston workers who won’t follow Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s COVID-19 vaccination-or-testing requirement, no matter who is in office.
While the final mayoral debate Monday night included several points of contention, there was no disagreement between Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George on the ultimate punishment for city workers who refuse to comply with the requirement. Janey said earlier this month that hundreds of workers had been suspended without pay for not complying with the mandate, which requires employees to show either proof of vaccination or get a negative test each week. Janey added that continued non-compliance would “at some point” lead to termination (the policy does have religious and medical exemptions for those who can’t be vaccinated).
If that point comes after Janey has passed on power to Wu or Essaibi George, both mayoral finalists said Monday that they would follow through on firing non-compliant employees.
“Yes, I’m prepared to do that,” Essaibi George said, though she stressed the importance of building trust and sharing information to encourage vaccinations.
“That mandate is important for the health and wellbeing of our city, of our city’s people, and of our entire workforce — all 18,000 employees,” she said. “And I’m grateful to have the endorsement and the support of so many of them, and I stand behind that mandate.”
Wu also emphasized the importance of closing vaccination gaps and providing resources like paid leave to allow workers to recover from side effects. But ultimately, while Wu pledged to “make every effort to support those complying with it,” she said she would “uphold” the mandate.
“We do need to have a fully vaccinated workforce,” Wu said.
“I stand by this vaccine mandate because we need to make sure that every single worker is protected within City Hall and across all of our city buildings, as well as the general public who we are serving,” she said.
In the waning days of the 2021 Boston mayoral election season, Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George are still talking shop.
Boston.com recently caught up with the two candidates and city councilors to discuss everything from the city’s COVID-19 indoor mask mandate and the School Committee to how Boston is responding to the issues surrounding Mass. and Cass and a whole lot more.
Check out what the candidates had to say:
The 2021 Boston mayor’s race is almost over.
Candidates Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George are entering the final week of campaigning in the run up to Election Day on Nov. 2.
And they’re still making their pitches to voters who haven’t quite perhaps made up their minds.
For those voters who have decided, however, the early voting period began on Saturday and runs through Friday. Information about polling places and mail-in ballots is available on the city’s website.
As for what the candidates are up to, there are still several forums and a debate on the way.
On Monday at 7 p.m., the candidates will appear in the final televised debate hosted by The Boston Globe, WBUR, the McCormack Graduate School at UMass Boston, and WCVB, which will broadcast the event.
As for forums, NBC10 Boston will air a forum on Tuesday at 7 p.m. hosted by the station along with King Boston and the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts.
On Wednesday at 4 p.m., a virtual forum will be held by 2Life Communities and Rogerson Communities regarding the candidates’ “visions for Boston’s seniors.”
The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization will host a Zoom forum on Wednesday as well at 7 p.m.
On Thursday, Boston While Black hosts the candidates to talk “the policies, planning processes, and funding strategies needed for Boston to become a vibrant creative, cultural, and social hub for Black people.” The online forum begins at 5 p.m.
And on Friday at 7 p.m., the Boston University Student Government and the Boston Intercollegiate Government hosts the Boston Mayoral Student Forum on Zoom.
Registration is required for some of the online forums.
Watch the 2nd mayoral debate between Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George (Oct. 19)
Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George face off in their second head-to-head debate at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday night.
For the second time in as many weeks, a poll shows Michelle Wu with a sizable lead over general election rival and fellow city councilor Annissa Essaibi George among likely voters in the Boston mayor’s race.
According to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe/NBC10 poll released Tuesday, Wu has the support of 62 percent of likely voters, compared to 30 percent backing Essaibi George. With just days until early voting begins this weekend, 7 percent said they were undecided.
This poll — which surveyed 500 Boston residents from Oct. 15 to Oct. 17 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points — found similar levels of support for reimplementing rent control in Boston, which Wu supports and Essaibi George opposes. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they support the policy, compared to 30 percent who oppose it.
Suffolk University/Boston Globe/NBC10 poll of likely Boston November voters
Born & Raised:
Does not matter where B & R 59%
Prefer candidate B & R in Boston 33%
Prefer not B & R in Boston 4%
— David Paleologos (@davidpaleologos) October 19, 2021
Similarly, 59 percent said it didn’t matter whether a candidate was born and raised in Boston, while 33 percent said they prefer a candidate who grew up in the city. An additional 4 percent aligned with the preference for a candidate who wasn’t born and raised in Boston, “because our city would benefit from outside perspectives.” Wu grew up in Chicago before moving to the Boston area in college, while Essaibi George is a Dorchester native.
On the subject of policing, a 56 percent majority said they wanted a strong police force, but backed efforts to re-allocate police funding into mental health and social programs. Twenty-six percent said the Boston Police Department needs more funding, while 10 percent said they believe in “defunding” the police — an effort Essaibi George has accused Wu of supporting.
One subject that did lean in Essaibi George’s direction was that 48 percent of respondents said they supported “thoughtful, incremental change,” over the 36 percent who wanted “bold, transformational change.” Just 10 percent said Boston should stay the way it is.
The third and final Boston mayoral debate between general election finalists Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George will be held next Monday, Oct. 25, just eight days before Election Day.
WCVB announced Monday that it will host the live, one-hour debate at 7 p.m. at its Needham studios, in partnership with The Boston Globe, WBUR, and UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies,
The debate will be moderated by WCVB anchor host Ed Harding, with fellow WCVB anchor and On The Record co-host Janet Wu, Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker, and WBUR anchor Tiziana Dearing as panelists.
In addition to WCVB, the event will be broadcast on WBUR, and live-streamed on WCVB.com, WBUR.org, UMB.edu, Globe.com, and Boston.com.
The debate also comes six days after the second general election debate this Tuesday night on NBC10 Boston. And unlike the first debate on WBZ-TV last week (the second half of which was relegated to an online stream due to Jeopardy), a WCVB spokeswoman confirmed that next Monday’s debate will air in its entirety on the broadcast network.
With less than a week before early voting begins in Boston’s mayoral general election and “a little bit of work to do to catch up,” Annisa Essaibi George is knocking fellow city councilor and mayoral candidate Michelle Wu over her past calls for cutting the police department’s budget.
And her allies argue that the police department budget isn’t the only thing Wu wants to defund.
In a new attack ad that Wu’s campaign says is misleading, a super PAC supporting Essaibi George — named Bostonians for Real Progress — says that, in addition to the police, Wu “even proposes defunding the T,” in reference to her support for eliminating public transit fares.
Read the full story on Boston.com.
