Some observers wonder if Ms. Wu’s political platform will be enough to carry her through to the November general election.
“People just want the city to work for them, they don’t want good policies,” said Kay Gibbs, 81, who worked as a political assistant to Thomas Atkins, the city’s first black city councilor, and the representing Barney Frank. Boston’s next mayor, she said, will have his hands full with the basics, taking control of powerful forces within a sprawling city government.
“The electorate is smarter than we think, and they have certain interests that don’t extend to all of these free public transport and Green New Deal dream ideas,” she said. “They are going to choose the person they think is the most capable.”
Boston is growing rapidly, with rapid growth in its Asian and Hispanic populations. He saw a declining percentage of non-Hispanic white residents, who now make up less than 45% of the population. And the percentage of black residents is also declining, dropping to 19% of the population from around 22% in 2010.
Ms Janey, who was then president of city council, became acting mayor in March after Martin J. Walsh became the country’s labor secretary, and many believed she would be heading for the general election. But she was cautious in her new role, sticking largely to the script during public appearances, and damaged by criticism from rival Ms. Campbell, a Princeton-trained lawyer and vigorous activist.
During a campaign shutdown on Monday, Ms Janey said the position had not necessarily turned out to be an advantage.
“I would definitely say it’s a double-edged sword,” she said.
Municipal elections, especially preliminaries, tend to attract low turnout, whiter and older than the city as a whole. It wasn’t until the last few years that change began to be felt in Massachusetts, which has seen a series of upheavals for progressive women of color, said Steve Koczela, president of the MassInc Polling Group.
“This is the culmination of a lot of flexing of new political muscles,” he said.