Boston mayoral election update

Head-shot of mayoral candidate Michelle Wu.

On Sept. 14, the Boston mayoral preliminary election is set to take place. With several candidates in the running for the nonpartisan election, City Councilor Michelle Wu is in the lead by more than ten points, according to a recent poll. The poll was conducted by Suffolk University and the Boston Globe, and according to its results, Wu is polling at 31 percent among 500 likely voters. 

Acting Mayor Kim Janey received 20 percent support in the poll, and is closely followed by City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George at 19 percent, and City Councilor Andrea Campbell at 18 percent. Eight percent of voters said they were undecided, and three percent were in support of John Barros, Boston’s former Chief of Economic Development. 

Following the preliminary election this week, the two candidates who receive the most votes will become the two sole candidates in the general election for the position of Mayor of Boston. The general election will take place on Nov. 2, 2021. 

On Sept. 8, NBC10 Boston, NECN, Telemundo Boston, the Dorchester Reporter, and the Bay State Banner hosted a live preliminary mayoral election debate. During the debate, the candidates were asked to assign a letter grade to the city of Boston’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scores ranged greatly, with Janey giving the city’s response a grade of A-, Barros grading the response a B, Wu grading the response a C+, Essaibi George grading the response a C, and Campbell grading the response a D. The candidates also spoke to the violence, drug use and homelessness found on the intersection of Mass. Ave and Melnea Cass Boulevard, also referred to as “Mass. and Cass.” 

While candidates were mostly in agreement that the conditions on Mass. and Cass will require urgency of reform in the area, Essaibi George made a jab at Janey for dissolving the City Council’s Committee on Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery in 2020, when she was City Council President. Janey also received criticism regarding her promise that Boston Public Schools would have enough school bus drivers to transport children to school following a shortage of bus drivers in the district. While Janey remained confident that all of the school system’s bus drivers would return, Barros spoke to the chaos and confusion bus drivers he had spoken to felt regarding their routes this year. Barros also claimed that Janey did not have a plan for police reform in the city. Janey countered with the assertion that she released her plan to the headquarters of the police department, and that it has fatal shootings down 50 percent from 2020 to 2021. Barros responded by attributing this improvement to the previous mayoral administration under former mayor of Boston Marty Walsh. 

No matter the result of the election, history will be made. Boston has never seen an elected mayor who is not caucasian or male; this mayoral race is dominated by female candidates, and all five leading candidates are people of color. Wu is Asian-American, Janey is Black, Essaibi George is Arab-American, Campbell is Black, and Barros is the son of immigrants from the Islands of Cabo Verde in West Africa. 

To register to vote in the state of Massachusetts or to update or check your voter registration information, visit https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/.

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