Wu, Essaibi George advance to general election for Mayor



Michelle Wu (left) and Annissa Essaibi George (right) are set to compete for the city’s top job this November.

By Frankie Rowley, Content Managing Editor

City Councilors at Large Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George are set to advance to the city’s general election for Mayor on Nov. 2 after finishing as the top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s preliminary election. 

Wu and Essaibi George topped Acting Mayor Kim Janey, fellow Councilor Andrea Campbell, and the city’s former economic development chief, John Barros in the historic primary field. Wu was the lead vote getter — earning 33.4 percent of the votes, while Essaibi George trailed at 22.5 percent. Campbell and Janey earned just shy of 20 percent of the vote — 19.7 percent and 19.5 percent, respectively, while Barros trailed behind the field at just 3.2 percent. 

Either Wu or Essaibi George would be the city’s first full time female and person of color mayor. Essaibi George’s heritage is Tunisian and Polish, while Wu’s is Taiwanese. Both women are also mothers of school-aged children. November’s runoff election will be the first time since 1930 that neither candidate represents the city’s powerful Irish or Italian constituencies. 

The similarities between the two women end there. Wu has led a progressive campaign and received an endorsement from Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Essaibi George, on the other hand, struck a more moderate tone and captured many of former Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s voters. Walsh took a job in the Biden administration as labor secretary, setting up Tuesday’s elections. 

Wu pitched a plan to work towards a municipal Green New Deal, free public transportation, and reforming the Boston Police Department by working with the police union. 

Essaibi George, on the other hand, has pledged to hire more police officers while improving accountability, transparency, and bias training, as well as replacing city vehicles with electric ones, and creating more accessible mental health resources for students. 

Vote totals in the elections were delayed for hours as officials painstakingly combed through ballots. 

Also on Tuesday, a former Emerson faculty member was defeated in her bid to advance to the general election for city councilor at-large. Kelly Bates—an educator who founded Emerson’s Elma Lewis Center for creative, social justice-based storytelling—lost her bid to advance to the runoff, finishing in ninth. The top eight vote-getters advanced. 

Bates, who left Emerson in 2015, garnered 12,735 votes, or 4.6 percent. She was about 2,000 votes behind her next-closest competitor, Bridget Nee-Walsh, who advanced to November’s election with 15,118 votes, or 5.5 percent.

Bates could not be reached for comment on this article.

Also advancing to the Nov. 2 runoff are incumbent councilors Michael Flaherty and Julia Mejia, as well as Ruthzee Louijeune, Erin Murphy, Carla Monteiro, David Halbert, and Althea Garrison. 

Flaherty, who leads with 15 percent of the votes, holds a slim majority over his competitors. Mejia is in a close second with 14.1 percent, Louijeune in third with 12.2 percent, Murphy in fourth with 8.3 percent, Monteiro in fifth with 6.9 percent, Halbert in sixth with 6.2 percent, Garrison in seventh with 6.1 percent, and Nee-Walsh in eighth with 5.5 percent of the total votes.