Boston, Cincinnati Elect First Asian-American Mayors

Bruce Harrell is closing in on a win in Seattle
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 4, 2021 3:59 AM CDT
2 Major Cities Elect First Asian American Mayors
Bruce Harrell, who is running against Lorena Gonzalez in the race for mayor of Seattle, speaks to supporters as his wife, Joanne Harrell, right, applauds, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Asian Americans will serve as mayor in Boston and Cincinnati for the first time in both cities’ histories, signaling political progress for a population that has struggled for almost two years with a rise in anti-Asian hate. Boston voters tapped City Councilor Michelle Wu, 36, on Tuesday to serve in the city’s top political office. In Cincinnati, Aftab Pureval, 39, easily defeated former Democratic Congressman David Mann, the AP reports. "Cincinnati is a place where no matter what you look like, where you're from, or how much money you have, if you come here and work hard you can achieve your dreams," Pureval, the son of a Tibetan mother and Indian father, told a large gathering of supporters.

Wu, Boston's first Asian American city councilor, beat fellow city councilor Annissa Essaibi George. Wu, who is Taiwanese American, was the favorite especially after getting a coveted endorsement from acting mayor Kim Janey, who was elevated to the post when the former mayor resigned. Janey was the city’s first Black and first female mayor. In Seattle, Bruce Harrell, who is second-generation Japanese American and Black, is ahead of current City Council President M. Lorena González. If he wins, the 63-year-old—who briefly served as acting mayor in 2017—will be the first Asian American elected mayor of the city.

In another notable win Tuesday, Dearborn, Michigan, elected state lawmaker Abdullah Hammoud as the city’s first Arab-American mayor. A final unofficial vote count showed him in an insurmountable lead ahead of Gary Woronchak, a former state representative. Dearborn, a city of over 100,000, has one of the largest Arab-American populations in the nation. (More mayor stories.)

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