BOSTON (CBS / AP) – Democrat Michelle Wu emerged as the top voter in the second round of elections for Boston’s next mayor, but the race to decide her opponent in November remained too early to call early Wednesday.
Wu, a city councilor, easily won Tuesday’s preliminary ballot, with fellow councilor Annissa Essaibi George in second. Two other candidates – Acting Mayor Kim Janey and City Councilor Andrea Campbell – both conceded defeat on Tuesday night despite partial results showing a close race for second place.
To verify: Boston Preliminary Election Results
As of 7 a.m., unofficial results from the city’s website had reported 60% of constituencies. Wu had 31.97% of the vote, Essaibi George 23.03%, Janey 19.84% and Campbell was fourth at 19.17.
All four are candidates of color, as is John Barros, the former Boston economic development chief and the only man in the running. Barros was far behind the four women.
No matter who joins Wu in the Nov. 2 poll, history has already been written in a city that has never elected a woman, black resident, or Asian-American as mayor.
For the past 200 years, the office has been occupied by white males.
Wu and Tuesday’s other winner will face off on November 2, ushering in a new era for the city struggling with racial and ethnic conflict.
“I am delighted that we are confident that we made the first two and move on to the final elections,” Wu told supporters earlier in the evening. “I just want to take a moment to honor and thank this historic field of nominees, an incredible time for the city of Boston.”
Essaibi George said she gained enough support to challenge Wu in November.
“I am very grateful for showing up not only tonight, but also over the past eight months,” she told fans, adding that even though every vote had to be counted, “that doesn’t mean that we cannot celebrate ”.
Earlier this year, Janey became the first black Bostonian and the first woman to hold the city’s most senior position on an interim basis after former Mayor Marty Walsh stepped down to become Labor Secretary to President Joe Biden.
“I want to congratulate Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George on their victories tonight,” Janey said in a statement. “It has been a lively and historic race, and I wish them both good luck in the final elections.”
Some leaders in the black community have struggled to rally with a single candidate to ensure that at least one black candidate for mayor can claim one of the top two places.
All the candidates are Democrats. Boston mayoral races do not include party primaries.
The candidates come from diverse backgrounds. Wu’s parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan. Janey and Campbell are black. Essaibi George describes herself as a first generation Arab-Polish American. Barros is of Cape Verdean origin.
Wu was elected to Boston City Council in 2013 at the age of 28, becoming the first Asian-American woman to serve on the council. In 2016, she was unanimously elected president of the city council by her colleagues, becoming the first woman of color to hold the post of president.
Essaibi George won a series of key mentions during the race, including from unions representing firefighters, nurses and emergency medical technicians. She also gained the support of former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross.
Essaibi George grew up in the Dorchester neighborhood of the city and taught in Boston public schools. She was elected to city council in 2015. Her father immigrated to the United States from Tunisia in 1972. Her mother was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany to Polish parents.
The November contest could also be a test of whether voters in a city long dominated by parish district and ethnic politics are willing to exploit someone like Wu, who grew up in Chicago.
Wu moved to Boston to study at Harvard University and Harvard Law School, and studied under US Senator Elizabeth Warren, then a professor of law. She is the only candidate who was not born in Boston.
Boston has changed dramatically since the 1970s, when the city found itself in the national spotlight because of the turmoil caused by school desegregation, and in the late 1980s, when the Charles Stuart case again ignited tensions. latent racialism.
Stuart reportedly shot and killed his pregnant wife in 1989 as he tried to attribute the murder to an unknown black man, prompting police to search unsuccessfully for a suspect in the black quarters. Stuart then jumped to death from a bridge.
The latest US Census statistics show that residents who identify as white make up 44.6% of the population compared to black residents (19.1%), Latino residents (18.7%) and residents of Asian origin (11.2%).
Among the challenges facing the city are those brought on by gentrification, which has forced many longtime residents, including those from historically black neighborhoods.
Added to this are a host of other challenges the new mayor will face, from transportation issues, racial injustice and policing to schools and the continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. Steve LeBlanc of The Associated Press contributed to this report.)