Few observers of local politics are as astute as Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi. But I can’t agree with her that state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, D-Roxbury, is somehow breaking the rules because she will try to keep her seat with a write-in campaign if she doesn’t win the Democratic primary recount.
(Aside: I am referring only to the rules of running an independent campaign. I am not referring to the numerous tax and campaign-finance rules Wilkerson has broken over the years, which are the reason her political career may now be going down the drain.)
Wilkerson’s challenger, Sonia Chang-Díaz, may be the Democratic nominee (pending the recount results), but the rules allow Wilkerson to run as an independent, even though her name won’t appear on the ballot.
And though Wilkerson won’t be the party’s nominee, there is nothing to stop her from calling herself a Democrat (which seems to offend Vennochi), or a radical syndicalist, or Irene.
Vennochi tries to draw an unfavorable comparison between Wilkerson and U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., who was re-elected as an independent after he lost a Democratic primary race in 2006. Lieberman, Vennochi writes, had the “grace” to run “as a third-party candidate.”
But Lieberman took the same branding approach as Wilkerson, referring to himself as an “Independent Democrat,” which sounds like a Democrat, only better:
I remain a Democratic [sic] but I’m running as an Independent Democrat, which in some ways makes official what I’ve been for a long time. I’ve been an independent Democratic [sic]. [Note: I haven’t listened to the audio, but I assume those are transcription errors, not evidence that Lieberman can’t talk.]
Wilkerson’s free to run, and the voters are free to re-elect her or reject her. Those are the rules.