Here we are in the closing days before the Democratic primary in the special election for three vacant seats for state representative. Along with the snow, there is a blizzard of last minute Get Out The Vote activities. Since I first wrote about the special elections in January, I have tried to underscore how these are not routine elections: they signal an historic shift shift in state politics. Following House Speaker Tom Finneran’s announcement last Fall, that he would retire, two Finneran allies also resigned. In November, the only incumbent to lose his seat in the House was Finneran ally, Vincent Ciampa, who lost to a young progressive, Carl Sciortino. The likely winners in the three special elections will also be far more progressive than their predecessors, and signal a strong, clear trend in Massachusetts politics.
One of the remarkable features of this set of special elections has been the emergence of progressive democratic bloggers. No one knows for sure how large or little a role we played, however we can certainly say that three blogs played prominent roles — at once as partisan supporters of candidates, but also providing otherwise hard-to-get information about the candidates, the races, the media coverage and more that would be useful to everyone. My fellow progressive democratic bloggers Blue Mass Group and NoHomissives have written about these races with insight and humor, as well as providing links and commentary on breaking news. We have all provided an additional dimension to news coverage and to information from the campaigns themselves, and engaged and encouraged citizens to participate in these important races. As I have noted previously, candidate Tim Schofield linked to blog coverage alongside clips from the mainstream press on his campaign web site, a first to my knowledge, in Massachusetts politics. But there was more. I personally received emails from Democratic activists trying to research the candidate fields, because information about many of the candidates was often hard to find. And although I clearly had my preferred candidates, in my main round-up on the races, I provided links to every campaign that had a web site that I could find, and shared what information I had with anyone who asked. [UPDATE: Candidate Chris Speranzo has posted a web site since I last checked.]
In the closing days, its worth checking in with my fellow bloggers:
NoHomissives has several recent posts on the 3rd Berkshire race in Pittsfield, and highlights how to help candidate Rhonda Serre in Pittsfield.
Blue Mass Group is worried about progressives splitting the vote (in this four-way race) between Schofield and Michael Moran — and urges progressives to go with Schofield.
In the same post, BMG also underscores the oddness and difficulty voters — or anyone — faces in finding out about the candidates: “I tried to learn more about Moran, but his website is a disaster — in particular, if you click on “News & Views,” you bring up blank page. Nor does his site list his endorsements or, really, anything about him other than the fact that he is running for state rep and the most barebones biographical information. Everything I could learn about Moran was from Googling him and coming up with media reports (mostly in the Phoenix) covering the race.”
Here is a sampler of some of the kinds of the end-of-the-campaign efforts I am hearing about — to get activists to help with the canvassing, visibilities, lit drops, and phone banking. I know that my sampler is far from comprehensive (hey its just the info that has come my way) but it is particularly interesting to me to see how some of the progressive organizations are helping the three candidates that have emerged as the progressive choices: Linda Dolcena Forry, Tim Schofield and, Rhonda Serre. (This is not to say that any of these groups are necessarily opposed to such candidates as Stacy Monahan, Michael Moran, Pam Malumphy and Chris Speranzo, its just that these were the choices that most — but not all — progressive groups and activists agreed on.)
Boston area activists from Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts (PDM) are helping Tim Schofield while PDM members in Western, Mass, such as Governor’s Councilor Peter Vickery, have been helping Rhonda Serre. Berkshires for Progressive Change is also mobilizing activists for Serre.
Democracy for Massachusetts has sent out emails to members encouraging members to help in specific GOTV activities posted on their web site on behalf of Serre, Schofield, and Forry. DFA nationally has also emailed members in MA with similar information.
All of the candidates in all of the races are undoubtedly doing similar such traditional GOTV activities in tandem with their most active supporters. For example, the AFL-CIO, in its weekly Labor Reader email to activists has called for help for its three endorsed candidates, Speranzo in Pittsfield, Monahan in the 12th Suffolk District, and Moran in the 18th Suffolk District. The Boston Central Labor Council is also doing phone banking for Moran and Monahan, and a labor lit drop for Moran.
Its all as it should be. Democracy in action. On Tuesday, we will have three Democratic candidates for the three vacant seats for state representative. The general election will be April 12th, and while the races will not be uncontested, the winner of the primary in each case will likely be the victor on April 12th.
They will be the fresh faces who never served with, or rather under, Tom Finneran. They will epitomize the post-Finneran era.
[crossposted from FrederickClarkson.com]