Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's Voting Day in Massachusetts

Yes, I will cast one, but I don't know for whom yet. 

SeeGomez, Markey gear up for final push

Also see: Special Election Campaign Stop

Massachusetts Democrats Drifting Toward Gomez
Markey Responding Meekly to Gomez Challenge
Sunday Globe Specials: Gomez Gaining on Markey
Sunday Globe Special: Gomez Closing the Gap on Markey 

“The Republicans are coming.” 

Yup, Markey is losing momentum!

"Gabriel Gomez, Edward Markey going all out; Rivals range wide before Senate election tomorrow" by Joshua Miller and Michael Levenson |  Globe Staff, June 24, 2013

LOWELL — Tuesday, when sunny weather and scorching temperatures may make an already distracted electorate even less inclined to cast a ballot.....

Democrat Edward J. Markey faced almost no tough elections representing a safely Democratic US House district for more than 36 years, often seemed stiff and robotic in the early days. But over the months, Markey settled into his role as campaigner, becoming more comfortable on the trail.

You saw why at the campaign stop, right?

On Sunday, he exhibited none of his previous awkwardness. The Malden Democrat gamely gave pep talks to volunteers, schmoozed with voters, and gave fist bumps to little kids. He appeared energetic and to be enjoying the final days of his electoral effort.

Republican Gabriel E. Gomez too has settled into his role as a candidate. In the early days of his campaign his lack of experience running for office was obvious. His hands shook as he spoke to reporters and he was known to spend an entire campaign stop talking to just a few voters. That nervousness has morphed over the months into a more relaxed sense of confidence. Campaigning in Western Massachusetts on Sunday, he seemed to have taken to the rhythm of the trail....

Gomez rolled from the Western part of the state toward the east. Stops included a Latin bakery in Chicopee; Sal’s, a veteran-owned bakery in Springfield; a family-style restaurant in the conservative Springfield suburb of Agawam; and a rally in Boston’s North End with Mike Milbury, a former player and coach for the Bruins.... 

He doesn't care about global warming.

At the Fifties Diner in Chicopee, Gomez predicted victory on Tuesday, but sounded a valedictory note....


Related: "With turnout expected to be low on Tuesday candidates were trying to gin up enthusiasm, but Saturday’s events were hardly packed."

"Political chaos seen as cause of voter fatigue; Low turnout is forecast for Tuesday’s Senate election" by Frank Phillips |  Globe Staff, June 24, 2013

Almost immediately, the political world will pivot to the next gubernatorial campaign and this fall’s mayoral free-for-all in Boston, both of which have been overshadowed by the Senate battle.

In addition, the winner of Tuesday’s balloting for the Senate must turn around and begin running for reelection next year when the term John F. Kerry was elected to ends.

Yup, we get to do it all over again as soon as it's done.

And a victory by Representative Edward J. Markey on Tuesday over Republican newcomer Gabriel Gomez would set off yet another race to fill Markey’s congressional seat....

Order has given way to chaos in the Massachusetts political world....

Imagine what will happen when Gomez wins.

In a state where incumbency has reigned, the senior US senator — Elizabeth Warren — has been in office just six months....

The jammed-up political campaigns are in part created by the 2004 law when Democrats in the Legislature, seeking to deny Republican Governor Mitt Romney the power to fill a vacancy if Kerry won the presidency, created a special election system....

Related: Sunday Globe Specials: Globe Asks Why Bother Voting? 

I'd rather have them than not -- even as the antidemocratic paper tries to convince us otherwise, yawn!


Also seeAre you paying attention to Markey-Gomez race?

"Many tuning race out in town Gomez must win; Places like Braintree are key to GOP hopes" by Michael Levenson |  Globe Staff, June 22, 2013

BRAINTREE — Conservative-leaning towns like this one swept Scott Brown to victory in 2010 as his insurgent candidacy became the hot topic in pizza parlors and delis. But walk into Nanci’s Barber Shop this week, and the chatter is not about the current Senate candidates, or even about politics at all.

“You’ve got a lot of Bruins and Whitey Bulger; people seem to be talking about that a lot the last two weeks,” said Joanne Bailey Hanna, who cuts hair at Nanci’s and was wearing a Bruins shirt. “I couldn’t even right now tell you when the election is.”

Related: Bulger Trial Testimony 

And you won't have the Bruins to talk about anymore.

It is that lack of passion for the special election on Tuesday that could spell trouble for Republican Gabriel E. Gomez, who will need the kind of runaway enthusiasm that Brown generated in towns like Braintree if he hopes to topple the Democratic frontrunner, US Representative Edward J. Markey.

A middle-class suburb of 36,000 south of Boston, Braintree has the kind of independent voters and conservative Democrats who traditionally help Massachusetts Republicans overcome liberal turnout in cities like Boston and Cambridge....

