By Jack Thornton
Boston University News Service
City Councilor Michelle Wu finished first in Tuesday’s Boston preliminary mayoral election, with fellow councilor Anissa Essaibi George likely to be her opponent in the general election on Nov. 2.
The Associated Press called the race for Wu early Wednesday morning. Essaibi George’s status as runner-up became clear as the morning went on, as she maintained her lead over both acting Mayor Kim Janey and Councilor Andrea Campbell.
Campbell conceded the election at a campaign event late Tuesday night, while Janey released a concession statement early the next day.
“I want to congratulate Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George on their victories this evening,” Janey said in her official statement. “This was a spirited and historic race, and I wish them both luck in the final election.”
Janey has served as acting mayor since March 22, when her predecessor, Marty Walsh, resigned after being appointed as secretary of labor in the Biden administration. Janey was both the first Black person and the first woman to serve as mayor of Boston. After losing the preliminary election, however, she will not have the distinction of being the first woman or person of color to be elected by the people of Boston, as both Wu and Essaibi George are also women of color.
Wu’s win and the competitive race for second place reflect trends in polls taken prior to the election. A poll from Emerson College taken Sept. 6-8 had 30 percent of respondents saying they would vote for Wu if the election were held that day, with Essaibi George, Campbell, and Janey all in a statistical dead heat.
In the election results, as of Wednesday morning with all precincts reporting, 33.36 percent of votes went to Wu, with Essaibi George receiving 22.48 percent while Janey and Campbell received 19.47 and 19.72 percent respectively.
Though Essaibi George will progress to November’s election, she was initially hesitant to preemptively declare victory.
“We need to make sure every vote is counted,” Essaibi George said to a crowd of supporters in Dorchester Tuesday night. “It doesn’t mean we won’t celebrate, but we need to make sure every vote is counted.”
Wu, having been officially declared the winner, spoke more declaratively to supporters at an election night event in Roslindale about the path to the general election in November.
“Tonight is not a victory celebration,” Wu said. “It is a thank you for how far we have come together and a reminder that we have 49 days to get it done. For the next 49 days I’m going to give it all that I’ve got, but I need it all from you too.”