fb-pixelWu, Essaibi George rake in campaign donations in final stretch - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

Wu, Essaibi George rake in campaign donations in final stretch

City Councilor Michelle Wu, left, and City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George took part in a mayoral debate on NBC10 on Oct. 19.Mark Garfinkel/NBC10Boston

With just a little over a week till Election Day, contributions are pouring into the campaign coffers of the two women vying to be Boston’s mayor.

Annissa Essaibi George brought in $108,788 in individual donations in a three-day stretch last week, about $10,000 more than Michelle Wu, according to the latest state campaign data. Wu drew significantly more, albeit smaller, donations, reporting 577 contributions to Essaibi George’s 172.

Starting on the 18th day before an election, state campaign finance law requires candidates to disclose within 72 hours contributions above $500. The rule means voters have extra visibility into the last-minute contributions that can shape the sprint to the Nov. 2 election.


The latest filings landed against the backdrop of a race in which Wu has emerged as front-runner, with several public polls showing her with a substantial lead over Essaibi George. That yawning gap means the late-arriving donations are particularly crucial for Essaibi George as she wages a forceful effort to make up serious ground in the campaign’s final days.

The latest figures show both candidates continue to pull support from key constituencies. Essaibi George, an at-large city councilor from Dorchester, brought in another $3,250 from employees of the city’s police and fire departments, compared to Wu’s $275.

Wu, a Roslindale lawyer and at-large city councilor, has pulled support from white-collar professionals, notably other attorneys. The most recent disclosures show donors who identified themselves as lawyers or attorneys contributed another $10,855 to her campaign.

Wu has raised nearly $1.9 million to Essaibi George’s $1.75 million through September and this recent three-day stretch. More comprehensive donation data is set to be published in the coming days before the election.

The identity and location of donors have also become political talking points in this year’s election. Wu has drawn a noteworthy slice of support from out-of-state donors, thanks to a network of progressive grass-roots support and attention from Asian-American and Pacific Islander donors around the country.


Wu has also narrowly led in the total number of dollars raised from Boston residents this year, according to the latest campaign data. She has pulled in $789,376 to Essaibi George’s $769,807.

Essaibi George, who was born and raised in Dorchester, has repeatedly touted her local roots, in some cases at Wu’s expense. Her remark in an interview last month that Wu’s hometown roots in Chicago should be “relevant” to voters prompted criticism and caused her campaign to backpedal.

In a WBUR town hall interview Thursday, Essaibi George touted that she had the “highest number of contributions from individuals who live in the city of Boston and who work in the city of Boston.” Campaign spokeswoman Nicole Caravella clarified Friday that Essaibi George was referring to the percentage of contributions to her campaign from Boston, which this year was 44 percent, compared to Wu’s 42 percent.

“I think that speaks to my ability to build relationships,” she said.

City workers — mostly hundreds of police and fire employees — have also overwhelmingly supported Essaibi George, contributing roughly 10 percent of her total donations.

Outside individual donations, independent expenditure political action committees, or super PACs, raked in donations this month, and resulted in pricey advertising buys. Such groups can bring in and spend unlimited amounts of money for a candidate so long as they operate without talking to their candidates.


The super PAC Boston Turnout Project, created earlier this year to support Wu, reported raising $287,400 through Oct. 14, according to its filings. It and other political committees supporting Wu have spent $435,207 in support so far this month.

Two super PACs supporting Essaibi George have yet to report contributions this month, though the Massachusetts Nurses Association reported in October that it spent $10,000 in Facebook ads to aid her campaign.

The super PAC Bostonians for Real Progress put out an $125,000 negative television spot attacking Wu. The similarly named but separate committee, Real Progress Boston, helmed by former police commissioner William Gross, also dropped a radio ad early last week supporting Essaibi George.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the public media outlet that hosted a town hall interview with the candidates. The station is WBUR.

Elizabeth Koh can be reached at elizabeth.koh@globe.com. Follow her @elizabethrkoh.