^ peopling and good-timing : Charlie Baker meting and greeting at the Water Street Cafe in Plymouth.
—- —- —-
As in all elections, money and people determine the race to choose Massachusetts’ next Governor. Even this early one can count some of each. That is what I shall be doing in today’s report and as often henceforth as the state of the race requires from me. So what do the numbers tell us at 11 : 30 AM on 11/10/13 ?
Charlie Baker : 4004 twitter followers
32,056 Facebook Public Figure followers
Martha Coakley : 12,200 twitter followers
18,968 Facebook Public Figure Followers
Steve Grossman : 6,770 twitter followers
no facebook public figure page as yet
Juliette Kayyem : 4,244 twitter followers
1,161 facebook public figure followers
Donald Berwick : 1,876 twitter followers
1,799 facebook public figure followers
Joe Avellone : 336 twitter followers
no facebook public figure page as yet
Charlie Baker : 107,643.62 cash on hand as of 10/01/13
261,370.36 receipts for the month
203,133.48 cash balance on 10/31/13
Steve Grossman : 709,324.65 cash on hand as of 10/01/13
163,405.00 receipts for the month
773,695.23 cash balance on 10/31/13
Martha Coakley : 283,192.95 cash on hand on 10/01/13
88,486.88 receipts for the month
303,538.41 cash on hand on 10/31/13
Juliette Kayyem : 202,527.92 cash on hand on 10/01/13
95,572.46 receipts for the month
257,305.02 cash on hand on 10/31/13
Donald Berwick : 264,649.83 cash on hand on 10/01/13
33,053.10 receipts for the month
195,161.90 cash on hand on 10/31/13
Joseph Avellone : 121,494.72 cash on hand on 10/01/13
19,675.37 receipts for the month
101,875.14 cash on hand on 10/31/13
These numbers all look small when one considers that it took $ 80 million to elect a United states Senator for Massachusetts in 2012. Even to elect a Boston Mayor, over $ 7 million was raised and spent. As I see it, two problems pressure all of these candidates :
^ 775,693.25 in the bank — now some people too : candidate Steve Grossman (at the Depot Diner in Peabody with Mayor Bettencourt and the Diner’s owner)
1. five (5) noggins seek the Democratic Party nomination. The winner even of that battle faces a serious GOP opponent in a state in which four of the last five governors have been Republican (Weld, Cellucci, Swift, Romney). That’s long odds for donors with shekels to sprinkle.
2. Charlie Baker so far has no challenger for the GOP nomination, but his “strong favorite” status seems grievously imperiled by the toxic state of the Republican brand among Massachusetts voters and by the powerful tilt toward poisonous policies even among Massachusetts’s GOP primary voters.
^ Robert DeLeo, Speaker of the House…. and the REAL Governor of Massachusetts
And hanging over all the hopefuls is the knowledge that Massachusetts is governed — even dictated to — by the Speaker of the House. Time and time again we have seen this. The Governor can want a piece of legislation more seriously than a heart attack ; it doesn’t matter a whit unless the Speaker wants it too. If he doesn’t, the Governor can just whistle Dixie.
The Speaker has this power because, by the rules of the house, he appoints all committee chairmen and all committee members. Until these rules are changed — which they never will be — the Speaker rules. Indeed, one wonders why people even bother running for Governor ? True, the position has a great deal of prestige attached to it. That plus the bully pulpit, a lot of voter comfort, and some public policy feel-good and perhaps a shot at becoming the POTUS. But heck, the future POTUS (ha !) can’t even get his judicial nominees appointed without sweet-bunning a majority of the Governor’s Council. Good luck with that, in an era when patronage jobs can’t be given without earning a slam column from the likes of Howie Carr.
Oh wait… the Governor does appoint cabinet members — worthy men and women, some of them my friends — to operate whatever the Speaker allows them. He or she also has power to commute sentences or award pardons : but the present Gov and his precdessor almost never have done so. What good is a power unusued ?
Of course our would-be US President DOES run the state Police. Which means that a wise governor keeps the “staties” from harrassing immigrants, whereas a Gov “severely conserative” can’t wait to eat immigrants for breakfast. I suppose that that does matter. But is it worth the tens of millions of good funds that will likely be spent to elect a Goverbor decent to or devouring of immigrants ?
It was fun to cover the Boston Mayor election. A Boston Mayor wields actual poweer — a LOT of power. The Governor wields a limp biscuit. Oh what joy this coming year is gonna be…not.
—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere