Boston Mayor's Race: Get to Know the Candidates

The Sept. 14 preliminary mayoral election in Boston will cut the field of five candidates — Kim Janey, Michelle Wu, Annissa Essaibi George, Andrea Campbell and John Barros — to two

NBC Universal, Inc.

Boston voters will cast their ballots on Sept. 14 in the city's preliminary mayoral election, paring down the field from five major candidates to two.

Mayor Kim Janey and City Councilor at-Large Michelle Wu led the pack in polling for much of the race. But recent polls have shown Wu in front, with Janey in contending for second place with City Councilor Andrea Campbell and City Councilor at-Large Annissa Essaibi George. John Barros, a former chief of economic development for the city, has been polling behind the rest.

For those still undecided, and there are many, NBC10 Boston and NECN have interviewed each candidate multiple times. Below, you can see what they told Alison King, Sue O'Connell and Kwani Lunis.

And don't forget to watch all five candidates in an hourlong debate hosted by NBC10 Boston, NECN and Telemundo Nueva Inglaterra on Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m.

Kim Janey

Kim Janey was named acting mayor in March after Marty Walsh left his post to serve as secretary of labor under President Joe Biden. A native of the city's Roxbury neighborhood, Janey became the first person of color and the first woman to serve as Boston's mayor when she was sworn in on March 24.

Before assuming the mayor's office, Janey was Boston City Council president after being elected to the body in 2017, as the first woman to represent Boston's 7th District. In addition to Roxbury, the district includes parts of the South End, Dorchester and Fenway.

Janey, 56, lived through Boston's busing crisis in the 1970s, raised her daughter Kimesha as a single teenager in high school, and cleaned bathrooms to afford Smith College.

Janey's family has a history of community involvement, consisting of "educators, entrepreneurs, artists and advocates, with deep roots in Roxbury," she said.

She is a grandmother of three.

The Boston mayor discusses the hurdles she faced from teen pregnancy in the 80s and how her experience shaped her as a candidate for Boston's highest office.
Sue O'Connell caught up with Boston's Acting Mayor Kim Janey, who's jumped in the race to become the city's next mayor this fall.
Boston Mayor Kim Janey joined Kwani Lunis to talk about the city's new initiative to provide free transportation on certain bus lines, why she's running for mayor and what she's been listening to lately.

Michelle Wu

Michelle Wu was the first Asian-American woman to serve on the Boston City Council, having first been elected in 2013 at the age of 28. She became the first woman of color to serve as council president when she was elected in January 2016.

Wu’s parents emigrated to the United States from Taiwan in the early 80s, before she was born. She is fluent in Mandarin and Spanish.

Wu, 36, graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School. It was while she was a student at Harvard, as her parents were separating, that Wu noticed her mother showing signs of mental illness. Shortly after graduating, just months into her new job, Wu was called home to Chicago by her younger sister, with their mom in a full-blown mental health crisis.

After stabilizing the home life, Wu moved the entire family back to Boston where she began to attend Harvard Law School. Wu believes the move saved her mother's life. Wu's mom was diagnosed with late onset schizophrenia and was inpatient at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Wu got her start in City Hall working for Mayor Thomas M. Menino as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy. She later served as statewide Constituency Director in the U.S. Senate campaign of her former law professor, Elizabeth Warren.

She is a former restaurant owner, legal services attorney, and legal guardian of her younger sisters. She also has a background in community advocacy, having worked at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plain and at the Medical-Legal Partnership at Boston Medical Center.

Wu lives in Roslindale with her husband Conor and her sons Blaise and Cass. Wu and her family share a two-family house with her mother.

NBC10 Boston's Alison King sat down for a 1-on-1 interview with Michelle Wu, who is in the race to be Boston's next mayor.
Sue O'Connell sat down with Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu to talk about why she is running for mayor.
Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu shares why she's running for mayor in Boston and what she plans on improving if elected into office.

Annissa Essaibi George

The daughter of immigrants — her father Ezzeddine immigrated to the U.S. from Tunisia in 1972 and her mother Barbara was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany after World War II — Annissa Essaibi George grew up in Dorchester and was elected to the Boston City Council in 2015.

Essaibi George, 47, graduated from Boston Technical High School, and earned a B.A. in Political Science from Boston University and a Masters degree of Education from University of Massachusetts Boston.

Starting in 2001, Essaibi George taught Economics, Business Management and Health & Human Services to juniors and seniors at East Boston High School. She also served as the assistant softball coach.

Essaibi George is also the founder and owner of Stitch House in Dorchester -- a brick and mortar retail shop that sells yarn and fabrics. It also offers classes in knitting, sewing, quilting and crochet -- all hobbies Essaibi George has enjoyed since childhood.

She and her husband, Dorchester-native Doug George, have four boys together: Douglas, and triplets, Charlie, Kayden and Samir.

Ahead of the Boston mayoral race, City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George sat down with NBC10 Boston.
Sue O’Connell sits down with Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George to discuss her mayoral campaign.
Annissa Essaibi George currently serves as an at-large member of the Boston City Council. The former Boston Public School teacher joined Kwani A. Lunis to share why she’s running for mayor.

Andrea Campbell

Andrea Campbell has represented Dorchester, Mattapan, and parts of Roslindale and Jamaica Plain since being elected to the City Council in 2015. Serving as city council president before Janey, she was the first Black woman in that position.

Born and raised in Boston, Campbell, 39, has had a far from ordinary life. When she was just eight months old, Campbell's mom died in a car accident going to visit her father who was incarcerated at the time.

Campbell, her twin brother Andre and their older brother Alvin, bounced between family and foster care until she was 8 years old -- which is when she met her father for the first time when he was just out of prison.

Despite the instability, Campbell thrived.  She went on to Boston Latin School, Princeton University and UCLA Laws School. But the rest of her family did not.

Her father died while she was at Princeton. A few years later, her brother Andre, who was in prison, also died. And her older brother Alvin is currently in prison in Rhode Island.

Today, Campbell lives in Mattapan with her husband, Matthew, and their sons, Alexander and Aiden.

NBC10 Boston political reporter Alison King sat down with Andrea Campbell, whose life has been far from ordinary.
Sue O’Connell sat down with Andrea Campbell to talk about why she’s running to become Mayor of Boston.
Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell joins NBC10 Boston to share a little bit of her story, why she’s running for mayor of Boston, and what changes she’d like to see if elected.

John Barros

John Barros served for seven years as chief of economic development under former Mayor Marty Walsh. Born in 1973, Barros is the son of Cape Verdean immigrants.

His father worked in the cranberry bogs when he first arrived in the late 50s. He eventually moved to Boston, met his wife, also a Cape Verdean immigrant, and raised their family.

Barros is a lifelong Boston resident. He spoke Cape Verdean creole in the family home, which he still speaks fluently, and he didn’t learn English until grade school.

When he was 14, Barros got involved with the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, where he got leadership training, learned how to organize, and contributed to the transformation of several Roxbury neighborhoods.

Years later, after graduating from Dartmouth, and a stint in the business world, Barros went on to head up the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative before his more recent stint as chief of economic development under Walsh.

NBC10 Boston's Alison King sits down with John Barros, a Boston mayoral candidate.
Sue O'Connell sat down with John Barros, who's run for mayor of Boston in the past, to talk about why he's running again.
John Barros, the first person to serve as Boston's Economic Development Chief, joins Kwani A. Lunis to discuss what he accomplished during those seven years and why he resigned to run for mayor of Boston.
Contact Us