The old neighborhood guard lost, and that’s another big deal, because as far as I know it has never happened before.
With 100% of the votes from all 255 precincts counted in the City of Boston, the still-unofficial but decisive winner of the mayoral race is Councilor Michelle Wu. Her opponent, Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, conceded Tuesday evening.
As even those who paid little attention to the race are likely aware, this is a major moment. Wu is the first woman as well as the first person of color elected to run this historically racist metropolis. If you take issue with that characterization, then you probably voted for Essaibi George.
If you spent time outside of downtown yesterday, as I did, then you may have heard the buzz about increased poll action in Hyde Park and Dorchester. For a moment, the status quo team thought that they were going to pull off an upset in the face of Wu’s 30-or-so point lead heading into this.
But they didn’t; the old neighborhood guard lost, and that’s another big deal for Boston, because as far as I know it has never happened before. Not at this level at least. As Dan Atkinson reported for us last month, “Essaibi George beat Wu in money from City of Boston employees overall—pulling in more than $151,000 from nearly 450 donations, compared to Wu’s $10,000 from almost 150 donations.”
Of all that city worker cash, more than $100,000 came from members of the Boston Police Department. Some of whom live in the city, others who fed the fire from the suburbs. And that’s not even counting the money their spouses and family members gave Essaibi George, which is harder to, if not impossible to follow and tally.
People should remember how much muscle and money the police and their allies put into this race, because beyond the well-reported milestones of Wu being a woman and person of color, at a deeper level, this vote obviously represents much more. At the least, we now know that the few lefties scattered across Boston and in strongholds like Jamaica Plain outnumber the troglodytes who remain in South Boston and Dorchester.
Again, if you take issue with that comment, then I bet that I can guess who you were pulling for.
And holy shit, this was a trouncing. As the tally stands, Wu took 91,239 votes, or 63.94% to her opponent’s 50,879 votes (35.65%). In a city that now largely resembles downtown Dubai and is basically an investment playground for developers from all over the world to extract money from, it’s significant that those who still go to the polls picked the clear progressive.
As for what comes from this point forward, that ought to be interesting. Developers both large and small sure aren’t thrilled, and as for angry cops and city workers claiming on the socials that they’re packing up and moving the ’burbs … some of them will actually split, sure, but many will also stay and fight.
For what, I don’t know, but I can assure you it is nothing good. If you supported Wu in her historic election, then this is definitely not the time to abandon the new mayor.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.