Both of Boston’s mayoral candidates continue to clamp down endorsements as the city inches closer to the Nov. 2 final election.
Michelle Wu on Monday unveiled she has received the backing of two former mayoral candidates: Tito Jackson, also a former city councilor, and Charlotte Golar Richie, the former state representative.
“I am proudly endorsing Michelle Wu for Mayor of Boston,” Jackson said in a statement. “From boldly tackling our housing crisis to ensuring our public transportation system is accessible and serves all, Michelle is prepared to meet the urgency of this moment. I have worked closely with her on the City Council and know that she is the candidate with the record and bold vision to make our city more equitable for all, especially communities of color. I look forward to continuing to partner with her to work towards racial, social, economic, and climate justice for our communities.”
Golar Richie, in a statement, said: “Michelle has proven through her track record that she is the candidate who’ll drive an agenda that advances racial, social, and economic justice for Boston. And because she knows how to work the levers of government to effect meaningful change – not only is she ready to make our goals on equity a reality – she’ll also work to make government more responsive to the needs of all Boston residents.”
On Sunday, Essaibi George announced she received support from SEIU 888, which represents over 8,500 public service workers, and SENA 9158, or the Salaried Employees of North America, along with that of fellow City Councilor Frank Baker, of District 3.
The endorsements came in tandem with an updated policy plan for how the city should immediately address the area known as Mass and Cass, which faces challenges from those struggling with substance abuse disorder to health, sanitary, and quality-of-life issues.
“SEIU Local 888 represents many of the Boston city workers who are working on the frontlines of Mass and Cass. We know that to better this city it’s not enough to sit in the Mayor’s Office and avoid the hard truth. We need a Mayor that shows up and does so without fanfare — that person is Annissa Essaibi George,” Thomas McKeever, president of SEIU Local 888, said in a statement. “This plan demonstrates Annissa’s commitment to leading with those doing the work and we’re proud to be with her in this race.”
“SENA 9158 is proud to endorse Annissa Essaibi George for Mayor,” Joseph Smith, president of SENA 9158 said in a statement. “Our members are there at Mass and Cass, and Annissa is the partner we need to fight for safe working conditions and ensure decisions are made in collaboration with those doing the work.”
Baker, in a statement of his own, said the city “simply can’t wait for the next Mayor to spend her time familiarizing herself with the issues before she gets to work.”
“Annissa knows this area, the people, and the partners we need to bring in,” Baker said. “She is the only candidate who is ready to take immediate action on Day One to end this devastation. I’m so proud to stand with her today and to support her in this race.”
Fraudulent flyers that claimed to have come from Sen. Ed Markey on behalf of Michelle Wu’s campaign were handed out around housing developments and homeless encampments near Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard and promised $100 gift cards in exchange for holding campaign signs, according to Wu’s staff.
In a statement, campaign manager Mary Lou Akai-Ferguson said about 20 people arrived at a canvass kick-off event with Markey at Moakley Park on Sunday with the flyers in hand.
The flyers boasted compensation for participating in the event.
“They told us the flyers were being passed out at the housing development across the street and the tents in the area near Mass Ave & Melnea Cass Blvd,” Akai-Ferguson said in the statement. “Upon learning that the flyers weren’t actually from our campaign, several people were extremely disappointed because they said they were hungry and wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to eat that day.”
The Wu campaign ended up ordering sandwiches for those who turned out, Akai-Ferguson said.
The statement went on to call the situation “a heartless, manipulative move” and called on Annissa Essaibi George to “condemn this despicable tactic.”
Nicole Caravella, Essaibi George’s communications director, told Politico the campaign did not know about the flyers.
“We had no knowledge of it and would never stoop to such low levels,” Caravella said in a statement. “Our most vulnerable residents need our help, not to be grossly misled for some disgusting political stunt.”
The flyers arrived as the race began to intensify over the weekend, including when an Essaibi George-aligned PAC, Bostonians for Real Progress, launched an attack ad against Wu.
Annissa Essaibi George is sharpening her pitch in two new campaign ads released Thursday, just hours after her first one-on-one debate with fellow City Councilor Michelle Wu.
“I’m voting for real change, not empty promises,” says one of Essaibi George’s former students at East Boston High School in an ad titled “A New Boston.”
In another ad released Thursday, “Let’s Talk About Leadership,” supporters of Essaibi George say “real leadership” is “not a press conference or a hashtag,” but instead “showing up in our neighborhoods and delivering real results.”
“That’s real progress,” a supporter says.
The two 15-second ads, which Essaibi George’s campaign is spending $100,000 to air on TV, echo the theme of her campaign (and the two super PACs supporting her, both of which have “Real Progress” in their name) contending that the Dorchester native’s more moderate, pragmatic approach is more effective than Wu’s pitch of structural change.
However, in her first ad of the general election, Wu suggested that the results of last month’s preliminary election, in which she was the top vote-getter, indicate that “a mayor who will deliver big, bold solutions” is what Boston residents want.
“This is a moment for change,” Wu said in the ad, which also has $100,000 behind it.
Karl Xie got a surprise shortly after beginning a comedy routine about how he planned to vote for Michelle Wu in the Boston mayor’s race during a fundraiser Saturday.
“I didn’t expect the other candidate to be in the audience,” Xie wrote the following day on Instagram.
As The Boston Globe reported Tuesday, while the 27-year-old Allston resident riffed about how Wu seemed “reliable” and that her candidacy was “good for us” as an Asian American, sitting at a table just a few feet away was Wu’s opponent, Annissa Essaibi George. It wasn’t until another attendee at the Latino Law Enforcement Group of Boston fundraiser pointed out her presence that Xie became aware of the somewhat awkward situation.
“You’re running for mayor? Sorry, I’m not voting for you this time,” Xie said, garnering laughs from the crowd and joking calls for a “refund” from Essaibi George.
Eventually, Essaibi George got up and introduced herself to Xie as the audience continued to laugh at the situation.
“Nice to meet you, Annissa,” he said. “I will see you whenever they vote for the next mayor, alright?”
Xie added later that he knows “nothing about politics,” garnering rejoinders of “obviously” from the crowd. In his Instagram post, Xie said he wished both candidates luck. And to Essaibi George, he said, “I will vote for you in 2025.”
Annissa Essaibi George’s strong Boston accent has featured centrally in her campaign for mayor; in two ads and her preliminary election night speech, the Dorchester native has repeated that she will be “the teacher, the mother, and the mayor” to fight for the city’s “hard-working families,” dropping her R’s to various degrees in the process.
