Welcome, ladies and gents, to the final column for the 2010 election season.
I would have to say the big news for this week is State Representative Jeffrey D. Perry’s (R – Sandwich) loss to William R. Keating in the Congressional race. It was a long, hard, and very ugly fight, and Rep. Perry lost by a mere five-point margin.
The Perry haters, who have fanatically railed about his past controversies, are no doubt doing a happy dance this morning, but I’d have to question how much of that issue actually played into the loss. Let’s not forget that Massachusetts, despite its majority of unenrolled voters, still leans left, and Rep. Perry was espousing unabashedly hard right-wing values. It’s just as likely voters were turned off by his heavily partisan message as they were his background.
Then there is the Tale of Two Patricks, Deval and Matt. Governor Deval L. Patrick also won a rather tight race, besting Republican Charles D. Baker Jr. by a seven-point margin. Mr. Baker tried to convince voters Gov. Patrick was taking the state in the wrong direction, but recent signs of economic turnaround undermined that message.
It didn’t help that Baker’s campaign never hit high gear. He was active, but somewhere along the way his momentum faltered and he failed to make that final big push in the closing days.
The other Patrick, State Representative Matthew C. Patrick (D – Falmouth), was one of the precious few exceptions to the Democratic rule this year. Rep. Patrick lost his re-election bid to Republican David T. Vieira, the man who Rep. Patrick beat in his first bid for the office in 2000.
So what happened there? Hard to say. Maybe Rep. Patrick’s support of the Cape Wind project finally caught up to him. Maybe voters sensed that he’d lost his influence in the State House following his falling out with Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (R – Winthrop). Maybe voters didn’t care for his increasingly stinging criticism of the GOP and wanted someone a little more cooperative.
In any event, the loss of an incumbent always means a bit of a step back for a district since there’s a learning curve and settling-in period for the new guy, but hopefully Mr. Vieira will find his stride sooner rather than later. He’s got the potential to be a great state rep.
As a point of amusement, I’m tickled that Charles O. Cipollini won the race for governor’s council of the first district. As regular readers know, Charles was running a non-campaign for the seat against his younger brother, Oliver P. Cipollini of Marstons Mills, and said very publicly that he wanted Oliver to win.
And yet, Charles won. Why? My theory is simple: no one knows jack about the position (or cares) so they just voted for the first name on the list of candidates. I firmly believe that’s what Oliver won the Democratic primary in the first place: his name was at the top of the list.
For more details and candidate reaction, check out the story in the front section of this week’s Enterprise.
Personally, I’m very grateful this whole election thing is done with for a while. This has been an exhausting year, not only due to the effective length of the campaign – a few folks declared their candidacies last summer – but because of the rampant negativity that has been inflicted on voters.
The races for governor and the 10th Congressional District have been particularly nasty as national organizations representing the Big Two Parties dumped millions into advertising, ostensibly to promote their respective candidates, but really their motivations are more self-serving: the Democrats want to hold on to their precarious majority rule, the Republicans want to wrench it away.
Thanks for thinking of the American public first, guys.
Voters, regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, your job is not over. You still have a responsibility to be involved in the process, and you can do that by reaching out to your elected officials and letting them know how you feel on the issues.
Don’t write them, don’t e-mail them, CALL them (we’ll help you by continuing to post their contact info in the Beacon Hill Roll Call report). Tell them who you are and what you want out of the next two years. If an issue of particular concern pops up, call them and let them know how you feel about it.
In short: pester the hell out of them. Drive them nuts. Make your name a Pavlovian trigger that causes them to roll their eyes and grumble, “This guy again…” It’s civic-minded, it’s occasionally productive, and yeah, it’s sometimes a lot of fun.
I leave you all with a handy household hint, for removing those bumper stickers from your car: soak them in vegetable oil. Let the oil sink in and you should be able to pull the stickers off fairly easily.
Catch you all in 2012, and in the meantime you can get your semi-regular dose of commentary, sarcasm, and obscure pop-culture references at this here blog thing o’ mine.