Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, who represents East Boston, along with Charlestown and the North End, Wednesday endorsed At-Large Councilor Michelle Wu's bid for mayor, all but ensuring East Boston — with its heavily Latino population — will become a hotly contested battleground.

Edwards spoke in Spanish and English when she threw her support behind Wu at a late morning event along the water at LoPresti Park. Edward heralded Wu as a leader who “rejects cynicism.” It is an overarching cynicism, said Edwards, that keeps Boston wedded to ways of doing things that, while comfortable, ultimately fail.

On a more personal note, Edwards credited Wu with welcoming her into politics with open arms.

Edwards also sketched an image of Wu fiercely battling then-Mayor Marty Walsh for stronger regulation of short-term rentals as Wu balanced her public job with her private role as a multi-tasking mother.

"She pushed him [Walsh], she stood her ground and I watched an incredibly powerful woman do all of that while balancing her baby on her hip," Edwards said, mimicking the motions of a mother rocking a child. "And we got that legislation done."

Edwards’ support comes a day after Boston's heavily Latino local Service Employees International Union 32BJ — made up of custodians, security guards and cleaning personnel — gave its endorsement to acting Mayor Kim Janey, the only candidate besides Wu who consistently polls towards the top of the pack.

The union says it has about 1,000 members who live in East Boston, making the area a top target for the race's two frontrunners.

Edwards and Wu at the endorsement event.
Saraya Wintersmith GBH News

"The fact of the matter is East Boston is a gem and it's worth fighting for," Edwards said of her home turf.

Janey received the first endorsement from a city councilor in the race last week when Hyde Park councilor Ricardo Arroyo declared support for her along with his father, Felix D. Arroyo, Suffolk County register of probate. The Arroyo dynasty carries weight with Boston's Latino voters.

Prior to his withdrawal last week, State Rep. Jon Santiago was actively campaigning for Latino votes, with an ad and campaign materials in Spanish and English. His exit has cleared a path for others to campaign for those votes more aggressively.

According to the most recent figures available from City Hall, there are about 22,000 registered voters in East Boston. If recent primaries are any indication, more than a third of those voters going to the polls would be considered a heavy turnout.

As a political battleground, East Boston can be volatile. In the city’s 2013 multi-candidate primary then City Councilor John Connolly won the first round of voting, only to lose the neighborhood in the final to Walsh.