Sunday, December 13, 2009

Second Thoughts on the Primary Candidates

With the primaries behind us, here are a few thoughts on the candidates.

Martha Coakley – If she wins the general election in January, she will become one of 18 women serving in the United States Senate, 4 Republicans and 14 Democrats. The queenmaker behind those Democratic women Senators is DC socialite Ellen Malcolm, the founder of Emily’s List, the political action committee with the single purpose of electing women Democrats. You can be sure that Ellen is looking to groom a woman to run for President in 2016, and possibly take Joe Biden’s place in the VP slot when Barack Obama runs for reelection in 2012. So, if Martha Coakley wins the general election and plays her cards right in Washington, DC …

Mike Capuano – He was a distant second, losing by 19 points statewide. He won narrowly in Greater Boston but he didn’t win the working class cities that used to form the industrial base of Massachusetts. It turns out you can be the liberal’s liberal or the workingman’s workingman, but you can’t be both.

Alan Khazei – Our favorite dark horse finished third. He did get double what a Boston Globe poll was predicting 2 weeks before the election, but he really needed a tighter race between Coakley and Capuano to make his candidacy work. Alan has said he first started thinking seriously about running for the Senate back in 2004, when a John Kerry win in the Presidential race would have opened his Senate seat. That seat would have been a better fit for Khazei’s progressive voice and that more optimistic time a better fit for his message.

Steve Pagliuca – After spending a lot of his own money, he finished in fourth place out of the money as we predicted back in October. His candidacy was always hard to figure, except as some kind of spoiler. But his jobs message resonated well in some parts of the state, even if it felt hollow to us. We thought that Andrea Silbert had the best jobs message when she ran for Lieutenant Governor back in 2006, and it’s too bad Massachusetts didn’t listen back then.

Scott Brown – He won the Republican primary even more handily than Martha Coakley won the Democratic primary. But with 664,795 voters in the Democratic primary versus 162,706 in the Republican primary, his chances don’t look good for the January general election. He’s a handsome guy and will look good in the debates up against the handsome Martha Coakley, but I expect he’ll hit the glass ceiling at 35% to 40% to her 60% to 65%.

Jack E. Robinson – Not sure how he got on the ballot in the Republican primary, as we thought Scott Brown was the only Republican to qualify by the deadline. Scott may have waived the deadline because he wanted a sparring partner.

Joseph Kennedy – He is running as the Libertarian Party candidate and had no primary opponent, so goes straight to the general election. Joe is no relation to the famous Kennedy family. The last time this was tried successfully was John F. Kennedy (F. for Francis not Fitzgerald) who got elected State Treasurer in 1955 and served for 3 terms before losing a race for Governor in 1960, the year the real JFK ran for President.

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