Massachusetts kicked off the preliminary elections this past Tuesday, with progressives gearing to make major gains in November’s election. Cities like Brockton and Framingham look to be continuing with (or returning to) the status quo, but Boston, Medford, and Somerville could all be in for a progressive shift in November. While there were a good handful of prelims last week, here is a brief rundown of a few.
In Brockton, incumbent mayor Robert Sullivan took home 1st place over City-Councilor Tina Cardoso by a wide-margin of 71 percent of the vote to just 22 percent. Sullivan became mayor just two years ago, after serving 14 years in the City Council. Tina Cardoso, who would be the city’s first Black woman mayor, was elected to City Council in 2019 and has been a nurse for over 25 years.
Cardoso, who was born in Cape Verde Islands, is looking to bring her lived experience perspective as a nurse to the Mayor’s office to provide an equitable and just pandemic recovery and future. After just 10% of potential voters came out on the 14th, she will need the help of progressives everywhere to increase turnout and name recognition for the general election in November.
Incumbent-Mayor Yvonne Spicer is facing an uphill battle against former City Councilor Charlie Sisitsky. While it is abnormal for the incumbent to be viewed as the outsider in an election, Charlie Sisitsky was in city government for over 20 years. He first served as a selectman 1998, then as a City Councilor when Framingham reclassified as a city in 2018 through 2019.
Sisitsky and his supporters regularly cite a negative work environment between the Mayor’s office and the City Council’s office. Part of this can certainly be ascribed to differences in ideology, but another part certainly comes from the growing pains of changing from a town government to a city government.
North of Boston, there could be a major progressive shift. Somerville is poised to have a Democratic Socialist takeover of their City Council this November. On top of that, the top two vote getters in the Mayoral Prelim are both quite progressive.
Although Will Mbah, the sitting City Councilor, is most progressives’ top choice to be Mayor, Katjana Ballantyne would not be the worst consolation prize. Ballantyne, Ward 7’s City Councilor, has taken the Pressley Policy Pledge and has earned the endorsement of the Mass Women’s Political Caucus PAC while campaigning on a need for climate resiliency and a more equitable Somerville.
Will Mbah, a Cameroonian immigrant, has earned big endorsements from organizations like Sunrise Somerville and Our Revolution. Mbah has also likely been the most outspoken candidate in terms of housing, calling for a raise to the city’s affordability to requirement. Both candidates, though, have called for some form of rent control.
While Mbah may have earned the big endorsement of Our Revolution and Sunrise, Ballantyne is no slouch as the author of Somerville’s Green New Deal. Somerville progressives should be thrilled with their options.
Boston is where most of the attention went last Tuesday, and will likely remain through November. In a historically diverse field of candiates fighting to win the seat that Kim Janey currently occupies, Michelle Wu (who ran away with 33% of the vote) and Annissa Essaibi George will move on to face off in November. Both candidates are already establishing their lanes, with Wu being the progressive choice and Essaibi George being the centrist choice,
Credit to Andrea Campbell for running a wonderful campaign anchored in her desire to fight for a more inclusive and equitable Boston. Kim Janey, who was late to launch her campaign, has already made history as the first mayor of Boston to not be a white man. Their leadership in Boston will remain welcome and urgent as we move into this new era of Boston politics and continue to recover from the devastating pandemic.
While a majority of this race has been fought in good nature, there has been some scandal surrounding Annissa Essaibi George. One scandal was that she used her office in the City Council to benefit her husband’s real estate business. It has been alleged that Essaibi George has used her position in the city’s government to block the projects being run by her husband’s rivals. Not only is this a clear conflict of interest, but it raises questions about her ethics. According to the Boston Globe piece, her husband has had several issues with City hall, including; issues making payments “It was only this January — two weeks before his wife launched her mayoral campaign — that George addressed 116 late payments for failing to register apartments over at least seven years.” and “in July, Boston sent him a stack of warning letters for failing to register another 14 units and renewing 20 others.”
Furthermore, the Boston Globe piece paints a picture of what one former tenant would call a “slumlord.” The piece revealed a pattern of behavior that showed Douglas George was nothing short of just that, a slumlord.
There was more news reported by the Dorchester Reporter on September 8th that should make progressives unhappy: Republican mega-donor Jim Davis got involved and put $495,000 through a Super PAC into Essaibi George’s campaign. The New Balance chairman has donated almost $7.5 million into Republican campaigns over the years, including $496,000 to Donald Trump’s campaign. Simply put, Essaibi George should not have accepted this PACs money. If not for moral reasons, she should have rejected it for strategic reasons. Boston has made it clear that it rejects Trump and Trumpism. In the 2020 election, 82.5% of Bostonians voted for Joe Biden against Donald Trump and 82.7% voted for Ed Markey against the right-winger Kevin O’Connor.
Fortunately for Boston leftists, Michelle Wu appeared to run away with first-place in the preliminary election, beating Essaibi George by about 11%. Wu has proposed bold ideas such as the Boston Green New Deal and “Free the T.” She’s also earned major endorsements from the likes of Elizabeth Warren, Lydia Edwards, Jay Gonzalez, and Sonia Chang-Diaz.
The choice for Bostonians is clear here, between an equitable future and sustaining a status quo that has caused housing issues, the city to be susceptible to the consequences of the climate crisis, and racial biases in all facets of life.
Depending on the results of both the preliminary and official election, Massachusetts could be in for a massive shift to the left.
