Wu, Menino had identical winning margins
IN THE CLOSING weeks of the Boston mayor’s race, Michelle Wu was name-checking her one-time boss, Tom Menino, a lot more than her former law professor, Elizabeth Warren. It was smart politics to remind voters that she wasn’t just a protege of the Senate lefty firebrand but was also very much a product of Tom Menino’s City Hall, where she cut her teeth as a law student intern looking at small business licensing issues and school bus route logistics.
As much as the city’s Harvard-educated incoming mayor and its often tongue-tied longest-serving one seemed cut from very different cloths, they shared an interest in the nitty-gritty of how city government affects residents’ lives. When it comes to their political prowess, they now also share something else: An almost identical winning margin and map in rolling to dominant victories in their first mayoral runs.
In unofficial results from Tuesday’s election, Wu captured 64 percent of the vote to Annissa Essaibi George’s 36 percent. That’s exactly the same margin by which Menino beat Dorchester state rep Jim Brett in the 1993 race. What’s more, Wu dominated the city geographically in a way nearly identical to Menino. She actually did him one better when measuring victories at the ward level, winning 19 of the city’s 22 wards to Menino’s 18 ward-level wins in 1993.
Essaibi George, a Dorchester resident, only won South Boston’s Wards 6 and 7 and Ward 16 in Dorchester. In 1993, Brett won those three wards plus Dorchester’s Ward 13, where he lived. This time, Ward 13, where Essaibi George and former mayor Marty Walsh both grew up and which has seen a big influx of new residents over the last three decades, went to Wu.
“She replicated Tom Menino’s path to victory,” said Carter Wilkie, a Roslindale resident who served as an advisor to Menino and backed Wu this year. “She spent 10 years building up a base in the high wards of Boston, which is where the votes are.”
By Wilkie’s calculation, the precincts making up Roslindale, which is divided between several wards, delivered more votes on Tuesday than any ward in Boston and more than Southie’s two wards combined.
“What Wu represents is the coming of age of Roslindale as a new center of political gravity in Boston,” said Wilkie. “It’s the closest thing Boston has to a melting pot neighborhood, where no single tribe can claim it as their turf. It’s the kind of neighborhood where anybody can fit in.”
That may also describe another Wu parallel with Menino, who was the first Italian-American mayor elected in Boston. While that hardly seems pathbreaking today, Menino’s election marked a break with the stranglehold Irish American pols had for decades on City Hall.
Wu has clearly taken the city much farther beyond its insular ways by becoming the first woman and first person of color elected mayor. But she and Menino, a lifelong son of Hyde Park, both successfully ran as candidates pledging to be mayors for all residents. Like Menino, she decisively carried predominantly Black precincts after African American candidates vied but lost in the preliminary.
Essaibi George, meanwhile, suffered from the same problem that Brett encountered 28 years ago. After relying heavily on the same political base of predominantly white neighborhoods along the coast in Dorchester and South Boston to squeeze into the final in a multi-candidate preliminary race, neither of them was able to expand their reach in the November general election.
“Brett had no place to go,” said Ed Jesser, a longtime Menino confidante, adding that Essaibi George faced the same limitation.
The Wu train, by contrast, generated the power to match the Menino margin and map on its own.
Vax mandate: House officials said seven state representatives are not complying with the chamber’s vaccine mandate requirement and will be required to work from home. The seven were not identified. Read more.
Super PAC looking ahead: The chair of the Massachusetts Majority super PAC — the one Gov. Charlie Baker raises money for — says the candidates it supported did well on Tuesday. With $600,000 in cash on hand, he said, the super PAC is also well positioned to be active next year. Read more.
Senate spending plan: The Senate plan for spending federal aid and surplus state funds is similar to what the House proposed, but it contains a heavier health care focus. Read more.
Tax collections keep on growing: State tax collections keep up their remarkable growth, rising 8.7 percent above what Beacon Hill officials had been forecasting. Read more.
True Blue defense: David Irwin of True Blue/PeopleReady responds to an op-ed critical of his firm, says staffing companies are helping the economy to keep moving forward. Read more.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
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It will be a fast transition for Michelle Wu, who will be sworn in on November 16 as Boston mayor. (Boston Globe)
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A health clinic serving transgender patients in Northampton – the first of its kind in the nation – opened in May and has now seen its 500th patient. (MassLive)
Members of the mayorally-appointed Boston School Committee acknowledged they could be doing better public outreach after Tuesday’s overwhelming vote by residents in favor of returning to an elected board in a nonbinding ballot question. (Boston Herald)
US Rep. Ayanna Pressley said election results in Boston “should be a bellwether for this Democratic Party of what is to come.” (WGBH)
Worcester Polytechnic Institute removes the name of one of its major donors, Robert Foisie, from its campus, citing allegations made by his ex-wife. (Telegram & Gazette) Four students have died at WPI in the last four months. (WBUR)
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DESE has received requests from 18 school districts for approval to lift their mask mandate, since at least 80 percent of students are vaccinated. (MassLive)
The number of homeless students was up during the last school year, but it is expected to reach record levels this year. (Berkshire Eagle)
The company building a $1 billion transmission line slated to bring hydroelectricity from Quebec to Massachusetts filed suit to overturn a Maine ballot question that would prevent the power line from running through the state. (Boston Globe)
The phenomenon of “climate anxiety” is leaving many young people feeling hopeless about the future of the world and questioning whether to have children. (USA Today)
Former state rep Marie St. Fleur and one-time Suffolk assistant DA Amy McNamee filed suit against pot company Union Twist, saying it owes them more than $242,000 in a combination of wages and interest. (Boston Herald)
Dan Kennedy reports on “pink slime sites” like the North Boston News. (GBH)PASSINGS
Former Quincy mayor Francis McCauley dies at 91, on the 40th anniversary of the day he was first elected mayor. (Patriot Ledger)