San Francisco Chronicle

Boston on the brink of change

- By Steve Leblanc Steve Leblanc is an Associated Press writer.

BOSTON — For the first time in 200 years, Boston voters have narrowed the field of mayoral candidates to two women of color who will face off against each other in November.

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.

Wu’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan. Essaibi George describes herself as a first generation Arab PolishAmer­ican.

Whoever wins on Nov. 2 will make history in a city that has never elected a woman or Asian American mayor. For the past 200 years, the office has been held exclusivel­y by white men.

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.

Essaibi George said she was confident she could pose a significan­t challenge to Wu in November.

“I am so grateful to you showing up not just tonight but showing up for the last eight months,” she told supporters.

Wu spoke to reporters outside Boston City Hall on Wednesday.

“This is the moment in Boston that our campaign and our coalition has been calling for for a long time,” she said. “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 in her victory speech said the mayor of Boston can’t unilateral­ly restore rent control — a jab at Wu, who wants to revive a version of rent control, or rent stabilizat­ion, which was banned statewide by a 1994 ballot question.

Wu pushed back, saying she’s addressed tough challenges during her years as a city councilor.

“We took on issues that people said were pie in the sky, would be impossible to accomplish but by building coalitions, working across all levels of government and continuing to bring community members to the table, we knocked those down, one by one,” she said.

Earlier this year, Janey became the first Black Bostonian and first woman to occupy the city’s top office in an acting capacity after former Mayor Marty Walsh stepped down to become President Biden’s labor secretary.

“I want to congratula­te Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George on their victories this evening,” Janey said in a statement. “This was a spirited and historic race, and I wish them both luck in the final election.”

All of the candidates were Democrats. Mayoral races in Boston do not include party primaries.

 ?? Stew Milne / Associated Press ?? Mayoral candidate Michelle Wu will face Annissa Essaibi George Nov. 2 — a major shift from male-dominated politics.
Stew Milne / Associated Press Mayoral candidate Michelle Wu will face Annissa Essaibi George Nov. 2 — a major shift from male-dominated politics.

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