Many residents moved here decades ago after fleeing tougher neighborhoods in Boston, and although they may have grown up revering the party of John F. Kennedy, they now have more in common with Republicans on fiscal and social issues....

In May, Gomez held an event around the dining room table of a family whose four members voted for US Representative Stephen F. Lynch in the Democratic primary, in hope of persuading them to support him June 25. He ran in two road races in town and visited a pair of local restaurants. Those stops have won him some fans.

Me, too. I may write in Lynch, or I may vote for Jack Robinson if he is on the ballot. Or I may hold my nose and vote for Markey, but I will definitely not be voting for Gomez.

“I’m definitely voting for Gomez; he’s a cutie,” said Kristin Son, owner of Kristin’s cafe. “Want to see a picture of me with him?” Son said, pulling an iPhone from her pocket.

But that kind of buzz can be hard to find in town. Many blame the summertime lull, when families are focused on cookouts and camp, not special elections. There is also lingering weariness from the presidential election in November.

“I am kind of tired of politics,” said Hanna, 55, the barber at Nanci’s. “With the presidential election, it was nonstop ads. It was like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t stand it anymore.’ ”

That was not the reaction when Brown walked into Nanci’s during last year’s Senate race. Braintree’s mayor, a Democrat, escorted him into the shop. Customers who had already had their hair cut were waiting to shake his hand. The barbers squeezed in next to him for photos, one of which still hangs in the office.

“It was very exciting,” said Laurie Seckinger, a barber at Nanci’s.

Brown ended up beating Democrat Elizabeth Warren by 14 percentage points in Braintree last year, a wide margin but nothing like 2010, when he trounced Democrat Martha Coakley by 25 percentage points in the town....

Markey, too, seems to be an afterthought for many.

He campaigned once in Braintree, shaking hands at the Olympian Diner in May....

“Markey isn’t getting them excited,” said David Richmond, a co-owner of Richmond Hardware in Braintree, which Brown and several other candidates have visited over the years. “He’s been in Congress forever and is running a very cautious campaign, almost not to lose.”

But Gomez seems too far to the right on social issues, Richmond said. So who is he voting for? Richmond would not say, but offered this: “I’m not excited about my choice.”

And you can do it again next year.


"Senate candidates make one last pitch for votes; Gomez-Markey Senate race may draw low turnout" by Michael Levenson and Joshua Miller |  Globe Staff, June 25, 2013

QUINCY —  Turnout in a special election is typically lower than in a general election. But this race has seen particularly paltry interest as voters have been distracted by news of the Boston Bruins playing in the Stanley Cup Final, and by the unusual timing of the election, the swoon of late June, when people are not accustomed to focusing on elections.

Temperatures were forecast to hit the mid-90s again Tuesday, which could also discourage many voters from making a trip to the polls.


"The US Senate special election, the start of which was stunted by the heavy February snowfall, will finish Tuesday in early summer heat."

Gee, all of a sudden it's heated up!

Most analysts agree that for Gomez to overcome Markey’s built-in advantage with the large number of registered Democrats in Massachusetts, he will need about 60 percent of the independent vote, as well as a sizable number of more conservative, blue-collar Democrats.

The Suffolk poll released Monday indicated that Gomez is leading Markey among independents, but by just 53 percent to 40 percent, not the margin analysts say he needs.


In the final Suffolk poll before his 2010 victory over Coakley, Brown had a 65 percent to 30 percent edge among independents.

Gomez has also sought to expand his appeal to traditional Democratic constituencies, particularly Latinos....

Except the Spanish paper endorsed Markey.



"Our blood sport is now just sports. There are a host of theories why. The Marathon bombings distracted us. Special elections are confusing. The weather has been weird. Politics itself has lost its luster. It’s conceivable that this election could have been about another source of voter discontent — the series of scandals (political manipulation by the IRS, privacy and the NSA, criminal investigations of reporters) that speak to a worrying abuse of government power. But in retrospect, the right candidate for this election might well have been Dan Winslow....

RelatedWinslow's a Winner!

No, he finished a distant third for obvious reasons.


UPDATE: Made it Markey. He better protect privacy and keep an eye on the drones!


"Edward Markey keeps party’s hold on Senate seat; House veteran sails past GOP’s Gomez in special election" by Michael Levenson and Frank Phillips |  Globe Staff, June 26, 2013

He sailed past? Then why did the Globe make it sound as if Gomez won?

Democrat Edward J. Markey, a 37-year veteran of the US House, cruised to victory Tuesday over Republican newcomer Gabriel E. Gomez in the US Senate special election....

