As Boston voters prepare to elect a new mayor in just eight days, city councilors and candidates Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George meet Monday night for their third and final debate.
The face-to-face meeting is the last chance before next Tuesday's election for the rival city councilors to challenge one another and present their visions for Boston's future.
It will be Essaibi George's best and last shot to shake up the race in which Wu appears to hold a commanding lead, according to three recent polls. A WBUR poll earlier this month found Wu ahead of George by 32 points, with solid leads across the city among Black, white, Latino and Asian voters. A Boston Globe-Suffolk University survey a week later found similar results, and the most recent poll from the progressive think tank Data for Progress showed Wu leading Essaibi George by 25 points — 57% to 32%.
In the last debate, Essaibi George challenged Wu on a number of fronts, suggesting that much of her sweeping progressive agenda was unworkable or too costly.
"Who's going to pay for that?" Essaibi George demanded to know, referring to Wu's plan to make public transportation in Boston free. "That's a $2.3 billion yearly investment."
"I'm not running for mayor to say what we can't do," Wu shot back. "I'm fighting for what we need and deserve."
Wu finished in first place in last month's preliminary election and has picked up a slew of endorsements — including from acting Mayor Kim Janey, who failed to win a spot on the Nov. 2 ballot after finishing fourth in the preliminary election.
Over the weekend, the Boston Globe's editorial board also endorsed Wu, writing that she "has both an expansive vision for the city’s next chapters and a proven record of ethical leadership." The Globe endorsement came just as early voting kicked off across the city.
Monday night's debate will be co-hosted by WBUR, WCVB Channel 5, the Boston Globe and UMass Boston's McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. It will be moderated by WCVB anchor and On The Record host Ed Harding. Panelists include WBUR’s Tiziana Dearing, WCVB On The Record host Janet Wu, and The Boston Globe’s Adrian Walker.
WBUR will carry the it live at 7 p.m. on air and online.