A rare article update on the horse race since most other news is behind paywalls and our readers need to know about this shit
There are only about two months left before the field of six Boston mayoral candidates is narrowed to two final contenders, and one in five voters is still not sure who to support.
From the few polls that have been made available, the leading two finalists are City Councilor Michelle Wu, the only candidate to announce before Marty Walsh was tapped by Joe Biden for a cabinet position leaving an acting mayor behind, and Kim Janey, the Council President who ascended to the role.
As current at-large councilors, Wu and Annissa Essaibi George have the advantage of having already appealed to a citywide electorate in previous election years. Mattapan City Councilor Andrea Campbell has also cultivated a reputation with a wide range of constituents after serving as council president for two years before Janey took over.
The most recently published poll, from Suffolk University and the Boston Globe, shows that Wu currently leads the pack with 23.4%, followed closely by acting mayor Janey with 21.6%. Next is Essaibi George with 14.4%, Campbell with 10.8%, state Rep. Jon Santiago with 4.6%, and John Barros at 1.8%.
The poll also showed that 21.6% of voters are still undecided, while there is about a 4% margin of error, undercutting any predictability this poll might generate for September’s election.
Wu and Campbell, who were considered early frontrunners before Janey announced her intention to keep her current job as mayor, have the most cash, with about $1 million each, according to data from the Office of Campaign and Public Finance. Janey still had about a half million coming into July. Essaibi George had $665k, Barros had $319k on hand, Santiago had $410K in the bank.
At this point, recent City Council votes have enabled the frontrunners to differentiate themselves from the competition.
At a recent council meeting, Wu and Campbell voted against Janey’s proposed budget for the city over the lack of police cuts, while Campbell also opposed the school budget. Essaibi George was one of five councilors who voted in favor of increasing funding for the police department’s Boston Regional Intelligence Center.
Thus far, the election, which many had expected to involve Marty Walsh until Joe Biden’s win last fall, has featured little heat between candidates, but that is likely to change as weaker hopefuls get desperate over the next few weeks.
The race for governor is still over a year out, but this is the point when potential candidates begin to set themselves up for a contentious 2022.
Thus far, three Democratic candidates have announced runs, including Harvard professor Danielle Allen, former state Sen. Ben Downing, and current state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz.
Attorney General Maura Healey has been long-rumored as a candidate, and would likely be a Democrat front runner, but she has yet to officially announce. This despite an amassing of about $5 million in campaign funds—about six times as much as what Gov. Charlie Baker has on hand.
The governor, meanwhile, has yet to announce if he will seek a third term.
Baker came into 2020 with a record-high approval rating for any governor at the time, despite being a registered Republican in a consistently blue state. His popularity took a hit due to his COVID response, which was caught between left-leaning critiques of his not taking severe enough measures to close down the state during the pandemic, and conservative criticism over taking any precautions at all.
If Baker chooses to run again, he will face a primary challenge from former state senator and US Senate also-ran Geoff Diehl.
Diehl, who co-chaired Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign in Massachusetts, only just announced in the beginning of July, but so far his platform appears to be about attacking Baker for attempting to curb the spread of COVID-19.
President Joe Biden may only be halfway through his first year in office, but so far he and the Democrats in the House and Senate continue to water down almost every legislative agenda item that Biden promised on the campaign trail.
Most recently, Biden announced that his fellow Democrats in the Senate had reached a compromise deal with 11 Republicans on an infrastructure bill that cut everything out of his original proposal with the exception of actual roadwork and bridge improvements.
The new compromise ignores the need to address climate change, even after extreme heat decimated utility lines and roadways in the Pacific northwest during the recent heat wave.
The first midterm election of a new presidency often results in a loss for that president’s party in congressional seats. In 2022, 34 seats in the Senate will be contested. Currently, there are 14 Democratic seats to defend, against 20 Republican seats—including five that are open due to retiring law makers.
In delaying major legislative achievements, Democrats may be waiting for 2022 in the hopes that a blue shift will make the work easier. It is a common Democrat strategy; occasionally, it even works.
Zack is a veteran reporter. He writes for DigBoston and VICE, and formerly reported for the Boston Courant and Bulletin Newspapers.