The next round of elections will be held today, September 21st, and can be seen here.
What did Essabi George do to you? This was a great rundown until you went negative on her.
Are you saying that the Boston Globe reporting cited in the thread-starter is false?
The thread-starter is clear about the motivations for the criticism of Ms. George.
A piece on WBUR (https://www.wbur.org/news/2021/07/29/boston-city-councilor-essaibi-george-husband-conflict) tells a similar story.
When the statements from Ms. George are un-spun, she doesn’t deny the substance of the criticisms. She used her office to attempt to block a building project that would have harmed her husband’s business interests, and backed off only when the cited Boston Globe investigation made the obvious conflict of interest front-page news. Ms. George would have us believe that she knew nothing of her husband’s involvement in the case until the Globe story was published. Right.
Her office did not deny the substance of the Globe reporting about the long list of violations of her husband.
The reporting about Mr. Davis is similarly well-sourced in the thread-starter.
I’m disappointed that you characterize this well-written and well-sourced piece as “[going] negative”.
I think it is vital that sites like BMG call out candidates who create the appearance of corruption. When candidates accept contributions from major Republican and Trumpist donors, they should similarly be called out on it.
I have no independent knowledge of these allegations nor reason to dispute them. All I’m saying is I prefer posts here to remain positive. I’m not sure of the relevance of whom else a donor gave to as long as it’s legal. There are lots of factors that go into decisions to donate and just because a donor also gave to Trump doesn’t make AEG a Trumpist, which I can’t imagine she is since she has already been politically successful in Boston. If the diarist supports Wu he should stick to what he likes about her and leave AEG out of it IMO. I think I have been fairly consistent in my attitude about this over the years.
The only way to get “independent knowledge” of allegations like this is from media sources. I found it easy to confirm the substance of the Globe piece with a simple Google search. The candidate herself does not deny the information in these reports — she instead claims some mix of ignorance and independence.
Accepting a significant campaign contribution from a major pro-Trump PAC sends a clear message about values and priorities. Every politician dances to the music of their contributors.
This thread-starter is a balanced piece that includes negative information about a candidate. That negative information is well-sourced and relevant.
This strikes me as a well-written and very welcome thread-starter from a new author. I welcome it — including the information about Ms. George.
Again, I’m not looking to confirm or dispute the Globe’s reporting. I see that kind of reporting as the Globe’s (and mainstream media’s generally) job. OTOH I prefer BMGers to write about whom they support and why I am NOT saying it’s inaccurate; I am NOT saying it’s irrelevant; I am NOT saying it’s badly sourced. I AM saying I’d rather not see it HERE. I’m also not going begrudge a candidate accepting any legal amount of money from any legal source.
I’m extraordinarily happy to see a new diary from a new contributor.
I share the author’s hostility to elected officials who casually ignore obvious conflicts of interest, especially with close family members. I find it especially offensive when those officials wait until the skeletons are published in local media to claim they “knew nothing”.
I don’t know anything about the state of Ms. George’s marriage. I do know that if she shares breakfasts, dinners, social occasions, and a bed with her husband then she knew his (and presumably their) business interests would benefit from the official actions she was pursuing.
I’m very glad to see that information here.
Speaking the truth is not going negative. ” Real reporting is the best obtainable version of the truth.” Bob Woodward
The truth is sometimes negative. We say negative things about Donald Trump here all the time, and it’s all true.
You dissed the author because he “went negative on her (George).” Now you say : “The truth is sometimes negative.”
So what is it?
But I did not accuse the author of lying. I just want to stick with “I support candidate X because…” or “Candidate X is best because…” rather than “Candidate Y did something awful, is a sellout, etc.” at least among Dems which is what I’m assuming all Boston mayoral candidates are despite technically being a non-partisan race. I wouldn’t have even minded if he had mentioned in passing that this issue had come up since that would have squared with what I saw as the more neutral tone of the rest of the diary, but the tone so obviously shifted when discussing AEG that it rubbed me the wrong way and I decided not to uprate it as I was considering until that point. Since this is a Dem blog I’m more tolerant of going more negative on Republicans, though I’ve never been a big fan of the name calling you sometimes engage in.
Your sophistry is hypocritical. You say : “good to see a diary promoted for the first time” then you disparage the new diarist with “this was a great rundown until you went negative…” yada, yada, yada….
And you end by “negatively” throwing me under the bus for “name calling” the Pukes as a GQP (Grand Quanon Party) Thugocracy run by Traitors, Seditionists, Covidiots and the Slobfather.
Jeeesh! Make up your mind.
I’m glad a diary was promoted even if I don’t agree with all of it – nothing hypocritical about that. I do think many Republicans are seditionists, but find puke and slobfather to be childish.
I live in Somerville, and I enthusiastically support Katjana Ballantyne.
One reason is that she has stopped by our house, twice, to meet with my wife and I. Ms. Ballantyne impressed me with her deep understanding of how city government in Somerville works (and doesn’t work). Mr. Mbah made no such effort.
I am confident that Katjana Ballantyne best represents my values and priorities. She has enthusiastic support and endorsements from the various local officials that I know and respect.
I voted for her in the preliminary election, I have contributed to her campaign, and I enthusiastically support her candidacy for Mayor.
Katjana Ballantyne is far and away the best candidate for Mayor of Somerville in 2021.
Good to see a diary promoted for the first time in more than two months!