But now, Essaibi George is pushing back on the perceived undertones of that emphasis.
In response to a Boston Globe column Tuesday, which called her accent “a dog whistle” to the more conservative, white voters that propelled Essaibi George into the general election against an opponent in Michelle Wu promising more systemic change, the at-large city councilor tweeted: “It’s official. I literally cannot open my mouth.”
“This is hurtful to say the least,” Essaibi George continued. “Let me be clear: As Mayor, I will work every day to build a more inclusive city for ALL. The results of which will have absolutely nothing to do with how I, or anyone else, pronounce our Rs.”
This is hurtful to say the least. Let me be clear: As Mayor, I will work every day to build a more inclusive city for ALL. The results of which will have absolutely nothing to do with how I, or anyone else, pronounce our Rs.
— Annissa Essaibi George (@AnnissaForBos) October 13, 2021
The Globe article acknowledged that Essaibi George’s accent is “authentic.” The daughter of Polish and Tunisian immigrants, she was born and raised in Dorchester.
“Yet in a city whose aspirations for world-class sophistication run head-on into its stubborn parochialism, it’s a tangible emblem of kinship for older white voters in a city that increasingly looks and thinks less like them,” columnist Renee Graham wrote, alluding to data showing that Boston, which has never elected anyone but a white male as mayor, is changing demographically.
In the preliminary election, Essaibi George dominated in high-turnout, mostly white neighborhoods in Dorchester, West Roxbury, and South Boston. But she drew just single-digit support in the wards that make up the heart of Boston’s Black communities. In the weeks since, she has gone on a listening tour in the city’s communities of color and released an “equity, inclusion, and justice” agenda that includes increased home down-payment assistance, a fund for entrepreneurs of color, and the full implementation of a police reform task force’s recommendations.
In a New York Times article last week, Essaibi George admitted that her campaign has “had a little bit of fun with the accent,” but said it wasn’t to gain a political advantage.
“I don’t think about it at all,” she said. “It is how I think. It’s how I talk.”
Michelle Wu has a considerable lead over fellow City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George in the race to become Boston’s next mayor, a new poll shows.
A survey of 501 likely voters conducted by MassINC Polling Group for The Dorchester Reporter, the Boston Foundation, and WBUR released on Wednesday found Wu leads by 30 percentage points, or 52 percent to Essaibi George’s 22 percent.
The survey, conducted between Oct. 6 and 12, found about 24 percent of voters surveyed remained undecided with just over three weeks to go until the Nov. 2 final election. The margin of error was 4.9 percent.
Wu’s lead grew to 57 percent — to Essaibi George’s 25 percent — when undecided voters were asked which candidate they were leaning toward.
The results suggest Wu has been able to turn her victory in last month’s preliminary election into even greater momentum: The city councilor at-large finished first with a little over 33 percent of the vote. Essaibi George, the runner-up, garnered almost 22.5 percent.
The latest poll, which arrived as the two candidates were set to spar Wednesday at 7 p.m. in a debate hosted by WBZ-TV, also found 61 percent of likely voters surveyed have a favorable view of Wu — surpassing the 56 percent held by Gov. Charlie Baker, Massachusetts’s popular, two-term Republican governor. Essaibi George, meanwhile, holds favorable status among 37 percent of the respondents.
Asked about priorities for the next mayor, the most respondents — or 82 percent — indicated improving Boston Public Schools should be a major priority, followed by “controlling housing costs,” which 74 percent said should also be a top priority. Sixty-nine percent put improving public transit as another major issue.
Read the full results:
Topline 2021 10 Boston Mayor Mayor City Council by Christopher Gavin on Scribd
Crosstabs 2021 10 Boston Mayor Mayor City Council by Christopher Gavin on Scribd
Both of the mayoral candidates facing off in Boston’s mayoral general election say they support Acting Mayor Kim Janey’s move Wednesday to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day over Columbus Day in the city.
However, one of the candidates, Annissa Essaibi George, says she would have liked to see more public engagement in Janey’s decision-making process.
“As I’ve said from the start, we need to come together and have tough conversations, and that’s exactly what I would have liked to have seen happen with a process,” Essaibi George told Boston.com in a statement. “It’s only with those conversations that we acknowledge our history and move forward together.”
The at-large city councilor added that she believes the city should celebrate “Indigenous People’s Day AND the heritage and contributions of the Italian people—but it shouldn’t be in the name of Christopher Columbus.”
Her comments echo the sentiment of City Councilor Lydia Edwards, who represents the city’s Italian-American-heavy North End and criticized Janey’s surprise executive order this week. While she supports the move to supplant Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, Edwards — who has endorsed Michelle Wu in the mayoral race — said “unilateral decision making is wrong.”
Meanwhile, Wu said she “fully” supports celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day as an official holiday and suggested exploring an additional holiday to celebrate Italian Americans.
“There is plenty of room for Boston also to commemorate our Italian immigrant roots with an official holiday, and I look forward to creating the process and space for meaningful celebrations that can connect all of us as neighbors and community members,” Wu told Boston.com in a statement Thursday.
Read the two candidates’ full statements below:
As I’ve said from the start, we need to come together and have tough conversations, and that’s exactly what I would have liked to have seen happen with a process. It’s only with those conversations that we acknowledge our history and move forward together. I believe we should celebrate Indigenous People’s Day AND the heritage and contributions of the Italian people—but it shouldn’t be in the name of Christopher Columbus.
I fully support ensuring Indigenous Peoples’ Day is represented among the city’s official holidays. We must take every opportunity to uplift the culture and heritage of Indigenous people and recognize the harms that took place throughout our shared history. There is plenty of room for Boston also to commemorate our Italian immigrant roots with an official holiday, and I look forward to creating the process and space for meaningful celebrations that can connect all of us as neighbors and community members.
From Rep. Ayanna Pressley to an initiative dubbed “Wakanda II,” Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu has seen more and more local Black leaders back her mayoral bid since the city’s preliminary election, in which all three Black candidates were eliminated.
Perhaps surprisingly, though, is one group not rallying behind Wu.
Betty Lim King, one of the leaders of the AAPI Action Group, a coalition of prominent local Asian Americans, told Politico that her group wants to see an Asian mayor in Boston, but that Wu — whose parents immigrated from Taiwan — is “not the right one.”
“We need to have grassroots people, real people, not people who are so polished,” King told Politico in a newsletter Thursday, adding that Wu “doesn’t really understand our concerns.”
