Michelle Wu To Run For Mayor

F-Line to Dudley

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Thoughts?

"Practice" run? I don't see inertia working against Walsh the way the Boston mayorality is encased three-deep in inertia, but at 35 Wu's got a lot of career left and will still be well in her prime by the time Walsh has gotten sick of it and moved on. Either that or she's taking the odd-number year visibility-increaser to immediately go the Pressley route in the next even-number year and primary Lynch in the 8th.


So probably not a repeat of the mid-2000's where Flaherty was breathlessly being talked up (incorrectly, as it were) as a Menino heir...but then he apparently left his brain behind on the campaign bus and became a one-note NIMBY shell of himself upon returning to the Council after couple years' electoral hiatus. Whatever you think of Wu's politics, she's definitely more capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time with her long-game ambitions than the Flaherty mirage ever was.
 

ErnieAdams

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Here's one you can take to the bank: she will campaign on abolishing the BPDA, and if she wins she will come to the same epiphany that Walsh did during his transition, namely that the mayor can wield an extraordinary amount of power through the BPDA, and then as mayor she'll embark upon a slate of "reforms" of the agency which magically will do not a thing to her ability to wield that power herself. Maybe it'll even get a new name again! I nominate the "Boston Office of Future Advancements" because I would really enjoy a decade of headlines lamenting "What's the matter with BOFA".
 

meddlepal

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I'm not a fan and I think she's a long shot.

That said, she's the darling of /r/boston and looks to be using the same social media playbook that worked for Ayanna Pressley unseating Capuano and Markey holding off Kennedy. Her supporters are already ra-ra-ra cheerleading for her on there and downvoting / attacking anything Walsh. The demographic of these elections is changing.

Here's one you can take to the bank: she will campaign on abolishing the BPDA, and if she wins she will come to the same epiphany that Walsh did during his transition, namely that the mayor can wield an extraordinary amount of power through the BPDA
Exactly this. The mayor of Boston is somewhere in the top-3 most powerful politicians in the state because of his or her control on development in the biggest city in New England. Abolish that and the job is a lot less interesting.
 

George_Apley

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Exactly this. The mayor of Boston is somewhere in the top-3 most powerful politicians in the state because of his or her control on development in the biggest city in New England. Abolish that and the job is a lot less interesting.
Pedantic, but probably Top 5. Speaker, Senate Pres, and Gov are the trifecta in that order. Mayor of Boston is after that competing with the State AG.
 

meddlepal

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Pedantic, but probably Top 5. Speaker, Senate Pres, and Gov are the trifecta in that order. Mayor of Boston is after that competing with the State AG.
Pedantic for sure but I think the Mayor is right after the Speaker. The Senate President is irrelevant and the governor doesn’t matter: if its a Democrat they do what the legislature wants and if they're a Republican they either do what the legislature wants or do nothing at all.
 

ErnieAdams

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This discussion is my shit. For a fact, there are legal types in the offices of all 5 officers on this list whose only jobs are to think deeply about the nature and sources of their bosses' respective power and to figure out whether they can accrue more of it. Just the most heavily dog-eared leather volumes of the MGL that you can imagine.
 

HenryAlan

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Either that or she's taking the odd-number year visibility-increaser to immediately go the Pressley route in the next even-number year and primary Lynch in the 8th.
She doesn't live in the 8th, although it's a distinction of yards. Perhaps redistricting will shift her out of the 7th.
 

lexicon506

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I'm not a fan and I think she's a long shot.
The knee-jerk reaction on this forum would be to support Walsh since he is more obviously pro-development, but there are reasons to think Wu may actually be better for the city's built environment. Do we want a progressive zoning overhaul that grants developers by-right high densities near transit and along major corridors, abolishes mandatory parking minimums, bans single family zoning, raises affordability standards, and prioritizes buses, bikes, and pedestrians over cars?

We're not getting any of that with Walsh, no matter how long he stays in City Hall. If elected, Wu would come in with a progressive mandate and none of that Boston old boys club baggage that has always kept city leaders from rocking the boat too much. I'm looking forward to hearing her ideas.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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She doesn't live in the 8th, although it's a distinction of yards. Perhaps redistricting will shift her out of the 7th.
Or she moves (at her age and without a large personal fortune safe assumption that she's a renter). As an at-large councilor and with the "difference in yards" she has all the flex in the world to do that while escaping any carpetbagger criticism.

