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Acting Mayor Kim Janey snags her first big endorsement

Boston's Acting Mayor Kim Janey, is being endorsed by UNITE HERE Local 26, which represents about 12,000 food and hotel workers.
Boston's Acting Mayor Kim Janey, is being endorsed by UNITE HERE Local 26, which represents about 12,000 food and hotel workers.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Acting Mayor Kim Janey, now a candidate to hold the office for the long term, can claim her first big political endorsement, though she remains far behind her opponents in the all-important money race.

Janey on Thursday morning is slated to accept the endorsement of UNITE HERE Local 26, which represents roughly 12,000 food and hotel workers in Boston and Rhode Island, one of the region’s largest political action groups.

The endorsement is a victory for Janey and a blow to her opponents in the crowded field to replace former mayor Martin J. Walsh, who resigned in March to become labor secretary for President Biden’s administration. Several in the field have advocated for causes cited in the union’s endorsement, such as the passage of an ordinance restricting the short-term rental industry.

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But Janey’s elevated role as acting mayor in the scramble to fill the post long term following Walsh’s departure could set a tone as political action groups weigh which candidate to embrace. Janey is certainly emphasizing her unique status: Her campaign announced the endorsement of her as “Mayor Kim Janey,” and as “55th Mayor of Boston,” with no mention of the “acting” status, which under the city charter leaves her with somewhat less power than a full-term mayor.

Carlos Aramayo, the UNITE HERE president, had served on Janey’s transition team when she was appointed mayor, part of her duties as the sitting City Council president.

“Mayor Janey knows what it takes to build first generational wealth for Boston residents. That means home ownership and good jobs for every neighborhood. We are proud to be the first union to endorse Mayor Janey,” said UNITE HERE Local 26 President Carlos Aramayo.

The announcement is the latest in the competition to secure endorsements from the city’s politically powerful unions, which had largely united behind Walsh before his departure.

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One of the first candidates to challenge Walsh before he left office, Councilor Michelle Wu, has already secured the endorsement of The Teamsters Local 25, which represents 12,000 workers. Wu also has been endorsed by OPEIU Local 453, the Alliance of Unions at the MBTA, and the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

Separately, the Massachusetts Nurses Association endorsed Annissa Essaibi George. And, the Dorchester-based laborers Local 223 is supporting state Representative Jon Santiago. That union, which represents 1,700 building trade workers, is helmed by a cousin of Walsh, and the former mayor once sat as the union’s president.

Santiago also has snagged the endorsement of the National Association of Government Employees, as well as the support of several high-ranking state legislators.

Janey, who was the last of the six major candidates to declare, bested her opponents in fund-raising for the month of April, bringing in more than $205,000, but she remains at the back of the pack when it comes to cash on hand, with just about $304,000in her coffers, according to state filings.

City Councilor Andrea Campbell reported the largest war chest, with Wu close behind: Both candidates, who were the first to jump into the race, have more than $1 million in the bank. Campbell raised about $118,000 last month, and Wu raised a little less than $152,000.

Essaibi George raised about $163,000 and has just under $500,000 cash on hand. Santiago, who also has a little less than $500,000 in the bank, raised roughly $123,000 in April. John Barros, a former economic development chief who also is running for mayor, raised just over $140,000 last month, but has only $318,000 cash on hand.

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Danny McDonald of Globe Staff contributed to this story.


Milton J. Valencia can be reached at milton.valencia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.