This past week was a big week in politics here in Boston.
1. Steve Lynch will not run for Mayor.
Leading up to this past week, many speculated that 8th Congressional District U.S. Representative Stephen Lynch was using the U.S. Senate race to raise his profile so he could run for Boston Mayor. Lynch's chances were ruined by losing his hometown of Boston by a margin of 31,000 plus votes to Lynch's 28,000 plus votes.
Essentially, Markey "Al Gored" Stephen Lynch. To understand this, Al Gore lost his home state of Tennessee to George W. Bush in 2000 and that was the real reason why Gore lost the presidency not because of Florida. For Lynch to have won the U.S. Senate Democratic Primary, he needed to run up the vote against Markey in Boston and this just did not happen.
2. Dewey beats Truman.
The 1st Suffolk Senate race was an unbelievable contest. My parish, St. Ann's, falls right inside this state Senate district. Three great candidates fought tooth and nail to replace Jack Hart who left his seat for a high paying job at a law firm.
On April 30th, it seemed from about 12PM to 1PM, Neponset was battleground zero for all three state Senate campaigns. For instance at St. Ann's Church where voters from Ward 16 precincts 7 and 10 vote, (during this hour alone) Maureen Dahill and her husband stood greeting voters near the street on Neponset Avenue while Nick Collin's identitical twin brother Andrew greeted voters near the entrance way of the building where the voting booths were. About fifteen minutes later, Linda Dorcena Forry was in Adams Village next to the corner of Minot Street and Adams Street in front of Blaise's restaurant shaking hands.
Both Collins and Dorcena Forry had strong Election Day organizations. In Dorchester, many members of District 3 City Councilor Frank Baker's organization were marking the polls for Collins. James Baker (Frank's older brother and Campaign Manager) was directly in control for marshalling forces for Collins in District 3.
In fact, James' brother in law Kevin was marking the Adams Street Library where those who live in Ward 16, Precinct 8 vote. At the National Guard Armory on Victory Road where Ward 16, Precinct 2 votes, Joe Baker marked the poll during the day.
On the other hand, while polls were being marked by Collin's team, Dorcena Forry had troops going house to house to pull voters out and remind them to vote. Here’s an example. When I woke up that morning on April 30th, Dorcena Forry's troops had been out during the middle of the night hanging GOTV campaign door hangers on those doors where her campaign had identified Forry supporters.
Then in the early afternoon, Dorcena Forry's troops were again out going door to door. Former City Council Candidate and Collin's political rival Craig Galvin was in Pope's Hill going door to door on behalf of Dorcena Forry in Ward 16, precincts 5 and 7. Galvin and Collin's feud goes back to their battle to represent the 1st Suffolk Senate District in the Democratic State Committee as the district's representative.
Later that night as the election results trickled in, major media outlets including the Associated Press and the Boston Globe called the election early for Collins in a landslide. Even I thought these results would hold. However, this was a clear example in politics where "Dewey definitely did not beat Truman."
At first, when the results came in they were all from the stronghold of Collin's vote which was from South Boston running south all along the territory east of Dorchester Avenue until you reach the Dorchester Avenue and Adams Street intersection. Once you come to the intersection, Collins stronghold then follows all precincts east of Adams Street all the way down the eastern coast of Dorchester with Collins winning Ward 16 (the biggest Ward in the District or 20% of the vote). All the territory west of Dorchester Avenue and then from the Dorchester Ave/Adams Street intersection, all territory west of Adams Street went for Dorcena Forry. The votes from Dorcena Forry's stronghold weren't reported until later.
3. Mayoral Campaigns in overdrive.
Yard signs are already popping up across Boston. In West Roxbury and Roslindale, Connolly signs are thick and popping up fast. Also, Connolly signs have been popping up heading towards the eastern side of Boston. For instance, Connolly has a 4’X8’ sign at the Massachusetts Avenue/Columbia Road intersection. Connolly forces are also seen in Ward 16, Precinct 9 where some of his signs are popping up on back streets and major roads like Ashmont Street. Additionally, many Connolly bumper stickers have been seen on cars so far. In fact, Connolly's early start has probably helped him get out to a head start. He raised $160K in April bringing his total money raised to $500K. This is a lot of money.
Marty Walsh has a very strong organization and if he wins, it is because he is the most organized. Yesterday, Walsh had an event at The Strand Theatre in Uphams corner where about a thousand supporters came out for him. I don't see many Walsh yard signs, yet Walsh definitely has distributed a ton of bumper stickers so far. I did see a few Walsh signs in South Boston, but I also saw a Dan Conley sign there as well.
While Connolly raised $160K and Walsh raised another $100K himself in April, Dan Conley seems to be getting out to a slow start. Conley starts out with $800K in his campaign account, but he only raised $35K in April. It makes me believe that although he'll have the money to compete with TV commercials and direct mail in August and September, is there really enthusiasm behind Conley being elected Mayor? It is very early still to tell.
On the other hand, Michael Ross is a prolific fundraiser and no matter what his personal flaws may be, he's a talented politician and public servant. Ross has raised $120K in April. This brings Ross to over $300K so far. Can Michael Ross win? Maybe. However, I think Ross should have sat this race out and focused on the possibility of an open 7th Congressional seat if Capuano runs for Governor in 2014. However, Ross's base is geographically limited and he is unknown in most parts of Boston. He has to hope that his voting base and can Beacon Hill/Back Bay/Mission Hill deliver a big vote for Ross in September to put him into the finals and this is unclear.
Michael Ross reminds me of Larry DiCara. Both were talented City Councilors who both served as City Council President. Both could raise a lot of money. Both looked to run for higher office (Ross withdrew from the election to fill Barney Frank's congressional seat when Kennedy entered the race, and DiCara ran unsuccessfully for Secretary of State and State Treasurer in the 1970s). Yet because the field is so deep, I expect Ross like DiCara to finish in the distance behind his competitors. In 1983, Larry DiCara finished a distant 4th place in the Mayoral Preliminary with 15K votes behind Mel King who finished with 45K votes, Ray Flynn with about 45K votes, and David Finnegan with about 40K votes.
Felix Arroyo’s grassroots forces were out on Election Day like his competitors collecting signatures. Arroyo does have a strong grassroots organization and because there are so many candidates running, Arroyo should make the finals because he will pull a large vote out of Jamaica Plain. Yet his competitors are already campaigning hard. Rob Consalvo has signs up in Hyde Park already and his signs marked many polling locations on April 30th. Consalvo and Walsh yard signs made up the majority of Mayoral Candidates who had signs up outside of the polling areas this day. Consalvo also collected 4000 sigs like Walsh. Conley and Connolly collected over 3000 signatures as well. Arroyo only raised 35K last month compared to Consalvo’s 60K. I know Arroyo said he’ll raise enough to be competitive and enough to win, but if he only has 200K by August and his competitors have four to five times as much money, then you can forget about Arroyo. Instead it might become a three man race between Connolly, Walsh, and Conley.
These are just my thoughts. ..