BOSTON — The city of Boston is on the brink of historic change ahead of this Tuesday’s preliminary election.
The four front runners are all women of color: current acting Mayor Kim Janey along with Councilors Michelle Wu, Annissa Essaibi George and Andrea Campbell.
Trailing behind in fifth in several polls is Boston’s former chief of economic development, John Barros.
The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.
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The fierce mayoral battle marks a turning point in the city’s norm of electing white male mayors dating back to 1822.
“Boston has always been known historically as being kind of an insular city that’s hostile to people of color,” said Tom Whalen, political historian and BU professor. “The fact that we get a candidate of color and a woman sends a message to the world that Boston has indeed changed.”
Whalen said polls consistently show Michelle Wu leading the pack.
Wu broke barriers back in 2013 when she became the first Asian-American woman elected to the City Council.
“Michelle Wu seems to have a clear lead. Right now, this is her race to lose,” said Whalen.
Whalen also believes Essaibi George, who is of Arab American and Polish descent, may benefit from her appeal to moderates.
“Right now, the progressive vote is all over the place so there’s no real alternative,” explained Whalen. “Here is where Essaibi George has a big advantage. She has the support of police and fire unions.”
Whalen said Kim Janey and Andrea Campbell, the two Black women in the race, are strong contenders as well who should not be underestimated.
Voting has already begun via mail and early-voting locations.
Turnout this Tuesday could still prove crucial for the tight cluster of candidates.
The deadline to register for the preliminary election has passed.
Those who want to vote in the November general election have until Oct. 13 to register.
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