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Pressley adds to Wu’s endorsement haul

Wu enjoying increased support from elected officials of color

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the former senior editor of the Bay State Banner. He has written for the Banner since 1988.... VIEW BIO
Pressley adds to Wu’s endorsement haul
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley announces her endorsement for Michelle Wu. Behind her: Sheriff Steve Tompkins, Councilor Lydia Edwards, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, Wu. BANNER PHOTO

Last Friday, news that U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley would endorse Michelle Wu underscored growing support for the at-large councilor’s bid for the mayor’s seat.

Saturday, standing in front of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families Hyde Park building, Pressley, a Hyde Park resident, took stock of the collection of elected officials standing behind her and Wu — fellow Hyde Park residents District 5 Councilor Ricardo Arroyo and Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins, District 1 Councilor Lydia Edwards, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Brookline Selectman Raul Fernandez.

“This is quite a visual, not only for this incredible coalition of people all around here, but every single elected official up here is a history-maker,” Pressley said. “Every single one is a trailblazer in their own right.”

Other officials of color who have endorsed Wu include acting Mayor Kim Janey, Register of Probate Felix D. Arroyo and state Rep. Liz Miranda.

Wu, who if elected would become the first woman and the first person of color to be elected mayor of Boston, is aiming to make history with her mayoral bid. While she rode a wave of white progressive support to make it past the preliminary, Black and Latino elected officials and organizers were largely lined up behind the two African American women in the race: Janey and District 4 Councilor Andrea Campbell, both of whom claimed the lion’s share of the Black vote.

Essaibi George relied on moderate and conservative-voting Bostonians to make it past the preliminary, with much of her support coming from the traditionally white voter-rich strongholds in South Boston, West Roxbury, the Neponset section of Dorchester and the Orient Heights section of East Boston.

Support from the city’s Black and Latino voters will likely be critical to winning the mayor’s office in November. As was the case in the 2013 mayoral race, when state Rep. Martin Walsh faced off against at-large Councilor John Connolly, endorsements from elected officials of color could be a decisive factor.

In the 2013 race, Connolly received no endorsements from elected officials of color. Walsh, however, was endorsed by his former rivals from the mayoral preliminary as well as several prominent state representatives. Walsh, who was polling eight points behind Connolly two weeks before the November election, won with 51.5% of the vote.

Despite the endorsement of Wu by seven Black and Latino officials, another nine have yet to decide which candidate to back or whether to endorse either. Campbell, along with Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, at-large Councilor Julia Mejia and state Reps. Russell Holmes, Chynah Tyler, Nika Elugardo, Brandy Fluker Oakley and Jon Santiago have not yet weighed in.

Elugardo and Holmes have said they’re in the process of vetting the candidates and polling community members on their priorities. Rollins told GBH’s “Boston Public Radio” she’s looking for specific commitments from the candidates.

“I don’t want to be promised things,” she said. “I want to know what your cabinet is going to look like.”

In Hyde Park, Pressley told reporters she and Wu are closely aligned on policy matters.

“What I love about Michelle is that she has never accepted the status quo, that ‘this is how it has always been,’ as an excuse for inaction,” Pressley said. “She is determined, she’s innovative and she is committed to advancing policies that uplift everyone in Boston.”