As WBUR first reported last week, the AAPI Action Group is backing Wu’s general election rival, fellow City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, calling the Dorchester native “more grounded — not pie in the sky.”
“She doesn’t look like us,” King told Politico “But she shares our core values of responsible citizenship, grit, hard work, reason.”
AAPI Action Group’s stance speaks to the differing opinions in the Asian-American community about the candidate poised to become the city’s first Asian-American mayor. The group Chinese Progressive Political Action backed Acting Mayor Kim Janey is the mayoral preliminary race, before rallying behind Wu in the general election.
King’s comments also come as major figures in the local Black community continue to coalesce around Wu, citing her progressive platform and commitment to equity. Not only was she recently endorsed by Pressley and Janey, but Wu also this week received the support of Wakanda II, an effort led by former state Sen. Diane Wilkerson to consolidate the Black vote behind a single candidate (the group had supported Janey in the preliminary). During an office opening Wednesday afternoon in Mattapan, she was also endorsed by over 20 local Haitian-American leaders.
But as even Wu admits, endorsements from community leaders don’t always translate into votes — though she did win 50 percent of the vote in the precinct covering most of Chinatown.
Asked about AAPI groups endorsing other candidates, Wu told Politico that “no community is a monolith” and said people should vote “no matter where you end up in the election.”
Annissa Essaibi George has released her vision for prioritizing representation in and access to City Hall, particularly for communities of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, those with disabilities, women, and the working class, under a new plan unveiled on Tuesday.
The “Equity, Inclusion and Justice Agenda” aims to “root out systemic inequity and dismantle racism in issues such as education, housing, transportation, climate, healthcare, public safety, and basic city services” and outlines how the city councilor at-large would take an equity and justice approach to addressing Boston’s biggest issues, if elected mayor, her campaign says.
“As I stated when I first announced my candidacy, I believe in a Boston that sees the inequities and everyday injustices—and then tackles them head on,” Essaibi George said in a statement. “It will be a constant work in progress to build a better Boston for all, and I look forward to doing that work, together, as your Mayor.”
The plan, announced at an event in Roxbury, drew on input from roundtable conversations with community members, according to the Essaibi George campaign.
The councilor said the agenda can “only be informed by showing up in our communities and listening to and learning from our residents.”
“What’s reflected in Annissa’s agenda is the culmination of six years of listening and learning. She’s done the work,” Anthony Seymour, a violence prevention and youth support resources advocate, said in a statement. “We’ve been on many walks together, we’ve sat across from each other at meetings, and I know when I call her she will pick up the phone and get things done.”
The plan is presented as an ever-evolving agenda — “a constant work in progress,” according to the campaign.
“This agenda is personal to me because I helped inform it. Annissa came to talk to me and several other women about our experiences in Boston’s workforce and the barriers we face in building a more equitable economy,” Renee Dozier, a member of IBEW Local 103, said in a statement. “We have a lot of work to do. But I trust Annissa, as my mayor, will be the one to bring my voice and the voices of my community to City Hall.”
On Tuesday, Essaibi George also announced she would invest $100 million to bring the plan to life and that she would create a task force of residents to lead a process for allocating the money.
Read the full plan.
City Councilor Michelle Wu now has the support of both of Massachusetts’s U.S. senators in her bid to be Boston’s next mayor.
In a press release Wednesday morning, Wu’s campaign announced that she had nabbed the endorsement of Sen. Ed Markey, the state’s junior senator and co-author of the Green New Deal raft of policies that the Boston city councilor has championed at the local level.
Markey, a longtime environmental advocate, said in a statement that Wu had “made transformational action on climate change central to her commitment to the City of Boston.”
“Her proposals to expand access to free public transportation, decarbonize our economy, and invest in the basic rights of clean air and water will put Boston on a path to implement the systemic changes we need to provide our children, workers, and families a just and livable future,” the Malden Democrat said. “Michelle Wu will make Boston a Green New Deal city and position us to lead the national movement for climate action.”
Markey’s endorsement comes three weeks after the city’s preliminary mayoral election whittled the race down to two candidates: Wu and fellow City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George. It also comes nearly nine months after his Senate partner, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, officially endorsed Wu, her former Harvard Law School student and campaign aide.
The endorsement isn’t necessarily a shock. Since the beginning of Wu’s campaign, many of the young activists who had helped Markey fend off former Rep. Joe Kennedy III in his Senate primary had rallied behind her mayoral bid. And one national climate change-focused political group said Tuesday that Wu is “perhaps the biggest champ for the Green New Deal this cycle.”
Essaibi George, on the other hand, has criticized the climate change discussion as being driven by “wealthy white suburbanites.” She was the only mayoral candidate during a preliminary race forum this past spring to not give climate change a 10 on a 1-to-10 scale of priority (she gave it an 8). And while she says the issue is “critical,” Essaibi George has argued that, as mayor, she would be more effective at focusing on schools, jobs, and public safety.
Markey joins a growing list of top Democratic elected officials in Massachusetts who have backed Wu, including Warren, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey, and over a dozen state legislators.
“Senator Ed Markey’s bold vision has inspired activists, young people, and so many community members to lead, and I am honored to have his support,” Wu said.
Less than a week after Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George meet for their first Boston mayoral debate, the two general election finalists will face off again.
NBC10 Boston, NECN, and Telemundo announced Tuesday that the TV networks will broadcast the second Boston mayoral debate on Tuesday, Oct. 19.
The hour-long NBC debate, hosted by Dorchester native and NBC10 morning news anchor Latoyia Edwards, will air live on NBC10 Boston and NECN at 7 p.m. It will also be live-streamed from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on NBC10Boston.com and NECN.com and in Spanish on TelemundoNuevaInglaterra.com.
“Our stations’ bi-lingual, multi-platform coverage throughout all Boston communities ensures a larger, inclusive audience will be able to watch the anticipated face-off,” Chris Wayland, the president and general manager of NBC’s local stations, said in a statement Tuesday.
The debate is also being hosted in partnership with two local Dorchester-based newspapers, the Dorchester Reporter and the Bay State Banner, which will help solicit questions from community members. NBC10 Boston political reporter Alison King and Telemundo Boston news anchor Grace Gómez will serve as panelists.
The event follows the first debate between Wu and Essaibi George, hosted by WBZ, next Wednesday, Oct. 13. A third 2021 mayoral debate has yet to be announced.
Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George continue to bring in endorsements before the Nov. 2 final election.
