Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu on Monday did not deny claims that she plans to run for mayor, after Mayor Marty Walsh told The Boston Globe that Wu is planning a bid to unseat him next year.
In a Globe article published Monday afternoon, Walsh is quoted is saying that Wu called him on Sunday to inform him of her plans.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Wu did not deny that the city councilor had reached out to Walsh to tell him she would be running against him.
"[Wu] believes that in this moment of hardship for our city, each one of us should be asking ourselves how we can make a difference," the spokesperson said in a statement.
If Wu does launch a mayoral bid and is successful, it would be the first time a mayor has been unseated in Boston since 1949.
Wu has been increasingly critical of Walsh's policies in recent months, further igniting ongoing speculation about a possible mayoral run.
In July, Wu described the mayor’s plan to accept donations from donors and corporations for the Boston Resiliency Fund as a “dangerous and deceptive tactic” in aninterview with GBH’s Boston Public Radio. Later that day, Walsh fired back, describing a “city councilor” who “doesn’t know what they’re talking about” in a press conference with reporters.
“Some people that are criticizing the resiliency fund might want to run for higher office,” Walsh told reporters. “They better find a better issue than that to run for higher office.”
Wu, who was the first woman of color to be elected president of the Boston City Council in 2016, has also harshly criticized the mayor’s Racial Equity Fund for what she sees as a lack of transparency from the city.
“We need more dollars, more funding going to communities of color, going to Black-led organizations, going to Black and brown residents, that is unquestionable. But from my perspective, this [Racial Equity Fund] is not adding to that,” Wu told GBH News in July. “This is city government stepping in to suck the money that would otherwise be going through efforts led and created by Black and brown business leaders in Boston, and injecting this political element to it, when in fact, our jobs in city government is to do the structural work.”
According to a GBH News report from July using data from the Walsh administration, less than 2 percent of the more than $12 million in coronavirus-related contract funds awarded to the city went to a Boston-based, minority-owned business.
In a follow-up statement to GBH News after her July Boston Public Radio interview, Wu doubled down, saying that "Mayor-controlled private funds launched during the pandemic … creates conflicts of interest under a troubling lack of oversight" and adding that she "would hope that Mayor Walsh has the capacity to understand that this was not a personal attack on him, but a call for Boston to do better."
Wu, a 35-year-old Roslindale resident and Chicago native, was first elected to the City Council in 2013 after graduating from Harvard Law School.
Wu’s challenges to Walsh are not new — in August of last year, Wu pushed Walsh to create stricter policies around housing rental agencies like AirBnb, in an effort to protect affordable housing opportunities in the city. In her first term, Wu urged the city to withdraw a 2024 Olympics bid, writing in a GBH News op-ed that city leaders should “stay true to our democratic legacy and what Boston has already given to the world: informed independence and true debate.”
In April of last year, speculation about a possible mayoral bid began to kick into high gear. Though Wu would not confirm nor deny these rumors, she told the Boston Herald at the time that she was “never, growing up, thinking that I would be in politics to begin with, so I take it a day at a time.”
“In government,” Wu told the Herald, “it’s always easier to do nothing than to suggest a change.”