Boston Mayoral Candidates Draw Distinctly Different Donors

Out-of-state donors have been more partial to the front-runner, Michelle Wu, while the city’s police officers have shown more support for Annissa Essaibi George.,

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Donations to Boston’s mayoral candidates are coming from very different places.

Ellen Barry

Nov. 2, 2021, 1:07 p.m. ET

Nov. 2, 2021, 1:07 p.m. ET

Michelle Wu's campaign has received nearly 19 percent of individual contributions from donors outside of Massachusetts.
Michelle Wu’s campaign has received nearly 19 percent of individual contributions from donors outside of Massachusetts.Credit…Philip Keith for The New York Times

BOSTON — The women running for mayor of Boston, the city councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George, have each raised serious money, totaling $2.15 million and $1.94 million, respectively. But if you look at who is giving them that money, the differences are stark.

Out-of-state donors. Ms. Wu’s candidacy has attracted national attention, with nearly 19 percent of individual contributions to her campaign, totaling more than $400,000, coming from outside of Massachusetts. Out-of-state donations make up only about 7 percent of Ms. Essaibi George’s haul.

Environmental groups. Progressives, who once denounced the influence of super PACs, are now making vigorous use of them, said Paul D. Craney, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. The Green Advocacy Project, an environmental group based in Palo Alto, Calif., has contributed $250,000 to two super PACs supporting Ms. Wu, who has been leading in polls.

Police officers. Ms. Essaibi George, who was endorsed by the city’s former police commissioner, William Gross, has received more than 430 donations, totaling more than $150,000, from police officers and firefighters, according to state records. By contrast, Ms. Wu, who has pushed for cuts to the police budget, has received only 13.

Developers and builders. The candidates diverge sharply on development, with Ms. Wu favoring the return of rent control and the dissolution of the city’s planning agency. In the last weeks, Ms. Essaibi George has raised more than $38,000 from executives at building firms, the Boston Business Journal found. Ms. Wu took in less than half that much from such sources.

A conservative sneaker magnate. Jim Davis, the chairman of the sneaker company New Balance, has contributed $1,095,000 to a super PAC supporting Ms. Essaibi George. Mr. Davis is better known for funding Republicans, having contributed nearly $400,000 to Trump Victory, a super PAC supporting Donald J. Trump, the former president, in 2016.

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