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Shift In Demographics Could Impact Boston Mayoral Race

BOSTON (CBS) - With two female candidates of color facing off for the mayor of Boston, political experts say the dynamics that normally define Boston elections may shift.

"We are now a majority, minority city. What's changed even more potentially is who turns out," said Erin O'Brien, Associate Professor of Political Science at UMass Boston.

Traditionally, largely white, middle-class areas of the city have decided the mayor's race. O'Brien says that could change this race because of a shift in city demographics, namely, the number of young people who now live in Boston.

"Boston is a young city. One in three are under 35. Young people are really the base of Michelle Wu's movement. She draws disproportionately from young people. She draws from young people across racial and ethnic lines," O'Brien said.

The contest between Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi-George has come to symbolize old Boston politics versus new.

Go to Charlestown, a predominantly white community, and it is not difficult to find Essaibi-George supporters like Andrew Peterson, who said he voted for her because of her stance on schools.

"I've been at a bunch of meetings. I've read a ton about both of them. I feel like she is more committed to the exam schools and figuring out the best way going forward," Peterson said.

While in Jamaica Plain, there is more obvious support for Wu's progressive platform.

"Many of the progressive candidates are talking about real substantive change," said Joe Shortsleeve, who voted for Wu.

How Boston's shifting demographic landscape impacts this election remains to be seen until the polls close at 8pm.

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