BOSTON — Democrat Michelle Wu won Boston’s mayoral race Tuesday, becoming the first elected woman and person of color to helm New England’s largest city.
Her opponent, Annissa Essaibi George, conceded late Tuesday night as Wu led 56.3 percent to 43.4 percent with 31 percent of precincts reporting to Decision Desk HQ.
The two faced off on Tuesday after finishing in the top two spots in a primary election earlier this fall. The run-off between the two women of color was the latest marker of how much the Boston of not-so-long-ago — known for its ethnic neighborhoods, glad-handing politicians and mayors with Irish surnames — is giving way to a new Boston.
Throughout its long history, Boston has previously only elected white men as mayor. Despite the groundbreaking nature of the candidates, the campaign has turned on familiar themes for the city’s 675,000 residents, including public education, policing, public transportation and the skyrocketing cost of housing.
Among the newer issues facing Boston residents is the effect of climate change on the coastal metropolis. Another was whether the city should pursue a form of rent control or rent stabilization, something supported by Wu and opposed by Essaibi George. In 1994, Massachusetts voters narrowly approved a 1994 ballot question banning rent control statewide.
The 36-year-old Wu, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan, grew up in Chicago and moved to Boston to attend Harvard University and Harvard Law School. She was first elected to the Boston City Council in 2013 at age 28, becoming the first Asian American woman to serve on the council. In 2016, she became the first woman of color to serve as president. Essaibi George was first elected to the council in 2015.
The city’s previous elected mayor — Democrat Marty Walsh — stepped down earlier this year to become U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Joe Biden. Walsh was replaced on an acting basis by Kim Janey, sworn in March 24 as Boston’s first female and first Black mayor.
Story by Associated Press writer Steve LeBlanc and BDN writer Jessica Piper.