Come November, Boston will be electing its first female mayor of color in the city’s nearly 200-year history. Who that mayor will be, however, remains to be determined by residents of the city in the upcoming election that features two women of color going head to head against each other for the role.
Steve LeBlanc of the Associated Press has reported that “City Councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George topped the five-person race in Tuesday’s preliminary runoff. They bested acting-Mayor Kim Janey, City Councilor Andrea Campbell and John Barros, the city’s former economic development chief. All five were candidates of color — a major shift away from two centuries of Boston politics dominated by white men.”
While the two candidates are both Democrats, they’re very different culturally; Wu’s family immigrated from Taiwan, while Essaibi George is a self-described first-generation Arab-Polish American. Whichever candidate wins in the Nov. 2 mayoral race will make history, becoming either the city’s first elected female mayor — and in Wu’s case, first Asian American mayor.
Got some wisdom & good luck from 2 adorable constituents this morning at Forest Hills station 🚌 pic.twitter.com/HRKX6Q5BIA
— Michelle Wu 吳弭 (@wutrain) September 15, 2021
Annissa Essaibi George, the only Tunisian American to hold public office in the #US as a member of #Boston’s City Council, won enough votes Tuesday night to qualify for a run-off election for mayor (@AnnissaForBos) https://t.co/7ADtS7qky3 pic.twitter.com/rA62ZCUaYY
— Arab News (@arabnews) September 15, 2021
The position of mayor in Boston has only ever been held by white men since its founding in 1838. LeBlanc also noted that “Mayoral races in Boston do not include party primaries.”
According to LeBlanc, “Wu and Essaibi George’s advancement to the general election ushers in a new era for the city which has wrestled with racial and ethnic strife.”
After learning she would advance to the general election, Essaibi George said she was confident she would win November. “I am so grateful to you for showing up not just tonight but showing up for the last eight months,” she told supporters during a victory speech.
Across town, her competitor Wu told reporters, “This is the moment in Boston that our campaign and our coalition has been calling for for a long time. We got in this race over a year ago — actually exactly a year ago today — to ensure that Boston would step up to meet this moment.”
Essaibi George and Wu also notably bested acting-Mayor Kim Janey in Boston’s mayoral preliminary runoff.
“Earlier this year, Janey became the first Black Bostonian and the first woman to occupy the city’s top office in an acting capacity after former Mayor Marty Walsh stepped down to become President Joe Biden’s labor secretary,” LeBlanc reported.
In a statement, Janey wished her successors luck, saying, “I want to congratulate Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George on their victories this evening. This was a spirited and historic race, and I wish them both luck in the final election.”