Back from vacation, and as promised, here are my brief thoughts on the recent AFL-CIO gubernatorial candidates’ forum, held two weeks ago in Hyannis.
The forum was notable not for the candidates who did show up to make their sales pitches – Governor Deval L. Patrick, State Treasurer and unenrolled candidate Timothy P. Cahill, and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Dr. Jill E. Stein – but for who did not participate: Republican candidate Charles D. Baker Jr.
Baker made a big mistake for blowing off this forum. In a press release Baker wagged a finger at his three rivals for “spending their day with the special interests who oppose real reform,” painting his absence as an affirmation of his dedication to representing the common man.
Bear in mind that the AFL-CIO encompasses more than 750 unions representing several hundred thousand workers…you know, common men.
My theory is that Baker didn’t want to wade into a very pro-Democratic arena where his message would fall on many a deaf ear, but in ducking the debate he lost a chance to poke some holes in his opponents’ platforms and, if not walk out with a few newly won hearts and minds, make people think a little harder about who they’re supporting and why.
I know it seems late in the day – and it is – but two more people have jumped into the race for US Representative of the 10th Congressional District.
James Sheets last week entered the race as an unenrolled candidate. The 74-year-old former six-term mayor of Quincy has not held an elected office since 2001, when he lost a mayoral re-election bid. He ran for what was then the 11th Congressional District back in 1978 and lost.
Robert E. Hayden III of Hanover has also confirmed his candidacy as a Republican. He has no political experience, which he is trying to pitch as a pro rather than a con.
You may ask, “Why are these guys getting into the race now?” Well, that’s a good question, but the answers are irrelevant for that very reason; they’re late arrivals in a packed field of contenders who have already divvied up the large blocks of party-loyal voters and are focused on getting the attention of the state’s massive unenrolled voter base.
Unless Mr. Sheets and Mr. Hayden can pull off something really impressive in the next few months to really grab and hold undecided voters, they’re destined to be nothing but white noise.
Also on the Congressional race: a new poll by Public Opinion Strategies mirrors a few other recent polls showing that State Representative Jeffrey D. Perry (R – Sandwich) is in the lead in the Republican primary race.
The survey of 300 Republicans who say they are likely to vote this fall showed that 41 percent were supporting Rep. Perry, 30 percent were undecided, and 25 percent were backing Joseph D. Malone.
Rep. Perry has also picked up several new endorsements from a number of county officials, including: Barnstable County Superior Court Clerk Scott W. Nickerson, Barnstable County Commissioner William Doherty, and Marcia R. King, Mashpee’s representative to the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates.
Meanwhile, Mr. Malone has picked up an endorsement from Falmouth Selectman David Braga, who said he is supporting the former state treasurer “because it is time we had some people in Washington who care about the people here first. Joe’s message of fiscal conservatism and responsibility is exactly what we need.”
Over on the Democratic side of the race, State Senator Robert A. O’Leary (D – Barnstable) has picked up endorsements from some local colleagues in the Legislature: State Representatives Timothy R. Madden (D – Nantucket), Matthew C. Patrick (D – Falmouth), Cleon H. Turner (D – Dennis), and Sarah K. Peake (D – Provincetown).
James M. Cummings, Barnstable County sheriff, has formally endorsed Walter Moniz’s candidacy for governor’s councilor of the first district. Fun fact: Sheriff Cummings is a Republican, Mr. Moniz is a Democrat.
Hooray! Evidence that bipartisanship isn’t just a myth!
Mr. Moniz was in Falmouth last week to kick off the local leg of his campaign. He is facing four people in the Democratic primary.
To bring this week’s column full-circle, Eric R. Steinhilber, Republican candidate for State Senator of the Cape and Islands District, will welcome the aforementioned Charlie Baker as his special guest at a reception scheduled for Thursday, July 22. That will be held at the Nauticus Marina in Osterville from 5 to 7 PM.
E-mail email@example.com or call 508-957-2676 for details or to RSVP.
Political news and announcements may be sent to Michael Bailey, Region editor and senior political reporter, at firstname.lastname@example.org