On a morning conference call, E-Dubs & Barney Frank tried to convince the media to cover something of substance. Then Scotto said something goofy that lent itself well to jokes, so the Democrats spent all day making jokes about it, and the media covered that.
I now have the final list of candidates who have qualified for the ballot in this year's Massachusetts state legislative races (barring wthdrawals or challenges). Leaving the house of representatives for later, and with the caveat of potential write-in campaigns, I'll quickly run through the candidates in the 40 senate districts.
The Presidential circus rarely comes to Massachusetts, so it was a nice little distraction to see it do so today. The Obama campaign wants to get a little messaging out of criticizing Romney's gubernatorial record, so this morning they posted a video of Massachusetts elected officials bemoaning the Romney years, and then held a presser in front of the Massachusetts state house with David Axelrod of the national campaign.
"I am disappointed," Marisa DeFranco tells me, that Governor Deval Patrick chose to endorse Elizabeth Warren in the US Senate race, just two days before the Democratic State Convention at which DeFranco needs 15 percent of the delegate votes to qualify for the primary ballot.
Asked whether she thinks Patrick's endorsement was timed to sway delegates from voting for her this weekend, DeFranco said "I'm going to let other people read the tea leaves on that."
Brian McGrory has an odd column today, in which he proclaims the Elizabeth Warren heritage mess a legitimate campaign issue calling into question her "integrity, credibility, and authenticity," and thus her fitness for high office.
I was interested to read his argument, because I've been trying to pose this question of late, and want to open it up now for public response: What about this Cherokee heritage story should dissuade voters from giving Warren their vote? (Not whether it will, which is a political analysis question, but whether it should.
With one week to complete the ballot-qualification process, a total of 54 candidates had secured ballot positions in the 40 state senate districts as of yesterday afternoon. That includes 30 incumbents; another 7 incumbents who are running for re-election (as far as I know) have not yet gotten around to turning in their signatures: Robert Hedlund, Brian Joyce, Michael Knapik, Mark Montigny, Therese Murray, Bruce Tarr, and James Timilty.
Just a little update for the obsessively interested Massachusetts political junkies: these are the first challengers for state senate seats to have officially qualified for the ballot. This means getting signatures verified and filed, and opening a campaign account, and so on. (I'm not listing incumbents; assume they qualify unless I write a post screaming that someone failed to qualify.
The big story in today's primaries will be the Republican Senate race in Indiana, where long-time Senator Dick Lugar is expected to lose his primary to state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. The second biggest story is the North Carolina referendum to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage -- and, in fact, all domestic unions other than heterosexual marriage -- which is expected to pass.
--Whether Elizabeth Warren told people she was part Cherokee. I would say that, given how the Cherokee ended up in Oklahoma (google "Trail of Tears"), it's perfectly legitimate for a family to pass along that portion of their heritage. I'm not saying this whole episode makes me think any better of Warren, but I'm not sure what these great questions are that Scott Brown thinks she needs to be answering about it.
Scouring the great Commonwealth for potentially competitive state senate contests, I find little to get my juices flowing. Nevertheless, in the spirit of desperately trying to gin up excitement, I am ranking the Top 5 districts most likely to change party hands in this year's elections.
All are currently Democratic-held seats; Republicans are just about out of seats to lose.
Taking two together; "BStarr" asks:
Is Stephen Lynch a lock in the new 8th?
...and "Ryan H." asks:
Does [Sam] Sutter have a chance against [incumbent Bill] Keating?
Yes, Lynch looks like he'll cruise to re-election without working up much of a sweat. And while I think Sutter is a strong candidate worth watching, I think he really needed a Cape candidate in the primary, whether state rep O'Leary or someone else, to take votes away from Keating in the new 9th. Tough to see how Sutter wins.
With Richard Tisei, the Republicans have a good candidate to take on potentially vulnerable Democratic incumbent Congressman John Tierney in the North Shore district. I think Tierney will win, but it's a race worth watching for sure.
One of Tisei's strengths is that he's not a mean-spirited, carpet-bombing asshole type of Republican.
In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- in print tomorrow, online now -- I write that US Senator Scott Brown will be very difficult to beat this November.
Recent polls have shown him lead Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, which seemed to come as a shock to a lot of Massachusetts Democrats and Washington pundits.
Ohio Republican Congresswoman Jean Schmidt lost her primary yesterday, which seems like a good excuse for me to take a first look at how this election cycle is shaping up for women Republicans in the US House of Representatives -- following up on my Senate overview last week.
As my regular readers know, I was quite adamant that the much-touted "Year of the GOP Woman" in 2010 was a failure.
A book about middle-class bankruptcy, being published next week, includes a chapter co-authored by US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. Her contribution, interpreting newly available data, argues that bankruptcy is primarily, and increasingly, a middle-class phenomenon in America -- and that the traditional steps to achieving middle-class status are the very same things contributing to the problem.