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Keller: Kim Janey Has Huge Advantage In Boston Mayor's Race

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WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller says Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey has a huge edge over the other 5 candidates in the field.

Video Transcript

- Ding. Boston mayor Kim Janey announced that she wants that job for good. She officially threw her hat into the mayoral race and is now competing against six other candidates. And as WBZ political analyst Jon Keller shows us tonight, she may have a big advantage going into November.

KIM JANEY: I also stand on the shoulders of so many others.

JON KELLER: Boston's first Black mayor paying homage to Black leaders who paved the way. But when it comes to her strategy for winning a full term--

- Our time has come.

JON KELLER: --the Janey campaign is already a tribute to the last acting mayor to make that jump, the late Tom Menino. He took over from Ray Flynn in July 1993 and parlayed the job into a runaway victory that fall. How did he do it?

KIM JANEY: I am setting a goal of 5,000 summer jobs for Boston teens.

JON KELLER: By focusing on immediate benefits for Boston residents, as Janey is here. Back then, Menino picked fights with unpopular institutions like Massport. Today, Janey can focus on a far more common enemy.

KIM JANEY: As mayor, I am focused first and foremost on leading the city's efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

JON KELLER: With financial help on the way from the feds, the stage is set for Janey to make plenty of positive news, leaving Michelle Wu, Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi George, Jon Santiago, and John Barros to scramble for leftover attention.

KIM JANEY: Now I need to get to work.

JON KELLER: Janey might prefer to float above the campaign fray, but it won't be long before her competitors find things to complain about. This is Boston, after all. Menino didn't take over until July of '93, leaving less time for things to go wrong before election day.

But right now, Kim Chaney is surfing a wave of good feeling over what she represents. If she can generate the same over how she handles the job, unseating her will be a very tough challenge.

- All right, Jon, so being out in front of the cameras each and every day obviously a big advantage, but what sort of obstacles will Janey likely face?

JON KELLER: Well, David, you know Murphy's law, right? Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. A street protest that goes bad, a legal dispute over an emotional charged topic like the one that's going on right now in federal district court about Boston Latin School admissions criteria. And COVID-- we've seen how, when mayors or other public officials delay or go ahead with rolling back or forging ahead with a COVID restriction, it's highly controversial.

Just to add those to the list of possibilities here, but I'll tell you what. It's important because the buck stops with the mayor in this city, and Kim Janey is going to have to prove she's ready to take that heat and handle it well. So far, so good. We've got a long way to go, David.

- All right, and we will be watching very closely. Jon Keller, thank you so much for your insight.