Tag Archives: Special election to replace John Kerry
Last week’s MassInc /WBUR poll (toplines here, crosstabs here) seemed to confirm the conventional wisdom that Congressman Ed Markey leads Congressman Steve Lynch among Democrats, and former US Attorney Michael Sullivan leads Rep. Dan Winslow and businessman Gabriel Gomez on the Republican side. Either Democrat would beat any Republican if the election was held last week. No surprises, but there are some little nuggets in the poll.
I’m not a car racing fan, but I presume that the so-called “poll position” offers some advantage to its awardee. Frequently, the same cannot be said of political candidates with strong polling numbers. Indeed, the very first line of the WBUR story about the latest poll results in the ongoing “special” US Senate election in Massachusetts seemed to be making this very point. In fact, the author explicitly characterized the race as “wide open on both the Democratic and the Republican sides.”
“Wide open!?!” Not really.
In my last post about the upcoming special election for John Kerry’s US Senate seat, I hoped aloud (so to speak) that we would not be told ad nauseam that “little things mean a lot.” Commentary and stories about every little personal characteristic, statement, or action on the campaign trail are truly for entertainment purposes only. Unless somebody pulls a “Todd Akin” these things will not impact the outcome of this election.
I have spent much of the last year and a half trying to explain that candidates and campaigns are not the primary drivers of US Senate elections in Massachusetts. As the Race for the Democratic nomination gets started I feel compelled to clarify that I was referring to election contests, not party nominating contests, which are settled in primary elections.
Recently important figures in both parties have spoken up about the advantages of vigorous primary contests. Democratic Party chairman John Walsh wrote an opinion piece for the Boston Globe entitled Contested Primary Good for Democrats. Redmassgroup.com poster Matt Elder, a Marlborough city councilor, even called for a “bloody primary” on the Republican side.
Senator Scott Brown appears to be resisting efforts to coax him in to the senate special election. Just my luck.
Today’s announcement of William “Mo” Cowen as the temporary replacement for John Kerry in the US Senate was no surprise and it shows that the governor has decided to “play it safe.” All things being equal, the governor understands that this seat is the Democrats’ to lose in the upcoming election.
If the latest polling results convince Scott Brown to enter the race to fill John Kerry’s senate seat, odds are he will end up looking like Charlie Brown when its all said and done. The chances of the football being there when he tries to kick it are not good. Polls showing Brown with a comfortable lead over his likely Democratic opponents simply do not mean what the media consistently pretends they mean.
If Scott Brown asked my advice about how he should proceed with his political career I would start by giving him a brief primer on the present dynamics of federal elections in Massachusetts, the bottom line of which would be that his short term electoral prospects have very little to do with who he is, or what he says or does.