Asked by one of the co-hosts about whether Wu’s Chicago roots should be relevant to voters, Essaibi George replied, “It’s relevant to me, and I think it’s relevant to a lot of people. voters, whether or not they were born and raised in the city. “
His remarks sparked a storm on Twitter, with some people accusing him of “tampering” with Boston residents who are not from the city.
Campaign spokesperson Nicole Caravella said the campaign was caught off guard by the uproar, insisting that while Essaibi George criticized Wu for his leadership style and presence in the community, Dorchester’s advisor would not. wasn’t criticizing where Wu – or anyone – grew up. up.
“Annissa was only talking about her individual experiences,” Caravella said. She told Essaibi George, who like Wu is a daughter of immigrants, spoke about her immigrant parents and shared her own story about where she grew up and the experiences that shaped her.
“There was no hit on Michelle or anyone for that matter who is not from here,” Caravella said.
At the start of the conversation, one of the radio show’s hosts asked Essaibi George to explain what separates her from Wu in their historic run for mayor.
Essaibi George pointed to her background, including her 13 years as a teacher at East Boston High, and her reputation as a politician who shows up in neighborhoods – a criticism some residents have leveled against Wu.
“I don’t see Michelle in our neighborhoods, in our city, as I am present,” Essaibi Geoge said. “I hear this … from the people of our town. I hear this from community members. I hear this from civic leaders. I hear when I knock on doors, that I’m the first person to knock on a door … I think a Boston mayor should come in this way, and that’s what I do. brings to the table in a very different way. “
Turnout in the preliminary elections was dismal citywide at 24%, and a Suffolk University-Boston Globe poll in early September showed 54% of those polled said they had not met any of the candidates in the September election.
When asked if Wu would be a good mayor, Essaibi George didn’t compliment her rival. “If I thought she would be a good mayor, I wouldn’t be running for mayor,” Essaibi George said.
She also spoke at length about her experiences as a lifelong Boston resident.
“All of these experiences … brought me to this moment,” she said. “And … they continue to inform the work that I do as a city councilor and have certainly informed the work that I will be doing as the city mayor.”
The campaign said that Essaibi George “pivoted” on whether it mattered to voters that Wu was not from Boston, and instead focused on his own life experience, without any reference to Wu. Caravella argued that Essabi George had every right to punch Wu on leadership, policy, and substance, and every right to pivot on his own life story growing up in Boston.
It was not a review of Wu, they said.
But Twitter and Wu apparently saw it differently, as the conversation was tweeted in real time by a reporter at boston.com.
Wu retweeted one of the threads and wrote: “Reminder: the mayor of Boston must lead for ALL of us. I’m ready to fight for every resident, whether you’ve been here since birth or choose to make Boston your home along the way.
City councilor Ricardo Arroyo, who supported Wu with his father Felix D. Arroyo earlier this week, responded to the thread, noting that although her parents were not born in Boston, they devoted much of their lives to serving the city as a teacher and public servant.
“Getting the rhetoric heard that someone born here like me somehow has more power to run our city than they do is ‘other’ and fake,” his Twitter post said.
Former Secretary of State for Transport Jim Aloisi joined the fray, stressing that a “the big city is not a stagnant city or a place that casts a condescending glance on the inhabitantsWho were born elsewhere.
“A big city embraces change, encourages diversity, provides opportunities for all of its inhabitants. Insularity is a recipe for decline, ”he wrote.
Pollster Steve Koczela added his own tweet, writing that less than half – or 43 percent – of Boston residents were born in Massachusetts. “Probably even a lower… in Boston itself,” Koczela said.