Though Councilor at-Large Michelle Wu has said nothing definitive about running for mayor, Mayor Martin Walsh has announced this week that she is running against him.
Sound a little odd?
Wu, of Roslindale, has been suspected of being a candidate for some time, along with District 4 Councilor Andrea Campbell – whom many said will also run even if Wu does run – but has not made any comments about it. Rumors last weekend indicated that Wu had phoned Mayor Walsh to tell him she was indeed going to run against him for mayor in the 2021 City Election. The Globe contacted the mayor, who oddly enough made the official announcement that his challenger would be running.
Mayor Walsh told the Globe he wasn’t focused on that right now, that he was working to help get Presidential Candidate Joe Biden elected this fall, to fight COVID-19 in the city, and that there would be time to talk about running for mayor next year.
In a statement on Monday shared with the media, Councilor Wu did not say she was running, but neither did she say she was
“Councilor Wu believes that in this moment of hardship in our city, each one of us should be asking ourselves how we can make a difference in strengthening our communities and fighting for change that matches the scale and urgency of our current challenges,” said Jessicah Pierre wrote in a statement for Councilor Wu.
Meanwhile, the move by Walsh to announce his competitor’s intentions is being analyzed by many in City politics. Some say it’s old school Boston, hard-nosed politics, while others have said it was a betrayal of trust between two elected officials.
District 1 Councilor Lydia Edwards said it should have been left for Councilor Wu to announce, not Mayor Walsh. She said if it were announced, it would still be groundbreaking in that she would be one of only a handful of women who have officially run for mayor of Boston.
“Being able to say whether you are in or out is something that should be reserved for the candidate,” said Edwards. “When or if she announces it won’t be any less ground breaking or inspiring.”
Some years ago, JP’s Maura Hennigan put her hat in the ring and ran for mayor – one of the few women to have done so aside from Louise Day Hicks and Peggy Davis Mullen. Dorchester’s Charlotte Golar Richie ran in a crowded Preliminary Election in 2013, but didn’t make the final election.
The mayor’s race is more than a year away, but unseating an incumbent as Wu is potentially trying to do requires a great deal of time and fundraising. According to Campaign Finance Reports, Walsh has nearly $5 million more in his campaign coffers than Wu. So, getting an early start would be critical.
There is also the potential of other candidates getting involved, such as Campbell, who some are saying will announce this fall for mayor as well. Campbell is the former Council President and represents Mattapan and part of Dorchester.
Councilor Wu did not return a request for an interview from the newspaper, but is likely to speak about her intentions in the coming weeks.