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Will Andrea Campbell run for mayor? She expects to make that call likely within a week

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 9/18/2020 Danny McDonald
Andrea Campbell © Keith Bedford Andrea Campbell

Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell expects to make a decision about a 2021 mayoral run likely within the next week, she said on Friday.

Speaking on GBH’s “Boston Public Radio” on Friday, Campbell, whose council district is largely comprised of Dorchester and Mattapan, said, “I’m seriously considering it.”

“If, you know, I decide to do this, it would be because I feel this moment demands a different type of leadership to finally eradicate systemic racism and the inequities we see across the city of Boston and to have a clear focus on solving generational inequity in the city of Boston,” she said.

She added that she is continuing to have conversations with family and constituents about a potential mayoral run and that she is praying about the decision. If she does jump into the mayoral contest, it would be because she feels “called to do it,” she said.

Campbell said it was important that leadership reflect the city’s demographics. More than half the city’s population is comprised of people of color, but Boston has never had a mayor who is not a white man. Campbell was first elected to the council in 2015, when she defeated longtime incumbent Charles C. Yancey. At the start of her second term, she became the first Black woman to serve as City Council president.

Earlier this week, Councilor Michelle Wu announced her mayoral run. The incumbent, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, has yet to publicly say whether he will seek a third term. Campbell has long been rumored to be considering a run for mayor.

A recent GBH poll found that found 46 percent of respondents were most likely to support a Walsh bid for reelection, 23 percent were most likely to support Wu, and 4 percent were most likely to support Campbell. According to state records, Campbell’s campaign had $285,000 cash on hand at the end of August, compared to $5.5 million in Walsh’s campaign coffers and $346,000 in Wu’s.

Campbell, a 38-year-old attorney and mother of two sons, aged three and nine months, grew up in Roxbury and the South End, graduating from Boston Latin School before moving on to Princeton and UCLA Law School. Now in her third term on the council, she has been a consistent voice calling out racial disparities in Boston, and a steadfast proponent of police reform, spearheading a recent push to establish a civilian review board that would have real teeth in independent probes of Boston police misconduct.

In March, Campbell filed a request with the city demanding data the Boston Police Department had not made available to the public since 2017 about how and where officers stop, search, and record observations of city residents.

She has publicly split with Walsh on various issues in recent months amid a nationwide reckoning on race, calling the mayor’s June announcement that he would reallocate a portion of the police budget “not good enough.” In a contentious vote over the mayor’s operating budget proposal in July, Campbell was among those who thought the plan did not do enough to fight economic and racial inequalities and help communities of color. Campbell voted against the budget but it passed, 8-5.

“Gradual will no longer do,” she said at the time.

Earlier in the year, she called upon Boston school officials to make public a host of data that would expose the depth of the digital divide that exists among students in their homes and to reveal what steps the school system is taking to ensure all students have the opportunity to learn during the COVID-19 school closure.

On Friday, she said she felt called to public service “out of pain and suffering” after the loss of her twin brother, Andre, who died at 29, while in the custody of the state’s Department of Correction awaiting trial on home invasion and other charges. Years before his death, Campbell has said in the past, he had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called scleroderma, and his health declined precipitously over two years in custody, despite her advocacy for more attentive care.

Previous Globe coverage was used in this report.

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