This makes me think she's got nothing to lose upping her visibility in 2021 with the Mayor run to keep all options open for primarying opps in '22. Lynch was thought to be vulnerable to a challenger this year, but all the campaign money got sucked up to the 2 open seats and Neal's late-breaking surprise of a tough fight in the 1st CD that there were no stray resources left for Lynch or Captain America in the 6th to have to worry about in their primaries. Though to Lynch's credit he did seem to sense he had vulnerabilities to sew up and took the challenger he did net seriously with more rigorous debate slate and event schedule than the average reelection year. Wu can weigh her "Pressley" options there in '22 or if it's not an amenable environment just return to the Council in '23 with enhanced power base easy. There's almost no tactical downside to her trying this, especially at that young an age. As per my original post in the thread, I don't think the Flaherty comparison holds. Flaherty was a mirage when he took on Menino on similar "fall up to an enhanced power base" gamble...he ended up shooting his entire karma load and half his brainpower in that bid and has been an absolutely rudderless has-been since returning to the Council. Agnostic to Wu's political takes she's very much more multi-dimensional than Flaherty was so I don't see any similar risk here.


I don't think this is necessarily going to be a very exciting race. Inertia is so overpowering with the Boston Mayorality that it's inconceivable to amass enough dirt on Walsh to topple him. I expect this to be a debate of ideas rather than a debate of candidates, because Wu has wider leverage playing a longer game for herself and Walsh is simply looking for 4 more years as the transitional term to joining the "Instututional Mayor" ranks that gets his likeness carved into statues and on granite placemarkers all over town. The two of them will be talking over each other on kind of different wavelengths rather than pairing off for all that many head-to-head skirmishes.

Plus, we always get inferiorly compared to NYC...and NYC's '21 race is going to be a high-stakes barnburner already shaped by the effigies springing up for imploding outgoer de Blasio. This is comparatively a snoozer...no spectacle of de Blasio's year from hell hanging over Walsh (if Marty gets dinged on anything for his COVID handling, it's so far inside the margin of error as to be infinitely debateable), the historical institutional intertia, and a pre-narrowed field where both candidates can "win" something for their legacies even with only 1 winner getting the office. NYC is going to be a junkyard brawl just for narrowing a large field of divergently-aligned challengers into a small one, with who can trash the unpopular lame-duck hardest writing the bulk of the newspaper copy. It'll be overblown to a degree that a lot of NYC v. Boston comparisons are overblown...but it may actually be true that the NYC race makes for more scintillating daily Globe reading than the hometown race.
 
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KCasiglio

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The knee-jerk reaction on this forum would be to support Walsh since he is more obviously pro-development, but there are reasons to think Wu may actually be better for the city's built environment. Do we want a progressive zoning overhaul that grants developers by-right high densities near transit and along major corridors, abolishes mandatory parking minimums, bans single family zoning, raises affordability standards, and prioritizes buses, bikes, and pedestrians over cars?

We're not getting any of that with Walsh, no matter how long he stays in City Hall. If elected, Wu would come in with a progressive mandate and none of that Boston old boys club baggage that has always kept city leaders from rocking the boat too much. I'm looking forward to hearing her ideas.
This is pretty much how I see it. Walsh is a known quality, and theres a decently high "floor" as it were for his support of progressing Boston in an urbanist direction, but theres also a pretty hard ceiling that are unnecessarily holding the city back by not moving forward on things like you've mentioned. I mean being steps behind *Hartford* on parking is embarrassing.

I want to see what Wu puts forward. Her attitude towards housing lately definitely gives reason to pause. But I think she'd be easily moved in a good direction on a lot of issues and would be effective in working with the city council
 

JumboBuc

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Or she moves (at her age and without a large personal fortune safe assumption that she's a renter).
A quick search of the Boston Assessing database shows that Michelle Wu and her husband own the house in Roslindale where they live (a two-family, btw). It's in the 7th, about two blocks away from the 8th.
 

George_Apley

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Fun fact: you don't have to live in a Congressional District to represent it. You just have to live in the state. Obviously it's politically wise to live in the CD, but Wu, legally-speaking, would not have to move to run in a district two blocks to her east.
 

HenryAlan

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Damn district boundaries...
Yeah, especially the boundary between 7 and 8. You could travel due west from Dorchester bay and move back and forth between the two repeatedly. I live on the other side of that two block stretch from Michelle Wu, so just barely in the 8th district. But travel a few blocks further West, and bam, you are back in the 7th. I use a rather graphic description at times to describe the way the phalanx of district 8 inserted in to district 7 represents Lynch's view about that part of his district.
 

stefal

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Andrea Campbell is also now in the running for mayor. Seems like the consensus is Wu and Campbell (possibly others) are getting their campaigns up and ready in the event of a Biden win, and Walsh is called down to DC.
 

HenryAlan

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If Walsh does resign the office, that's a huge leg up for Campbell, since she'd become acting mayor under that scenario.
 

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