Is the Massachusetts Republican party on the cusp of an enormous victory in November? Yesterday’s election results don’t bode well. The GOP lost two state representative races to fill the seats of Katherine Clark in Melrose (formerly held by Richard Tisei) and Don Humason in Westfield.
To take the latter seat, the Democrats tacked to the right with John Velis, who crossed party lines to back Scott Brown over Elizabeth Warren in 2012.
These special elections are low turnout affairs and, as a matter of course, do not typically offer the type of harbinger of things to come to which partisans cling.
But here’s the thing: Democrats can afford a random loss hither, thither, and yon because of their overwhelming numbers.
The GOP cannot and now their forces in the House are again reduced.
And, once more, Democrats will put a field team together before November that will be the envy of their opponents.
Low turnout specials are supposed to enhance the stature of those typically incapable of organizing on a mass scale. Fewer people turn out and Democratic constituencies stay home. That is just about the only reason why Republicans are expecting a lift nationally this fall.
And still the GOP here could not organize on the micro level to help two strong candidates. This hurts. They have come to believe that the myriad “scandals” at the state level have laid the groundwork for a tidal wave of support.
What they discovered yesterday is they were gazing at tidal pools of their own presumptions.
Field organization, GOTV efforts, good old fashion door knocking are important keys to success, as we’ve noted over and over again.
Candidates matter as well and the GOP has a strong gubernatorial candidate who may be able to win despite the GOP organization.
But it won’t be easy and it seems less and less likely that Charlie Baker can pull the GOP into the legislature like his mentor Bill Weld in 1990.