The countdown has begun to the November 2 primaries, but first, a quick look back at the primary races that will shape the ballot.
Of the relatively few primary contests from last week, there were only two surprises to my mind, the first of which was Eric R. Steinhilber’s loss to James H. Crocker Jr. in the Republican primary for State Senator of the Cape and Islands District.
Mr. Steinhilber was an active candidate, he had a decent platform, he presented himself very well in interviews and debates, and had the support of several well-known Cape Republicans…so what happened?
Simply put, I think name recognition played into this race. Mr. Crocker has been around for a while and, especially in Barnstable, is very well-known, whereas Mr. Steinhilber is a relative newcomer.
That factor I think is a non-issue now, since Mr. Crocker’s Democratic opponent is Daniel A. Wolf, who is well-known in his own right. Their race will come down to which candidate’s platforms better resonate with Cape voters, now that what each candidate will stand in clearer contrast to the other.
Surprise the second was State Representative Jeffrey D. Perry’s (R – Sandwich) win over Joseph D. Malone in the Congressional race – which is to say, his victory was not a surprise, but how badly he crushed Malone was. I was never especially impressed by Malone, as regular readers well know, but I thought the contest would be a LOT closer than it was.
The results are not just a result of Rep. Perry’s aggressive campaigning, they are not just the result of a guy who has been in the game for the past eight years running against a guy who has been out of the game for the past 11; I firmly believe that Malone’s negative campaigning backfired in a big way.
I’m not here to slog through the merits of any of the accusations that have been tossed at Rep. Perry by Malone, the media, or a handful of bloggers with an anti-Perry bug up their collective butts. I’m only pointing out that there’s a standing theory of Massachusetts politics that Malone ignored to his peril, and indeed in his loss provided further supporting evidence: negative campaigning doesn’t work.
I wonder if William R. Keating, the Democratic candidate, will embrace that message? I somehow suspect he will not; in his victory speech he alluded to Rep. Perry’s past controversies, stating, “You stood five steps away as your partner sexually assaulted a young girl. If you couldn’t see something so despicable right under your nose, how can we depend on you in Washington?”
If Keating cannot stick to the issues and keep the mudslinging to a minimum, if not avoid it altogether, you can put good money down right now that we will in seven weeks be saying “Congressman-elect Jeff Perry.”
A surprise of a different sort from last week: James P. McKenna’s write-in campaign was a success, and he is now the official Republican candidate for Massachusetts Attorney General. I’m curious to see whether he can mount a successful formal campaign against Martha Coakley, who has a very solid record in that office – and he January special US Senate election loss is far enough in the background that it is unlikely to haunt her (not that the GOP won’t try, mind you).
Back to Mr. Keating for a moment. His campaign announced this week the candidate had been named to the “Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) highly competitive Red to Blue program by surpassing demanding fund raising goals and skillfully demonstrating to voters that he will work to create jobs and stand up for the middle class.”
This appears to be the Democrats’ answer to the GOP’s “Young Guns” initiative, to which Rep. Perry has been named.
Obviously the Democrats in Massachusetts, who are currently running the show, want to stay in power, and are now trying to rally supporters to keep any kind of Republican takeover from occurring — not likely, considering not enough Republicans are running for the Legislature to take away the Dem’s majority stake, but they’re still a-tryin’.
Governor Deval L. Patrick sent a strong message to his party colleagues last week, telling the Democratic Party to “grow a backbone” and take a stand against the GOP.
Now, while I’m not a fan of any one party holding all the cards and would love to see true balance in the State House, kudos to Gov. Patrick for telling the Dems to stop acting like such wimps.
Speaking of the governor’s race, Gov. Patrick continues to hold a slim margin over Republican Charles D. Baker Jr. in the latest Rasmussen poll: 45 percent to 42 percent. Timothy P. Cahill continues to fade into the distance, earning only five percent support from those surveyed. Another five percent supported “some other candidate” (wow, Dr. Jill E. Stein still doesn’t even merit a mention by name), and two percent were undecided.
Event reminders for this week:
F. Randal Hunt, Republican candidate for State Representative of the Fifth Barnstable District, is holding a pasta supper fundraiser at the American Legion Hall in Sandwich on Saturday, September 25 starting at 6 PM; a golf tourney fundraiser at Holly Ridge on Sunday, October 3 starting at 8:20 AM; and “Pizza & Politics with Pizzazz” at Two Brothers Pizza & Mexican in Sandwich on Monday, October 11 at 5:30 PM.
Thomas F. Keyes, Republican candidate for State Senator of the Plymouth and Barnstable District, is the guest of honor at a reception at the Beachmoor Inn in Bourne Wednesday starting at 6 PM.
David T. Vieira, Republican candidate for State Representative of the Third Barnstable District, invites the public to a “meet the candidate” night at the Pocasset Golf Club on Wednesday, October 13. Dutch and Addie Drolette are hosting the event, which runs from 4 to 6 PM. RSVP by calling 508-540-6727.
Political news and announcements may be sent to Michael Bailey, Region editor and senior political reporter, at email@example.com