On Monday, East Boston state Rep. Adrian Madaro endorsed Wu, praising the at-large city councilor for focusing on public transit, equity, immigrants’ rights, and environmental justice.
Madaro is the House chair for the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery.
“My friend Michelle Wu has been a champion on the issues that matter most in East Boston. Whether it’s her tireless efforts to improve our public transportation system and make it more affordable, her commitment to equity, or her Boston Green New Deal to protect our open spaces, Michelle is the best choice for our neighborhoods,” Madaro said in a statement. “Michelle is a first-generation American like me, and I know she will fight for the rights of our immigrant neighbors. I’m proud to endorse her today.”
Essaibi George received the endorsement of the Painters and Allied Trades DC 35 (IUPAT DC 35) — which boasts nearly 1,000 members in Boston — on Monday afternoon in Roslindale.
“DC 35 is proud to stand with Annissa Essaibi George in this race,” Jeff Sullivan, Business Manager of IUPAT DC 35, said in a statement. “Annissa has been a fierce champion for workers’ rights and an economy that prioritizes working people. Boston needs a leader that not only understands what working families are up against in this city, but is ready to take those challenges head on. It’s why Annissa needs to be the next Mayor of Boston.”
Rep. Ayanna Pressley is weighing in.
The Massachusetts congresswoman announced Friday morning that she is endorsing Michelle Wu over fellow former City Council colleague Annissa Essaibi George in the mayoral general election race.
“Michelle has a passion for service and a vision for our city that is grounded in her own lived experience and belief in the transformative potential of policy,” Pressley said in a statement. “At this pivotal moment in our city’s history, we need bold leadership – that’s why I’m so proud to endorse Michelle’s candidacy for Mayor. I look forward to continuing to work alongside her to tackle the entrenched challenges of racial, social, economic, healthcare, and environmental injustice facing our communities.”
The endorsement comes after the Dorchester Democrat stayed out of the preliminary race, praising the historically diverse field of candidates, four of whom were former colleagues. Her husband, Conan Harris, was also a prominent supporter of the fifth major candidate, John Barros.
Still, the general election nod Friday doesn’t come as a complete surprise; Essaibi George was the only one of the five mayoral candidates who did not sign onto a pledge put forward by Pressley indicating agreement on a number of policies, including criminal justice reform, student debt cancellation, and fare-free public transit. Pressley has even introduced legislation to provide federal funding for fare-free transit pilots, one of Wu’s signature policy proposals.
Pressley, who became the first woman of color elected to the Boston City Council in 2009, also noted that she had worked closely with Wu for “nearly a decade.” A fellow Chicago native, Wu became the second woman of color to join the council in 2014. They served together through 2018, when Pressley was elected to represent the state’s Boston-area 7th District in Congress.
In a statement, Wu said Friday that she was honored to receive Pressley’s official support.
“We’ve legislated together, organized together, and partnered on delivering change—from equity in city contracting and healthcare access, to fighting for transit justice,” she said. “I can’t wait to continue partnering for Boston to lead the way in building healthy, equitable, and resilient communities across our neighborhoods.”
Annissa Essaibi George said Thursday that her husband, developer Doug George, will not participate in any new construction projects in Boston, if she is elected mayor this fall.
“I do not want my husband at City Hall, unless he’s bringing me a cup of coffee or for a visit with the kids or to bring in my dry cleaning,” Essaibi George said Thursday during a GBH interview.
She also said that, if elected, her husband will not appear before any board with mayoral appointments and that his existing business activity “will be overseen by an ombudsperson who will ensure compliance with all relevant city and state rules.”
The commitments come after a Boston Globe story in July suggested Essaibi George’s office violated a state conflict of interest law in 2019 by advocating against a neighboring project that affected a property owned by her husband. After the Globe began looking into the issue, Essaibi George’s team said they were “working to file any necessary disclosures.” Essaibi George confirmed Thursday that she had “filed formally with the state Ethics Commission, as I should.”
“My husband has run his business since long before I even started dating him, and I have not been directly involved in his business,” she said. “As his wife, I certainly benefit from the success of his business. And during the preliminary, I’ve been asked to answer these questions. And although it is still sometimes frustrating and a distraction from the work that I want to discuss. I understand, as mayor, I will be held to this high standard.”
The local construction workers union once led by former Boston mayor Marty Walsh, which is now led by his cousin, who is also named Marty Walsh, is endorsing City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George in the mayoral general election race.
Laborers’ Local 223, which has an estimated 1,700 members in Boston, announced Wednesday morning that it was backing Essaibi George this fall, after previously supporting state Rep. Jon Santiago in the mayoral preliminary race.
“We are so proud to endorse Annissa Essaibi George and are ready to get to work to elect her as the next Mayor of Boston. She’s the leader for working residents and the partner we need in City Hall,” Marty Walsh, the former mayor’s cousin and business manager of Local 223, said.
“Since her first days on the City Council, Annissa has proved she can bring people together to have difficult, necessary conversations that deliver results for Boston’s residents,” Walsh continued. “She knows we all deserve a seat at the policy making table and isn’t afraid to pull you up a chair herself.”
The former mayor himself is staying out of the race to succeed him for a full term. However, the endorsement Wednesday means that at least two of his close family members are publicly supporting Essaibi George. The fellow Dorchester native told WCVB last month Walsh’s mother, Mary Walsh, was supporting her in the preliminary and then she accompanied her to early voting.
Essaibi George said Wednesday that she was “thrilled” to have the support of Local 223.
“As a longtime union member myself, I know what it means to fight—for fair wages, safe working conditions, and good benefits,” the former public school teacher said. “More importantly, I know that we fight harder when we fight together.”
Michelle Wu picked up a big endorsement over the weekend when acting Mayor Kim Janey said she would back her former opponent in the mayor’s race.
So what can voters expect to hear from City Councilor Andrea Campbell?
Campbell finished third in this month’s preliminary election, just ahead of Janey by a hair.
On Tuesday, Campbell told WBZ’s Jon Keller she is making public what is usually a private endorsement decision process in hopes of finding commitments from candidates for Boston’s Black community.
“These are folks who for years have been made promises that elected officials are gonna close the racial wealth gap, move people out of poverty, make it less expensive to live in the city of Boston, root out the racial inequities in our policing model and so much more,” Campbell said. “And many of these promises have not been kept.”
So where do things stand now for Wu and Annissa Essaibi George when it comes to Campbell?
“With some of Councilor Essaibi George’s positions it’s going to be difficult to meet what community and my supporters want with regard to policing reform,” Campbell told WBZ. “For Councilor Wu, it really involves specifics and really getting at the tangible things you’re going to do.”
