Democrats for Brown

Mayor Menino at the DNCMy colleague Mo Cunningham noted Senator Brown’s resourcefulness, taking a tour of Eastie with Trav the same day his opponent was scheduled to deliver her remarks to the Democratic National Convention.  The same Convention where Mayor Menino spoke and opted not to make an endorsement of the Democratic nominee.  What a whirlwind of a week.

The murmuring among the delegates at the Convention is that the Mayor will, in fact, endorse Warren.  That’s my suspicion as well though his caginess is certainly starting to grate his fellow Democrats.  A well-regarded Democrat told me in Charlotte, as Menino was casually chatting with the press, that if the Mayor said anything else nice about Brown, she’d be sick.  But Menino likely cares not at all.

The Mayor enjoys being Mayor and doesn’t harbor ambitions to the Corner Office or any other higher position (he’d view them as lesser positions) so he is not likely to be concerned by ruffling the feathers of his fellow partisans.  He seems perfectly content to wait until the penultimate moment to make his choice.  And why not?  He’d much rather have both Brown and Warren checking in with him regularly to see if they can cut his grab him a sandwich at Sam La Grassa’s or maybe grease the wheels on his bike.

The question is not so much the endorsement but muscle.  The Mayor can deliver Cushman’s bread but will he?  I spoke with some Democrats in Charlotte who insist that they Mayor will not make a tepid endorsement, that he will go all in.  We shall see.

It’s a win-win for Menino.  If he puts the muscle behind Warren, she owes him.  If he endorses Warren and she loses, Brown will owe him for holding off the endorsement for so long.  It’s good the be the Mayah.

The Conventions help Warren much more than they help Brown.  I wrote in the Huffington Post yesterday that the Republican Convention represents a nearly perfect symbol for what ails the party in Massachusetts and Brown needed to distance himself from it and try to keep any bounce Warren might receive from Charlotte to a minimum.

Credit Brown for his timing.

As his challenger made her maiden trip to a Convention, he’s touring Eastie with Travaglini.  Then the day after the Democratic confab ends, he announces an endorsement from a sitting elected Democrat, state representative Chris Fallon .  After Flynn’s endorsement this past spring, I noted that  “Flynn is only a harbinger if he still speaks for enough Reagan Democrats to keep Brown competitive.  Add sitting mayors or three willing to endorse Brown, then ‘disaster whispered here.'”

Fallon isn’t a Democrat of Menino stature (no one is, really) but the closeness of the race thus far means that we may be looking at a precinct by precinct slugfest.  Warren noted in the Herald today that the race will “not be about endorsements.”  As our colleague Professor Duquette has claimed, she needs the race to be about national issues and not local ones, Brown’s personality, or what a few local Democrats think.

But Democrats for Brown was ultimately meaningless if he couldn’t convince current elected officials to line up behind him.  Now that he has, he’ll need to keep up momentum.

Warren can lose some Democrats and still safely win.  Brown needs the heft of those who can deliver Cushman’s bread.

About Peter Ubertaccio

Peter Ubertaccio is the Director of Joseph Martin Institute for Law & Society at Stonehill College in Easton and Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science & International Studies. His work focuses on political parties, marketing and institutions. He received his Ph.D. in Politics from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. Professor Ubertaccio and his family live on Cape Cod where he is on the Board of Directors of the OpenCape Corporation and the Sandwich Economic Initiative Corporation.
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