Andrea Campbell Beats Charles Yancey on an Election Night for New Boston

The challenger's City Council victory headlined a strong night for young female candidates against an older generation of politicians.


Photo by Erick Trickey

A tall man stood in the middle of Andrea Campbell’s victory party at Dorchester’s Blarney Stone pub. Tears streaked down his face.

“She’s my little sister,” said Alvin Campbell, 35. “This community’s got what they need.”

Andrea Campbell, 33, had just won Boston City Council’s most dramatic race of the night. She ousted incumbent Charles Yancey, 66, in Mattapan and Dorchester’s District 4. Yancey was first elected to council in 1983, when Campbell was a year old. Her life story of success despite family hardship inspired voters of several generations.

“Street violence, incarceration, drug abuse—she’s been around it, she’s seen it,” Alvin Campbell said. “It’s really a testament that people want better.”

Campbell’s victory headlines a strong night for young female candidates in Boston and defeats and setbacks for an older generation of politicians. In the at-large council race, challenger Annissa Essaibi-George edged out veteran councilor Stephen Murphy. Ayanna Pressley and Michelle Wu won the most votes, with Michael Flaherty coming in third. Council president Bill Linehan, running unopposed in his district, barely beat a none-of-the-above protest in the form of blank ballots and write-in votes.

Campbell walked into the Blarney Stone at 9:05 p.m. to affectionate cheers. Word of her victory had preceded her. She spent a good 20 minutes hugging her way through the packed tavern. The crowd was a mix of black and white, and it skewed young and female, reflecting much of the volunteer army of 200-plus that aided her victory. “A woman’s place is in the House and Senate,” read one woman’s T-shirt.

The councilor-elect, a petite 5-foot-5, stood on a booth seat so the whole crowd could see her. Campbell thanked her supporters, voters, unions, Attorney General Maura Healey (who’d endorsed her), and Yancey, for his 32 years on council.

“But I think the results tonight show we’re not focused on the past—we’re looking to the future,” Campbell said. “If this race says anything, I hope it inspires young people across Boston to step into the places they want to step into and serve the communities they want to serve. Because if you take a leap of faith, this is what shows up. Every demographic you could possibly imagine is represented in this room.”