Markey’s victory, while solid, fell short of the crushing blow that Democrats hoped he would deal to Gomez and that would help him avoid drawing a GOP opponent in next year’s general election, when he must run for a full, six-year term.

Republicans will also be able to point to the race as evidence that Democrats, unable to pull off a wider victory in a party stronghold like Massachusetts, are in a weak position in next year’s congressional races to defend their majority in the US Senate.

It's true. The amount of defended seats and retirements almost guarantee a Republican Senate next time (as well as keeping the House). It's the Clinton presidency all over again.

Gomez can now present himself as a credible future candidate for statewide office. With his business background, moderate social views, and Latino heritage, he could still argue that he is a fresh face for a party that wants to broaden its appeal. Despite the loss, the National Republican Senatorial Committee openly encouraged Gomez Tuesday night to run against Markey again in 2014.

The lackluster race, which began when Kerry vacated his Senate seat to become secretary of state in early February, was an anomaly for Massachusetts, which has a rich history of spirited Senate campaigns with big, clashing personalities and sharp arguments about issues.

When Gomez, a little-known private equity investor, scored a surprising victory in the three-way GOP primary in April, many in the political world saw the makings of another full-throttled Senate battle like the Scott Brown-Martha Coakley contest of 2010.

As with that campaign, this one pitted a fresh face with a compelling personal story and a military background against a cautious Democratic insider. But a major showdown never materialized.

Markey focused on lowering the profile of the race, hoping to cobble together a coalition of liberal activists who pay attention to politics even when the broader electorate tunes it out. That insider strategy was designed to deny Gomez a chance to catch fire. Often, Markey would hold only a handful of public events each week.

Gomez, for his part, struggled to articulate his positions on several issues, including abortion and insurance coverage for contraception. In addition, he never benefited from the kind of deep voter discontent that propelled Brown into the Senate.

That year, the Tea Party movement was ascendant, the country was facing economic woes, and many were angry over President Obama’s health care bill. This year, voters seemed uninterested in the third Senate race in just over three years. Many said they were tired of politics and more consumed with news about the Boston Marathon bombings and the Boston Bruins. Temperatures in the 90s on election day added another hurdle for people getting to the polls.

Related: Turnout even lower than anticipated for Senate election

Busy where I was when I went.

Markey, first elected to the House in 1976, came into the contest as the establishment favorite, endorsed by Kerry, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In the primary, he was never seriously challenged, easily defeating his colleague, US Representative Stephen F. Lynch.

Lynch would have been better. I working man who was the only one to dissent from the recent Syria escalation and who has doubts about Afghanistan.

In the general election, he ran on two main issues, his support for legalized abortion and an assault weapons ban, even though polls have shown that voters are most concerned about jobs and the economy. He used the issues of gun control and abortion to define and damage Gomez in a fusillade of negative ads.

It's okay when Democrats do it. Not exactly at the top on my issues (economy and wealth inequality is) list, but that what the agenda-pushers made it about.

Markey also tapped heavily into the party’s national and local fund-raising networks to raise and spend more money than Gomez, who did not draw strong support from national GOP donors.

Gomez tried to paint Markey as an out-of-touch creature of Washington and a lock step partisan who would only deepen the dysfunction in Congress.

Well, he is, but that place is beyond saving. It's not dysfunctional when it comes to war budgets, aid to Israel, spy programs, and anything big business wants. At a certain point one must wonder if the NSA spying on everything -- including politicians -- has compromised the entire process. If you don't advance the agenda and block the other things, they will destroy you. Already alleged to have gotten Roberts to back Obamacare in an odd, last-minute reversal.

He made term limits a centerpiece of his campaign and promised to reach across party lines to overhaul the immigration and tax systems.

That's why he didn't catch fire. They both say the same things or veer off into less relevant topics that stand far less chance of action in any event.

But his promise to bring a fresh perspective to Congress never gained traction, perhaps because Massachusetts has a tradition of long-serving senators like Edward M. Kennedy, who held his Senate seat for 47 years, and Kerry, who was in the Senate for 28 years.

Don't stereotype me.

Gomez also faced a formidable Democratic political operation. Party leaders had vowed never to be beaten again after the humiliating defeat in January 2010 when Brown shocked the political world by winning Kennedy’s seat. The same field operation that avenged that loss by electing Elizabeth Warren over Brown last year was a key in Markey’s victory. The state Republicans have never been able to match the Democrats’ organizational muscle.

Markey’s victory sets off a scramble to fill the remainder of his House term....

That election is expected to be scheduled for the fall.

And then it will be right back to the campaign for the 2014 election.


Also seeEdward Markey grinds it out

Campaign behind him, Markey is well-positioned to deliver

I wonder if he will have to wait to get an office. 

And I was right all along. Gomez came from 17 down to lose by 10.