U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz (again) might consider running the other way when we try to present them with our coveted statuettes for dishonoring the First Amendment.
The 17th Annual New England Muzzle Awards are now online at WGBHNews.org and The Providence Phoenix. They should be up soon at The Portland Phoenix as well. This is the second year that WGBH has served as home base following 15 years at the late, great Boston Phoenix.
As always, the Muzzles are accompanied by an article on Campus Muzzles by my friend and sometime collaborator Harvey Silverglate. There are a couple of new touches this year as well: the WGBH design is responsive, which means it looks just as great on your tablet or phone as it does on your laptop; and WGBH reporter Adam Reilly, WGBHNews.org editor Peter Kadzis and I talk about the Muzzles on “The Scrum” podcast, which of course you should subscribe to immediately.
Peter, by the way, is a former editor of the Phoenix newspapers, and has now edited all 17 editions of the Muzzles.
Finally, great work by WGBH Web producers Abbie Ruzicka and Brendan Lynch, who hung in through technical glitches and my whining to make this year’s edition look fantastic.
Watching TV and following Twitter last night, I saw a lot of praise for Gabriel Gomez’s running a credible campaign and doing better than expected.
Really? Gomez lost by 10 points. Scott Brown lost by eight last November. Although Gomez didn’t have to contend with President Obama being on the ballot, as Brown did, a low turnout was supposed to help Gomez — and he certainly got that.
My guess is that Gomez got the bare minimum of votes available to virtually any Republican and failed to build on it at all. The fact is that he lost by a substantial margin to Ed Markey, an uninspiring Democratic candidate. (A fading Brown did better against Elizabeth Warren, a rock star compared to Markey.) The extent of Gomez’s defeat was right in line with most of the polls, so he most definitely did not do better than expected.
I doubt any Republican can win federal office in Massachusetts right now because congressional Republicans are so unpopular here. But Gomez didn’t help himself by claiming to be a moderate, taking clear stands against abortion rights and gun control, and then ludicrously trying to convince voters that he’d done no such thing.
Sorry, folks. A star wasn’t born last night.
Photo (cc) by Mark Sardella and published under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.
U.S. Senate candidate Dan Winslow calls himself “the Dan with a plan.” I am the Dan without a plan. But I do follow Winslow on Twitter. So when I saw that he was heading for Danvers Square, I walked the block and a half from my house to see if we could connect.
Winslow, one of three Republicans running in the primary on Tuesday, was greeting voters and meeting supporters at New Brothers. We’ve conversed so much on Twitter that it was hard to remember that this was actually our first meeting.
Winslow is as ebullient in person as he is on social media, touting his endorsement by the Springfield Republican as representing a “clean sweep” of Massachusetts newspapers. (Most notably, Winslow has been endorsed by both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.)
Still, the polls suggest that Winslow — a state representative, former judge and a top adviser to Mitt Romney when he was governor — is running third, behind former U.S. attorney Michael Sullivan and venture capitalist Gabriel Gomez. The winner will square off against one of two Democratic congressmen, Ed Markey or Stephen Lynch, in a special election to be held in June.
Winslow’s hopes would appear to rest on low turnout (likely to be especially low given how little attention the campaign has received following the Boston Marathon bombing) and his get-out-the-vote effort. His profile as a fiscally conservative, socially moderate Republican is one that has traditionally appealed to independent voters in Massachusetts. But he’s not well known, and there are only a few days to go.
Dan Winslow and Gabriel Gomez at least seemed interesting in tonight’s Republican Senate debate, sponsored by WBZ and the Boston Globe. But Michael Sullivan, who’s way ahead in some polls, came across as old and cranky, a garden-variety right-winger who couldn’t even bring himself to support the gun-control compromise announced in Washington today.
It seems to me that either Winslow or Gomez could at least make the Democratic nominee — Steve Lynch or, more likely, Ed Markey — break a sweat. If either of them gets a chance, that is.
And, oh, the Massachusetts Republican Party has come to this: both Sullivan and Gomez attacked Winslow for being part of a governor’s team that raised taxes and passed Romneycare. If Willard Mitt Romney is now too liberal for Republican primary voters, then their candidate is headed off an electoral cliff.
I thought Ed Markey and Steve Lynch both acquitted themselves fairly well in the Democratic Senate debate last night sponsored by the Boston Herald and UMass Lowell. (Herald story here; Boston Globe story here.)
What really struck me, though, was their closing statements, in which they both emphasized their working-class roots. Lynch came off as bitter and resentful. Markey told a lovely, uplifting story about the Dominican immigrants who now live in the Lawrence home where his father grew up.
The contrast turned an otherwise-OK performance for Lynch into a lost opportunity. I’m surprised Lynch can walk upright with that massive chip on his shoulder.
Veteran political reporter Peter Lucas reminds us of a great anecdote involving a young state rep named Ed Markey and Massachusetts House Speaker Tom McGee, who died last week. Lucas writes in The Sun of Lowell:
In the middle of his second term in 1975, Markey opposed McGee on a bill dealing with the abolition of part-time district court judges in Massachusetts. As a result, so the story goes, an angry McGee threw Markey, a lawyer, off the Judiciary Committee, and had him and his desk moved out of the committee offices into the hallway.
A year later, a congressional seat opened up, and Markey ran under the slogan “They may tell me where to sit, but nobody tells me where to stand.” It was “boffo,” Lucas writes, and Markey won.
This will not be Markey’s first Senate run. In 1984 he was one of several Democrats who jumped in after Sen. Paul Tsongas announced he would not seek re-election because of illness. Markey soon jumped right out and ran for re-election to Congress. (Kerry, of course, was the eventual Senate winner.) Trouble was, a former state senator from Winchester named Sam Rotondi, who was also running for Congress, refused to be a domino and decided to stay in the race.
I covered the Markey-Rotondi race for The Daily Times Chronicle of Woburn, and it went right down to primary day. If I’ve got my years right, Markey then had to beat a stronger-than-usual Republican, former Somerville mayor S. Lester Ralph. It was a fun campaign.