While Campbell indicated she plans to make an endorsement ahead of the Nov. 2 final election, she also told Keller she doesn’t think endorsements, generally speaking, always carry weight with voters.
“I think some do and some don’t, to be frank,” she said. “I know mine would because a lot of my supporters have already reached out with hesitancy about both candidates.”
City Councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George will face off in the first one-on-one mayoral debate of the 2021 race in just over two weeks.
WBZ announced Tuesday evening that it will host the first debate between the two general election finalists on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. The event will be moderated by longtime WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller, who is accepting questions from Boston residents via email at [email protected].
According to WBZ, each candidate will have up to a minute to address each question, followed by open-ended periods of discussion and rebuttal. They will also be able to question one another.
According to Keller, the debate will also air on the online streaming channel CBSN Boston and WBZ Newsradio 1030.
The event is the first of three planned TV debates ahead of the Nov. 2 election.
The Arroyos are hopping on the Wu train.
After their preferred candidate, Acting Mayor Kim Janey, fell short in the mayoral preliminary election, Suffolk County Register of Probate Felix D. Arroyo and Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo announced Tuesday afternoon that they are endorsing City Councilor Michelle Wu in the general election finale.
In statements released by Wu’s campaign, the politically connected father-and-son duo said they were backing Wu over her more moderate rival, fellow City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, “proudly” and “without hesitation.”
“Throughout Michelle’s career she has shown leadership on social, economic and environmental justice and I am certain she will continue to show that leadership as our Mayor,” the elder Felix Arroyo, a city councilor from 2003 to 2007 and the first Latino to serve on the body, said in a statement. “Michelle is the candidate best suited to meet this moment and as Mayor she will continue to advance our shared values of justice and equity for all.”
His son, Ricardo Arroyo, who represents District 5, added that Wu has a “progressive vision that centers justice and addresses the underlying causes of inequity in Boston.”
“Michelle is creating the necessary coalition’s required to ensure Boston is a city where everyone can thrive and have a voice,” he said.
The two Arroyos had previously thrown their weight behind Janey, who finished fourth in the Sept. 14 preliminary election. She also endorsed Wu this past weekend.
Michelle Wu will appear above Annissa Essaibi George for mayor on the Nov. 2 final election ballot.
Wu’s name was drawn first at random by the Boston Election Commission on Monday at City Hall — the common practice for determining the listed order on the ballots.
Commissioners also drew names for the order of candidates running for the four at-large city councilor seats to appear on the ballot. The order is: David Halbert, Bridget M Nee-Walsh, Julia Mejia, Carla Monteiro, Ruthzee Louijeune, Althea Garrison, Michael Flaherty, Erin J. Murphy.
Watch the drawing:
Acting Mayor Kim Janey endorsed City Councilor Michelle Wu in the Boston mayor’s race over the weekend, and Wu’s general election rival Annissa Essiabi George wishes she got more of a heads up.
Essaibi George told The Boston Globe that she learned about Janey’s plans to endorse Wu at a rally Saturday on Friday evening, and called the acting mayor to ask her about it.
“It would have been nice to have heard it from her as we are colleagues in government, [and] as we’ve built a nice working relationship,” Essaibi George said. “I’m disappointed.”
Janey’s endorsement served an unprecedented moment in Boston politics — as the first woman and person of color to serve as the city’s mayor throwing her support behind a candidate who would be the first woman and person or color to get elected as mayor. However, it also wasn’t a total shock; the two progressive city councilors have shared priorities and positions — and even a campaign office in 2019 — since Janey was elected in 2017.
“Important policies like our housing agenda, equitable vaccine distribution, and how we handle mental health crises are on the line in this election,” Janey said in a statement Saturday. “Moreover, Black and Brown residents who are most impacted by systemic inequities need a leader in City Hall who will center equity and inclusion in all her policies, and ensure they have a seat at the table when real decisions are made.
“I’ve worked closely with Michelle Wu on the City Council,” Janey wrote, “and I believe she is the candidate with the record and the values to not only protect the progress we have made, but build upon it to create a city that is more equitable, just, and resilient.”
The endorsement could also help solidify support for Wu in the city’s Black neighborhoods, after all three Black candidates fell short in the preliminary election. Though Janey finished fourth in the Sept. 14 contest, she did win more than 50 percent of the vote in 25 majority-Black precincts in neighborhoods like Roxbury and Mattapan.
Essaibi George struggled in those neighborhoods, winning no more than 8 percent of the vote in any of the 25 precincts where Janey performed best. (In contrast, Wu’s support ranged from 11 percent to 22 percent in those precincts.)
Essaibi George also announced the beginning of a weeklong “Listen & Learn Tour” on Monday to hear from underrepresented groups and inform her Equity, Inclusion and Justice Agenda. The series of events includes stops in East Boston, Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan, with discussions about inclusion, rooting out racism, and forming community partnerships.
In her interview with the Globe, Essaibi George downplayed the impact of Janey’s endorsement.
“I’m still committed to doing this work for sure,” she told the Globe. “And it is one endorsement. And the endorsement of elected officials, the endorsement of organizations are fantastic and they look good on literature. But they don’t replace the work it takes to meet every city resident, to knock on their door, to have a cup of coffee, to have a conversation, to earn their vote.”
In an interview on WBZ’s Jon Keller, mayoral candidate Annissa Essaibi George called statements that she has ties to Donald Trump “gross,” after a super PAC supporting her campaign received a large donation from a local Trump supporter.
“Any affiliation, any commentary, any implication that I am connected to Donald Trump, to me, is a gross statement,” Essaibi George said.
Essaibi George — a Dorchester native and former City Councilor — will be running against City Councilor Michelle Wu in Boston’s November mayoral election.
The donation in question was made by Republican Jim Davis, the billionaire chairman of New Balance. He reportedly donated $495,000 to an independent super PAC supporting Essaibi George’s campaign for mayor.
“I am the daughter of immigrants — I am the daughter of an Arab Muslim immigrant to this country,” Essaibi George said. “I’m a former public school teacher, I’m a woman, I’m a mother, I am very much proud to be a Democrat.”
Essaibi George added her past history with the Democratic party, including endorsing progressive officials such as Ayanna Pressley and Senator Markey and volunteering on the Biden-Harris team during the 2020 election.
“I don’t want this PAC involved and I don’t want them to speak for me. I’m more than capable to speak for myself,” Essaibi George said.
