Boston mayoral contest to narrow to 2 candidates of color

BOSTON (AP) — Those vying to become Boston’s next mayor fanned out across the city Monday hoping to shake as many hands as possible ahead of Tuesday’s preliminary election that will for the first time narrow the list of hopefuls to two candidates of color — possibly both women.

Acting Mayor Kim Janey, city councilors Annissa Essaibi George, Andrea Campbell and Michelle Wu, and John Barros, the city’s former economic development chief, are all competing to be one of the two top vote-getters in the contest.

Wu stopped by the city’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood Monday while Janey began the day by greeting riders at the Ashmont subway stop in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood and planned to reach out to voters later in the day along Blue Hill Avenue, which cuts through some of the city’s traditionally Black neighborhoods. Campbell planned an evening rally in the city’s South End neighborhood.

The other candidates and their supporters also spread out across the city trying to drum up votes.

All the candidates are Democrats. Mayoral races in Boston do not include party primaries. The two top candidates on Tuesday will face off against each other on Nov. 2.

The election will mark a sharp break in the city’s political and cultural history. During its long history, Boston has only elected white men as mayor.

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 descent.

Wu has held a lead over the other top four candidates in a number of recent polls, setting up a scramble for the second spot if Wu’s lead holds.

Janey became the first Black Bostonian and first woman to occupy the city’s top office after former Mayor Marty Walsh stepped down earlier this year to become President Joe Biden’s labor secretary.

Janey has raised the most campaign cash this year, bringing in more than $1.5 million since January, according to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

Campbell and Wu are close behind, having both raised close to $1.5 million since January. Essaibi George has raised more than $1.3 million.

Barros, who has struggled to gain traction in the race, has raised more than $640,000.

The contest is the first preliminary election in the city’s history to allow mail-in voting. The contest also allowed for early voting last week.

Voters who hadn’t yet mailed their ballot should vote in person because there isn’t enough time for the vote to be counted, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said Monday.

Fifteen cities and towns, including Boston, will host preliminary elections Tuesday, Galvin said.