Boston mayoral hopefuls ramp up campaigns as election looms

BOSTON (AP) — Boston’s top mayoral hopefuls are scrambling to get as many of their voters as possible to the polls ahead of next Tuesday’s preliminary election that will almost certainly for the first time narrow the field of mayoral contenders to two candidates of color, possibly both women.

Throughout its history, Boston has only elected white men as mayor. The election marks a shift in the city’s political landscape.

Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, who has held a lead over the other top four candidates in a handful of recent polls, is planning a rally on Saturday in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood with her former Harvard Law School professor — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The city’s early voting period, which began Saturday, runs through Friday.

The other candidates are focusing much of their attention on each other as they work to secure the second spot on the November ballot.

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

On Tuesday, Janey traded barbs with Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell, who is also Black, with Campbell calling on Janey to disavow a political action committee that launched a radio ad targeting Campbell.

Janey’s campaign manager responded in a statement saying Campbell’s entire campaign has been made up of negative political attacks on Janey,

City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, who is also scrambling for a slot on the November ballot, has also targeted Janey, who has used the higher public profile of the mayor’s office to help propel her campaign.

John Barros, the city’s former economic development chief, has struggled to gain traction against the other candidates.

Janey is narrowly leading the fundraising race with her total fundraising since January topping $1.5 million as of Tuesday.

The candidate with the second highest fundraising total is Campbell who has raised more than $1.4 million since January, according to the state Office and Campaign and Political Finance.

She’s followed closely by two other city councilors — Wu and Essaibi George — both of whom have raised more than $1.3 million.

Barros has raised $644,000.

Wu’s parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan. Essaibi George describes herself as a first generation Arab-Polish American. Barros is of Cape Verdean descent.

All the candidates are Democrats. Mayoral races in Boston do not include party primaries. The two top vote earners in the Sept. 14 preliminary election will face off on Nov. 2.

All five are scheduled to participate in their first televised debate Wednesday.

Wednesday is also the last day to apply to vote by mail in the preliminary election. Applications must arrive at the city election office by 5 p.m. on Wednesday in order for a ballot to be mailed, according to Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin.

Any voter who wants to cast their ballot by mail can apply by submitting a signed request for a ballot by drop box, email, fax, or by mail. Emailed applications must include an image of a hand-written signature.

Since the U.S. Postal Service recommends allowing up to seven days for mail delivery, Galvin is urging voters to use drop boxes to submit applications and ballots — especially in the 15 cities across the state, including Boston, holding elections on Sept. 14.

“The mail can take up to a week to be delivered, so if you haven’t returned your ballot already, you should use a drop box if you can,” Galvin said in a press release. “If you haven’t applied yet, keep in mind that your application will need to reach your city election office by 5 p.m. tomorrow and you will likely need to use a drop box to return your ballot.”

Voters still have the option of casting their ballot in person.