No Free Pass For Coakley

By Adam Reilly   |   Thursday, September 16, 2010
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One of the biggest surprises of this year's MA elections was that--despite Scott Brown's win over Martha Coakley in that hugely hyped US Senate election earlier this year--the state GOP couldn't get anyone to run against Coakley for the AG's job this fall.

Well, now it turns out that Coakley will have a Republican opponent after all. Jim McKenna, a former assistant DA in Suffolk and Worcester counties, just made the ballot as a write-in candidate. This is no mean feat. McKenna had to get 10,000 voters to put his stickers (or just his name) in the appropriate section of their ballot Tuesday--and he pulled it off. According to Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the state's Elections division, this is the first time *ever* that a write-in candidate has managed this feat. 

Judging from the numbers posted on McKenna's web site, he was big in southeastern MA--no surprise there, since that's also Jeff Perry country. He also got serious support north of Boston (Andover, Billerica) and in Worcester.

My assumption is that McKenna will have an awfully tough time bumping Coakley off. But by qualifying for November's election, he's put himself in a great position to become a Republican cause celebre--especially given his aggressive conservatism on issues like illegal immigration and Obamacare. I've emailed McKenna in hopes of talking about his platform and background; if and when we connect, I'll post a recap of our conversation on this blog. 

What The MA Primaries Mean

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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So--anyone out there wildly surprised by yesterday's Massachusetts primaries?

Me either. I thought Jeff Perry would beat Joe Malone in the 10th Congressional GOP race--just not as easily as he did. I also expected Bill Keating to get the Democratic nod in that district over Rob O'Leary, especially after he chased down a thief right before the election. Suzanne Bump's win in the Democratic treasurer's primary might have been mildly unexpected--but Guy Glodis made enough embarrassing mistakes that I'm not surprised voters took a pass on his candidacy.

But even if Massachusetts didn't provide much electoral drama, we did offer a test case in whether anti-Washington sentiment can fuel Democrats as well as Republicans. And the answer seems to be: not really.

In the 9th Congressional district, Mac D'Alessandro ran against incumbent Congressman Steve Lynch from the left. He hit Lynch for opposing healthcare reform and backing the war in Afghanistan. D'Alessandro acquitted himself well and made his opponent sweat during a couple debates. And the end result? Lynch coasted, 66 percent to 34 percent.

Contrast that to Perry's big win in the 10th Congressional GOP primary. Joe Malone, Perry's main opponent, wasn't exactly an incumbent--but he's a former statewide office-holder and member of the Mass. GOP establishment. This bona fides didn't help Malone, and may actually have hurt him, as Perry won by a margin of more than 2 to 1 (!).

Generalizing on the basis of two races is risky, I know. But it's always struck me as a reach to suggest that the national mood is simply anti-incumbent--as opposed to anti-incumbent from the right. And based on what happened yesterday--here, and also in Delaware and New York and New Hampshire--I'm pretty sure it's the latter. 

Shape The Debate On Casinos

Friday, August 6, 2010
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About the Author
Adam Reilly Adam Reilly
Adam Reilly is a political reporter and associate producer for WGBH's Greater Boston.


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