By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag: Christy Mihos

Healey’s ascension coincides with the dispiriting collapse of politics in Mass.

Maura Healey. Photo (cc) 2015 by Charlie Baker. Yes, that’s what the photo credit says. Yes, I realize that’s Baker on the left-hand side of the frame.

State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz’s withdrawal from the gubernatorial race on Thursday underscores the astonishing collapse of politics in Massachusetts. This is a state where politics has traditionally been a year-round sport. In the past, an open governor’s seat would have attracted multiple candidates. Instead, Attorney General Maura Healey will run uncontested for the Democratic nomination and will probably beat either of the two Republicans who are running.

The Axios Boston headline this morning puts it this way: “AG Healey on track to be Massachusetts’ first elected female governor.” In June. Nearly five months before Election Day.

Contrast what’s happening today with 1990, when Gov. Michael Dukakis retired. Three prominent Democrats sought the nomination — Boston University president John Silber, Attorney General Frank Bellotti and Lieutenant Gov. Evelyn Murphy. Although Murphy ended up withdrawing, Silber beat Bellotti in a closely fought race. Silber, in turn, was defeated by former federal prosecutor Bill Weld, who won the Republican nomination by beating House Republican leader Steve Pierce.

More recently, in 2006, a relatively unknown former Justice Department official, Deval Patrick, won the Democratic primary for governor with less than 50% of the vote against businessman Chris Gabrieli and Attorney General Tom Reilly. That November, Patrick defeated Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and several independent candidates, the most prominent of whom was the late businessman Christy Mihos.

So how did Healey end up running unopposed for the Democratic nomination? There are some unique factors at play. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker took his time in announcing he wouldn’t seek another term, which gave a significant advantage to the well-known, well-funded Healey. Former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh decided he’d rather stay in Washington than run for governor.

I worry, though, that we’re all losing interest in politics. Healey is first-rate, smart, personable and progressive. After her, though, who? U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley? Boston Mayor Michelle Wu? Maybe. Both are at a relatively early stage of their political careers — especially Wu — so perhaps we just have to give it time.

As for the Republicans, who have produced a slew of governors over the years to act as a moderating force against the dominant Democrats, the situation is sad indeed. Two Republicans are running for governor this year. One, state Rep. Geoff Diehl, is a full-blown Trumper. The other, businessman Chris Doughty, is trying to position himself as a Baker-style moderate — but he opposes abortion rights and has taken stands that suggest he supporters deeper tax cuts than Baker would support.

For those of us who’ve been following Massachusetts politics for years, it’s a dispiriting time. I hope it’s just temporary.

The friends of Tim Cahill

Congratulations to students in Walter Robinson’s investigative-reporting class at Northeastern University for their detailed, unflattering look at State Treasurer Tim Cahill’s campaign contributions, a story that led the Boston Globe on Sunday.

Cahill, an independent candidate for governor, has, according to their reporting, benefited mightily from his official position, raking in tens of thousands of dollars from firms with which his office does business.

Today, Republican gubernatorial candidates Charlie Baker and Christy Mihos pounce, while Gov. Deval Patrick remains silent.

Baker, Cahill and Mihos, too

Incredible as it may seem, there may not be a single candidate for governor in 2010 who’s opposed to expanded gambling. As we know, Gov. Deval Patrick is hopeless on the issue, as is State Treasurer Tim Cahill, who’s running as an independent.

A little Googling reveals that the leading Republican candidate, Charlie Baker, is also pro-gambling. Blue Mass. Group recently highlighted an interview Baker gave to the Boston Herald:

During his Herald interview, Baker also:

• Opposed Patrick’s plan to legalize three resort casinos in Massachusetts, saying the resorts would “cannibalize each other.” Baker said he is open to some sort of expanded gaming, however.

And businessman Christy Mihos, who’s challenging Baker for the Republican nomination, actually wants to legalize betting on college and professional sports.

Will no one stand up for common sense?

What does Andy Card want?

Andy Card

Andy Card

The Massachusetts Republican Party may be at a disastrously low ebb. But, contrary to expectations, it looks as though it’s going to field the equivalent of its A-team in both the special election to succeed the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and in next year’s governor’s race.

Former state representative Andy Card, who was chief of staff to George W. Bush and a top aide in George H.W. Bush’s administration, has all but announced for the Senate seat, according to the Boston Herald.

Granted, Card was far better known several decades ago, when the Republicans regularly hoped he would toss his hat into the ring, and were invariably disappointed. Then, too, Card will have to answer for his tenure in the second Bush White House — especially his oft-cited 2002 pronouncement that the administration would not start pushing for war in Iraq until September because “from a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”

But the chances of a Republican succeeding Kennedy would appear to be non-existent in any case. Card’s presence on the ballot will help with party-building simply because he’s serious and credible.

Since Card knows he’s unlikely to win, the interesting question is: What does he want? And that’s where the Republicans’ other credible candidate, Charlie Baker, comes in. Baker, who was then-governor Bill Weld’s top aide in the early ’90s, is now running for governor himself.

Unlike the Senate, the governor’s office is a position that a Republican can reasonably hope to win, as Weld, Paul Cellucci and Mitt Romney proved. With Gov. Deval Patrick’s poll numbers down, Baker would appear to have a decent shot, assuming he can get by his primary opponent, Christy Mihos.

But is it possible that Card is looking past the Senate race in hopes of running for governor himself?

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