BOSTON (AP) — Boston’s top mayoral hopefuls are gearing up for the first televised debate of the campaign on Wednesday — less than a week before next Tuesday’s preliminary election.
Acting Mayor Kim Janey, city councilors Annissa Essaibi George, Andrea Campbell and Michelle Wu, and John Barros, the city’s former economic development chief, will face off during the hourlong debate. The event begins at 7 p.m. and is being sponsored by NBC10 Boston, Telemundo Boston and NECN.
All the candidates are Democrats. Mayoral races in Boston do not include party primaries. The two top vote earners in the Sept. 14 preliminary election will face off Nov. 2.
The campaign also marks a pivotal turning point in the city’s history. The preliminary election will almost certainly for the first time narrow the field of mayoral contenders to two candidates of color, possibly both women.
Throughout its history, Boston has only elected white men as mayor.
Wu has held a lead over the other top four candidates in a number of recent polls, setting up a scramble among the other contenders for the second spot if Wu’s lead holds.
Janey, who became the first Black Bostonian and first woman to occupy the city’s top office after former Mayor Marty Walsh stepped down earlier this year to become President Joe Biden’s labor secretary, has traded barbs with Campbell.
Essaibi George has also targeted Janey, who has used the higher public profile afforded by the mayor’s office to help propel her campaign. The strategy has been a double-edged sword, bringing Janey both praise and criticism.
Barros has struggled to gain traction in the contest.
All five candidate mark a break from the city’s political past, most closely associated during the past century with political figures of Irish or Italian descent.
Wu parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan. Janey and Campbell are Black. Essaibi George describes herself as a first generation Arab-Polish American. Barros is of Cape Verdean descent.
Janey has raised the most campaign cash this year, bringing in more than $1.5 million since January.
The candidate with the second highest fundraising total is Campbell, who has raised more than $1.4 million since January, according to the state Office and Campaign and Political Finance.
She’s followed closely by two other city councilors — Wu and Essaibi George — both of whom have raised more than $1.3 million.
Barros has raised about $644,000.
(Copyright (c) 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)