Primary Election Day is almost upon us! Where does the time go?
First and foremost, folks, remember that the primary election this year is two weeks earlier than normal and on a Thursday — September 6, to be precise. Get out and vote! Voting gets things done; whining on news website comments sections about how bad the country is does not.
The primary ballot is not terribly busy but there are a few key races to consider, starting with two contests for the Ninth Congressional District. On the GOP side we have Christopher Sheldon of Plymouth and Adam G. Chaprales of Sandwich vying for the party nomination.
In terms of positions on the major issues, these men are largely interchangeable and their respective experiences in public service I would call comparable, so this might be a very close race.
On the Democratic side, I am not anticipating good news for C. Samuel Sutter, the Bristol County DA challenging Congressman William R. Keating (D). Mr. Sutter’s campaign strategy has been to aggressively criticize Rep. Keating rather than sell his own qualities, which is never a good sign.
Add to that the fact Mr. Sutter has issues he wants to address, but in most cases no game plans for doing so — and has made addressing traffic at the bridges one of his three big issues. Having been stuck at the bridges myself on many an occasion I appreciate the sentiment, but really: bigger fish to fry.
More locally we have a primary contest for State Representative of the Second Barnstable District between incumbent Demetrius J. Atsalis (D – Barnstable) and Brian R. Mannal, or as I’m calling it, The Race of Lost Opportunity.
See, Rep. Atsalis I consider one of the more vulnerable incumbents in the region. I think a very solid challenger could defeat him, but no such challenger has come along in several years and Mr. Mannal, in my opinion, has failed to buck the trend.
As a fellow Democrat, Mr. Mannal needed to decisively illustrate where Rep. Atsalis has failed as a legislator on critical issues and show voters how he would be markedly different. On his campaign website, Mr. Mannal compares and contrasts himself with the incumbent on three issues of significance: the increase in the sales tax, an expedited approval process for wind turbines, and whether to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
The other three topics he mentions are rather trivial: proposals on a term length increase, posting roll call votes on the state website, and a campaign spending disclosure measure…not the kind of issues voters are all that concerned with nowadays. His positions on other priority issues are unsurprising and fail to educate voters how he’d be a change from the status quo.
Mr. Mannal’s most aggressive push against Rep. Atsalis has also been on relative non-issues: Marie Parente’s endorsement of the incumbent and Rep. Atsalis’s attendance record. I’ve written about both previously and won’t rehash them now, I’ll simply say Mr. Mannal could have (and I dare say should have) put his time and effort toward something more substantial.
Still, Mr. Mannal has put significantly more effort into his campaign than Stephen M. Palmer, the Plymouth man challenging Senate President Therese M. Murray (D – Plymouth) — and by “challenging” I mean “His name is on the ballot but he has a snowball’s chance of actually winning.”
I recently listened to WATD’s online candidate forum hosting Sen. Murray and Mr. Palmer and…uh, yeah. Wow. Mr. Palmer was semi-coherent, confused, angry, occasionally condescending — in other words, he sounded like yet another person running for office not to serve the public but to have a large stage upon which to grind his anti-government axe.
Finally we have the three Democrats running for governor’s council of the first district: Nicholas D. Bernier, Oliver P. Cipollini, and Walter D. Moniz. This is another toss-up because the candidates’ positions are virtually identical: more public outreach, more diligence in appointing judges, no rubber-stamping whatever comes to them.
One thing voters should be aware of is the potential for another non-contest should Mr. Cipollini win. The Republican incumbent, Mr. Cipollini’s brother Charles, won the 2010 race against Oliver despite his continued insistence that he didn’t even want to win. He actively encouraged people not to vote for him. Voters deserve better than that.
Political news and announcements may be e-mailed to Michael Bailey, senior political reporter, at firstname.lastname@example.org.