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Milestone wins for Asian Americans: Wu, Pureval claim mayoral wins in Boston, Cincinnati

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu
Posted at 7:28 AM, Nov 03, 2021

The cities of Boston and Cincinnati have elected their first Asian American mayor, and Seattle could soon join them.

Boston's next mayor will be Michelle Wu. On Tuesday, the city's first Asian American city councilor beat Annissa Essaibi George, who is Arab Polish American.

Wu's parents immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan. She grew up in Chicago and moved to Boston when she attended Harvard for undergrad and law school.

Not only is Wu the first nonwhite mayor elected in Boston's history, but she is also the first woman to win a mayoral race.

"One of my sons asked me the other night if boys can be elected mayor of Boston," Wu told supporters, according to The Associated Press. "They have been, and they will again someday, but not tonight."

In Cincinnati, Aftab Pureval, who is of Tibetan and Indian descent, defeated David Mann, who is white. Pureval was an attorney for Procter & Gamble before running in and winning a local clerk of courts election in 2016, becoming the first Democrat in over a century to hold the position. He later lost in a Congressional race against Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in 2018.

"Tonight, we made history in Cincinnati," Pureval said on Tuesday night.

In Seattle, Bruce Harrell, who is Black and Japanese American, was ahead of City Council President M. Lorena González.

These candidacies signal just how large the Asian American and Pacific Islander electorate has multiplied with more feeling empowered to be a voice in the political fray.