Essaibi George told Keller that while Davis is a large employer in Boston and she thinks having relations with fixtures like him is important, she has called for the super PAC involved to stay out of the race.
“I’m a Dorchester girl through and through. I speak for myself, I speak for my campaign, I speak for my work, I speak for my character, and I am running for mayor,” Essaibi George said. “That’s who I am and I want to be able to speak for myself — I don’t need others to do it for me.”
City Councilor and mayoral candidate Michelle Wu has won the endorsement of her former political rival and current office holder, acting Mayor Kim Janey.
Janey made the endorsement Saturday. In a statement, Janey said Wu has the record and values to protect and build upon the city’s progress in becoming more “equitable, just and resilient.”
“Important policies like our housing agenda, equitable vaccine distribution, and how we handle mental health crises are on the line in this election,” said Janey. “Moreover, Black and brown residents who are most impacted by systemic inequities need a leader in City Hall who will center equity and inclusion in all her policies, and ensure they have a seat at the table when real decisions are made.”
Read the full story here.
Boston mayors usually take office on the first Monday of January after their November election.
However, this year is a little different.
Barring a recount, Acting Mayor Kim Janey and the two mayoral general election finalists — City Councilors Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu — have agreed that the transfer of power will take place on Nov. 16, city officials announced Friday.
The date officially solidifies a significantly shorter mayoral transition than usual — two weeks, rather than two months, after the Nov. 2 election.
That’s because Boston’s city charter dictates that, when an acting mayor like Janey fills a vacancy, the next elected mayor takes office “as soon as conveniently” possible after the election results are certified.
Janey’s office noted Friday that Boston’s Board of Election Commissioners is slated to certify the results on Monday, Nov. 15, if no recounts are requested during the 10-day period after the election.
Janey met Thursday with Essaibi George and Wu at the Parkman House to discuss the transition timeline, marking what city officials described as the first step in a smooth transition to a new city administration, which will be tasked with responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, among other pressing challenges.
Essaibi George and Wu will also receive summaries of the general structure and operation of city departments sometime in mid-October, followed by more detailed department briefings in early November, once the mayor-elect has been determined, Janey’s office said.
“From my first to my last day as mayor, the wellbeing of Boston’s residents has remained my top priority,” Janey said in a statement. “Starting these conversations with Councilors Wu and Essaibi George now helps ensure the new mayor will be ready to do her job and address the concerns of Boston’s residents on day one.”
So, while we don’t know who exactly the next mayor will be, we at least now know when they start the job.
Substance abuse and mental health are major focus points of Annissa Essaibi George’s work in City Hall and on the campaign trail.
But asked Friday if the city councilor at-large should in the criticism she’s leveled against acting Mayor Kim Janey’s administration over its lack of action on those issues, Essaibi George was quick to admit she’s come up short, too.
“I have failed as well — as an at-large city councilor, as someone who has been focused on that work,” she said, during an interview on The Boston Globe’s “Black News Hour” on WBPG-LP 102.9 FM. “All of us have failed.”
And that failure has widespread impacts: from the people “who are suffering at Mass and Cass” to the community at large, Essaibi George said.
“Our service providers are overworked. We’ve got a concentration of services in a few pockets of our city,” she said. “We need help and we’ve got to continue to work towards a greater regional effort in response to that crisis.”
That effort should be central to Boston’s approach to the problems, she said, highlighting her pledge to bring together various leaders from around Massachusetts and the federal government within her first 100 days in office to address resources for substance abuse treatment.
Additionally, Essaibi George reiterated her support for rebuilding the bridge to Long Island, where an array of treatment programs had been located, and to consider launching a ferry service between the island and mainland.
“We also need help from other communities,” she said. “We need other cities and towns to step up. We need the rest of New England to be a part of this.”
Both Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George vowed, if elected, to seek to build a diverse city government during a forum hosted by the Black Ministerial Alliance on Wednesday night, Politico reports.
Essaibi George pledged to create a diverse cabinet that represents the city’s Black and brown communities and also “what our city needs our focus to be — whether it’s racial justice, whether it’s housing, whether it’s education, and public safety and public health — that we are doing those things as an administration in those very early days,” she said.
Wu, meanwhile, said it is important to acknowledge none of the race’s Black candidates advanced to the final election.
There’s “urgency to make sure we are responding to the incredible energy in the city in this moment for racial justice,” she said, adding she will work toward a “city government that is reflective of, representative of, and accountable to the Black community.”
Both candidates also highlighted the need for creating more homeownership possibilities in Boston.
Essaibi George said she would prioritize opportunities for both first-time homebuyers and first-generation homebuyers.” She also would allocate $1 million for down-payment assistance, according to Politico.
Wu, a supporter of rent control, said she would dedicate at least $200 million for housing issues, so “housing will be the foundation of our recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic, the outlet reports.
The city should also increase its goal for awarding city contracts to minority-owned businesses beyond 10 percent, she said.
Following the results of last week’s preliminary mayoral election, more local Boston elected officials are getting off the sidelines
During an event Wednesday afternoon in Upham’s Corner, state Rep. Liz Miranda, a Dorchester Democrat, endorsed City Councilor Michelle Wu in the head-to-head general election race against fellow City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George.
“This moment will shape the future of Boston for years to come and calls on all of us to elect a Mayor who will lead for and with all of our neighborhoods in Boston, someone who is accountable to the people of Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park and communities of color from across the diaspora who call Boston home,” Miranda said in a statement.
The second-term Dorchester-Roxbury state representative said that Wu would be a mayor that would expand “what is politically possible for the city we love.” As a daughter of Cabo Verdean immigrants and longtime community organizer, Miranda has been an outspoken advocate during her short time in the legislature, from police reform to maternal health to environmental justice to the COVID-19 recovery.
“Our communities deserve and demand more,” she said Wednesday. “We cannot wait another year for a comprehensive solution to the Mass & Cass crisis now, for improvements to Madison Park High and all of our public schools, good paying jobs or resources to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. I want us to stop just surviving, it’s time for us to thrive.”
If there is overlap among Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George on super PAC involvement in this mayoral race, it’s this: They both have concerns about groups with ties to former President Donald Trump wading into this November’s general election.
But that appears to be where the similarities start and stop. What role super PACs should play in this election — if one at all — is where the two councilors diverge.
On Tuesday, Essaibi George told The Dorchester Reporter she wants super PACs, the entities bankrolled by wealthy donors and unions, to stay clear of this election.
“I want them out of my race,” she said.
