Fresh off the first televised debate of the general election for Boston mayor, City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George is going up on the airwaves Thursday with a pair of new 15-second ads that take a harder edge on familiar themes.
Landing less than three weeks before the election, the two commercials highlight Essaibi George’s work as a teacher and seek to cast her as a pragmatic alternative to rival City Councilor Michelle Wu. That’s in line with the sharper approach Essaibi George took Wednesday night during the debate, where she pitched herself as a realist and attempted to paint her rival as an absent leader working from behind a desk in City Hall instead of hand-in-hand with Boston communities.
“Want to show me you care about an inclusive new Boston? Tell me what you’ve done for our kids,” demands Joi Joy, who was Essaibi George’s student at East Boston High School, in one of the advertisements. “I’m voting for real change — not empty promises.”
In the other ad, a diverse array of supporters declare that leadership is “not a press conference or a hashtag — it’s showing up in our neighborhoods and delivering real results.”
Both ads take not-so-subtle digs at Wu, the frontrunner in the Sept. 14 preliminary election, who Essaibi George has attempted to paint as a hapless idealist unlikely to be an effective leader for the city.
Recent polling showed Wu leading Essaibi George by 32 percentage points, leaving Essaibi George to recast the race or risk losing it. To turn the campaign around, she’ll need to broaden her base of support in the city’s communities of color, and convince undecided voters to break her way. That’s a tall order with just over a week to go before the start of early voting.
The $100,000 buy, Essaibi George’s fourth of the campaign, will air on broadcast, cable and digital television starting this week.