BOSTON (CBS) – It was a historic night alright. Historically long. Historically resultless.
And historically harsh on the losing campaigns who worked their hearts out for a year or more only to be deprived of the dignity of a quick, decisive death and a proper wake.
But with Kim Janey and Andrea Campbell conceding the race, here’s a brief, weary hint of what comes next in the Boston mayoral race:
Town vs. gown.
There’s often an element of that classic class conflict in Boston politics. Think John Connolly (Roxbury Latin/Harvard/BC Law) vs. Marty Walsh (School of Hard Knocks); David Finnegan (Stonehill/Harvard/BU Law) vs. Ray Flynn (“You called me a lizard!); Jim Brett (Kennedy School) vs. Tom Menino (Not a Fancy Talkah).
Michelle Wu (Harvard, Harvard Law) vs. Anissa Essaibi George (BU, UMass Boston, teachah and motha) fits the mold. The Elizabeth Warren protege with the liberals, the social media kiddie corps, and the blow-ins behind her vs. Martina Walsh, newly-crowned queen of the Townies.
Wu starts off a heavy favorite, in part because she has the personal and political skills to break the mold of loser gownies. Her personal story is one of struggle and striving, not privilege. She had the nerve to back Southie arch-conservative Bill Linehan for Council president in 2013, placing pragmatic politics over ideological purity, and the more liberals still hold a grudge over it the more headway she’ll make with townies not yet in thrall to their queen.
But Essaibi George will narrow that gap, with the help of the cops/firefighters/nurses/Walshites who apparently put her into the final, joined by property owners freaked by Wu’s support for rent control, and maybe even some Asian-Americans who don’t appreciate Wu’s equivocations on the Boston Latin admission controversy.
These are two good candidates, capable of growing beyond all the stereotypes we’re having fun indulging in. So if it’s finally official by the time you read this, bring on the final. Town vs. gown, for all the marbles.