So far, two super PACs have backed Essaibi George: one helmed by former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross called “Real Progress Boston” and one called “Bostonians for Real Progress.”
The former brought in $495,000 from New Balance chairman Jim Davis, a donor of both former President Donald Trump and former Mayor Marty Walsh, according to the Reporter.
“Real Progress Boston” also has connections to a Bevery-based company that did work for Trump’s 2016 campaign — a link that came under fire during the preliminary election, the newspaper notes.
“This isn’t about Jim Davis,” Essaibi George told the outlet on Tuesday. “This is about the very direct relationship between this super PAC and Donald Trump.”
Essaibi George, who earlier criticized the group following the release of its first TV ad, said she is a “lifelong Democrat, unwavering and firm in my Democratic principles,” according to the Reporter.
“I don’t want this PAC thinking they can speak for me or my campaign or my work,” she said.
Meanwhile, two super PACs have supported Wu. Both are largely funded by environmental advocacy groups like the League of Conservation Voters, the newspaper reports. One is the “Boston Turnout Project,” and the other PAC is connected to the Environmental League of Massachusetts.
Asked on Wednesday if she felt the same about super PAC involvement as her opponent, Wu called on the entities to offer positive messaging in the race, but stepped short of telling them to stay back.
“I share her concerns that Trump-affiliated groups are looking to weigh in on the Boston mayor’s race,” Wu told reporters. “I urge any outside group to refrain from negative attacks. We’ve seen in this country over the last four years what happens when those kinds of attacks are normalized in politics, and Boston’s better than that.”
Wu, however, did add that campaign finance reform is necessary “to get money out of politics this way.”
“Our campaign is going to continue to focus on what is within our control, which is continuing to build the momentum, going door to door, and speaking directly to residents in every neighborhood,” she said.
Asked how the support of a Trump-affiliated super PAC backing her opponent could be interpreted, Wu said, “This election is about the future of Boston.”
“And there’s a lot at stake on the ballot,” she said. “I’m looking forward to ensuring that we are continuing to build in every neighborhood, talking about the future that our residents deserve, and the big changes — the big solutions — that are possible in this city.”
The first endorsements of Boston’s general mayoral election have started to roll in.
Last week, days after her second-place finish in the preliminary election, City Councilor At-Large Annissa Essaibi George scooped up support from Sprinkler Fitters Local 550, which represents about 800 skilled workers in the Greater Boston area.
“Annissa Essaibi George has shown up and stood up for Boston’s hardworking families and residents time and time again—not just during campaign season. Now we’re proud to support her in her candidacy for Mayor of Boston,” Peter Gibbons, business manager of the union, said in a statement on Friday. “Annissa shares our belief that to build a strong middle class we must invest in apprenticeship programs and bolster our local workforce. We know she’ll prioritize all of us as our next Mayor of Boston.”
Essaibi George was slated on Monday to receive another union endorsement from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103 at a Dorchester event.
For Michelle Wu, on Saturday, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz endorsed the city councilor at-large, describing her as “someone who can connect with all our communities across our city and build the multigenerational, multicultural, multiracial, multilingual coalition that we need in our city.”
“Michelle Wu is a fearless champion for Boston’s working families. She has shown time and again the vision and grit to take on the big fights for this city—from paid parental leave to community choice energy,” Chang-Díaz, who is also seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, said in a statement. “I know Michelle will be a strong local partner in delivering the bold, transformational change our state needs. I’m proud to endorse her for Mayor.”
While both candidates racked up considerable support prior to the preliminary, the general election brings new opportunities for endorsements, as Politico notes.
Each candidate could garner support from large unions such as UNITE HERE Local 26, SEIU 32BJ, SEIU Local 888, and UFCW Local 1445, which all previously endorsed Acting Mayor Kim Janey, while other groups may now see their time has come to weigh in.
Less than 24 hours after the results of Boston’s preliminary mayoral election had been decided, a super PAC supporting City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George took aim at fellow general election candidate and City Councilor Michelle Wu over, among other things, her support for charging an annual fee for residential parking permits.
The only issue: Essaibi George holds the same position.
As The Dorchester Reporter first reported, Steve Jewett, the executive director of the pro-Essaibi George super PAC “Bostonians for Real Progress,” released a statement Wednesday night accusing Wu of pushing “fantasy land policies.”
“As a result, taxes are probably rising under a Mayor Wu,” Jewett said, pointing to Wu’s proposal in 2019 to impose a $25-per-vehicle annual fee for residential parking permits, which are currently free in Boston.
According to the Reporter, Jewett called the proposal “unrealistic,” even though neighboring cities like Cambridge and Somerville similarly charge residents for parking permits ($25 and $40, respectively). Still, Jewitt reportedly doubted that Boston residents would support the measure.
However, one Boston resident who does support it is his candidate, Essaibi George.
In a candidate questionnaire earlier this year, the Dorchester resident wrote that she “strongly” supports charging an annual fee for residential parking permits, and her campaign confirmed Thursday that remains her stance.
Essaibi George said that her support was “on the condition that we implement exemptions for seniors and residents living on fixed incomes and in poverty.”
“I also strongly support charging a fee for more than one parking permit per household,” she added.
Wu’s campaign declined to comment Thursday. Her 2019 proposal also included exemptions for seniors and low-income residents, as well as extra fees for additional vehicle permits per household.
Michelle Wu: The Boston.com interview
Annissa Essaibi George: The Boston.com interview
Battle lines are quickly forming in Boston’s general mayoral election — and there could be more than a few.
The results of the preliminary election Tuesday pit the race’s progressive standard bearer, Michelle Wu, against arguably the most moderate candidate in the race, Annissa Essaibi George. And before the night had ended, the two Democratic city councilors were already working to frame the ideological distinctions that could drive the debate over the next two months.
Read the full story here.
Wu, Essaibi George declare victory, Campbell, Janey concede (Sept. 14)
BOSTON (AP) — Democrat Michelle Wu has emerged the top vote-getter in a runoff election for the next mayor of Boston, and although the race to decide her opponent in November remained too early to call early Wednesday, Annissa Essaibi George said she’d won enough support to challenge Wu in November.
Wu, a city councilor, easily won Tuesday’s preliminary balloting, with fellow councilor Essaibi George trailing in second. Two other candidates — acting mayor Kim Janey and fellow city councilor Andrea Campbell — both conceded defeat late Tuesday night despite partial results showing a tight race for the No. 2 slot.
Read the latest preliminary election coverage here.
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