fb-pixel Skip to main content

The two candidates in Boston’s hotly contested mayoral election continued campaigning Saturday, as City Councilor Michelle Wu announced the endorsement of state Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, while City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George spent part of the day promoting local business in the city.

Wu and Essaibi George both emerged triumphant in Tuesday’s preliminary mayoral election. That vote narrowed a crowded field of candidates to the top two finishers, who will appear on Boston’s municipal election ballot Nov. 2.

For Wu, the backing of Chang-Díaz, a longtime state senator from Jamaica Plain and the first Latina to serve in the state Senate after her 2008 election, represents the addition of another progressive voice endorsing her campaign. The state senator announced her endorsement of Wu during a campaign event at the Villa Victoria housing development in the South End.

Advertisement



Chang-Díaz, who announced her run for governor in June, said during the event that Wu is able to take on issues facing the city, including its affordable housing crisis, and is someone who can connect with all its communities.

“She has got the vision and the delivery,” Chang-Díaz said of Wu, “the practical know-how and the grit, and the ambition to take on big systems.”

At a separate event Saturday afternoon, Essaibi George discussed the importance of local businesses while attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Uvida, a zero waste store in Boston’s North End.

Essaibi George said as a city councilor she has helped efforts to foster a community and an environment that embraces innovative businesses like Uvida, which was started by Maria Camila Vasco, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston.

“When we think about our city and we think about the creation of opportunity, when we support small businesses, when we build and fuel and invest in locally owned [businesses], that’s where we see amazing things happen,” Essaibi George said Saturday.

Advertisement



Wu is seen as the progressive candidate in the mayoral election, while Essaibi George is viewed as more centrist. Both have striven to differentiate how they would govern the city; on Tuesday, Essaibi George declared she would be the one who would “do the work” to address issues at Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, and to improve the city’s schools.

The city’s mayor can’t do some things, like mandate free public transit service, Essaibi George said Tuesday night — a move that Wu has supported.

“You will not find me on a soapbox,” Essaibi George said. “You will find me in your neighborhood, doing the work.”

Among Essaibi George’s endorsements are from unions representing firefighters, nurses, sheet metal workers, and pipefitters, along with former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross.

Wu’s endorsements include US Senator Elizabeth Warren, Suffolk Sheriff Steve Tompkins, Boston City Councilors Lydia Edwards and Liz Breadon, and several other state lawmakers. She also has the support of union locals, including Teamsters, hospitality workers, and MBTA employees.

On Saturday, speakers at Wu’s event didn’t mention Essaibi George’s name, but Wu criticized approaches to governing that did not do more than “nibble” at the status quo.

Chang-Díaz praised Wu for her work on paid family leave for city employees; community choice energy, which allows residents to purchase electricity from renewable sources; and efforts that “changed the field of debate” on providing free mass transit.

Advertisement



“When we start out by asking ourselves what’s politically feasible, rather than what will actually solve problems, we negotiate against our own constituents. Constituents who have been told for too long to wait for real change,” Chang-Díaz said.

Wu pointed to proposals like a “green new deal” for the city’s schools, or addressing racial disparities in the city that have been worsened by the pandemic and haven broken communities’ trust in government.

“I am here to say that the city of Boston doesn’t have to choose between safety for all, and justice [and] ensuring that we are building that trust,” Wu said.

There is a decision in the mayoral race about how collective resources will be used, Wu said: “Whether we are investing for the very urgent needs right now that will take us into the future ... or we continue to put Band-Aids on a broken system.”

Wu later added: “There is a stark choice that Boston is facing in this election.”

Before Tuesday, the Boston mayor’s race included several other high-profile candidates, including Acting Mayor Kim Janey and City Councilor Andrea Campbell, as well as John Barros, the city’s former chief of economic development.

On Tuesday, Wu secured 33 percent of the vote, followed by Essaibi George, who had 22 percent. The city clerk’s office reported 20 percent of voters picked Campbell, while Janey had 19 percent and Barros picked up 3 percent of the ballots cast.

Advertisement



It wasn’t clear Saturday whether any of the other mayoral candidates would endorse either of their former rivals. A preelection poll by the research group MassINC reported that supporters of Campbell and Janey were far more likely to back Wu in the general election.


Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9. John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.