Turnout. Ayanna Pressley sure did turn it out.
Turnout elected our new Congressperson. Major congratulations are in order — so, from all of our elections panel at Here and Sphere, congratulations, Ayanna !!!
The ultras — purists, if you will — turned out. The rest of us, not so much.
Guys & gals, you gotta VOTE — yes, in primaries — or the purists will make the decisions we will probably not be very comfortable with.
Ayanna’s big win, does not shock me. Having seen the turnout. 2362 voters cast a ballot in C Town ? 2833 in Eastie ? Heck, I’ve seen C Town cast 5550 votes and Eastie 6500. Clearly most voters here didn’t care. That’s a failure with very deep roots that goes way beyond Mike’s immediate Campaign, which was a dynamic one — except that 75% of the people in it were Mayor’s people and unions. How does a Congressman who was going to be a Committee chairman not have a large organization of his own ?
Three weeks before Primary, Mike had not one thing happening in Eastie. Nada. And then he met with — 5 of our 6 electeds and recent electeds !! Look —I love them all, these guys. But WE elected THEM, not the other way around. You want Adrian’s support, and Carlo’s and John Nucci’s, and Sal’s, and Joe Boncore’s ? Go to their voters directly !
And do it all the time.
This wasn’t about gender or color of skin. Mike had a pretty good team in Black communities. Bigger than in Eastie.
This was not about Ayanna’s skin color. In Readville, for example, an overwhelmingly Caucasian precinct, with few ideologues if any, Capuano won by only 50 votes out of 550 cast. Mike had the support of the local City Councillor, who lives in and was born in Readville. He had Rob Consalvo, who was the District’s City Councillor before and remains enormously popular in the neighborhood. But you can’t win your own election by depending on your colleagues. You win it by depending on the voters, especially on ordinary voters; and that reliance must be worked for, again and again.
I will say it again : you have to stay in touch with the voters — all the voters — constantly. You have to have outreach people to do it — thoroughly — and you have to do it yourself. Hold a Summer picnic, every year; have a Christmas or St Pat’s Party, as Sal DiDomenico does.
Somerville : how did Mike win it by only 0.8 percent ? How does an incumbent, powerful Congressman, former Mayor, not win his own city at least 2 to 1 ? We’re told the city has changed, but when you’re a Congressman — or an elected — you stay in touch with the newcomers, you know they’re there, you make sure they know and trust you. Basic stuff.
Turnout again : you can’t get ordinary, non ideological voters to vote unless they have a personal connection to you, one that’s forged at precinct level, block level, even one family at a time level. Basic stuff.
A friend from the Bayswater section of East Boston posted on his facebook page : “Well, Mr. Congressman, you can’t just show up at election time.” Nope, you can’t just.
Meanwhile, Ayanna, as underdog, has been planning her run for years. This was not a surprise. I’ve been hearing about it since the 2013 Mayor race. Ayanna is a radiant, confident, knowledgeable politician and good company as a person. She has worked very hard to get to this point, and has finished number one in Council races four (4) Times. There is no way that Mike could have not known long ago what was coming and planned for it. But what I saw just in Eastie makes me conclude that make a plan, he did not.
This is not to say that Mike isn’t a great Congressman. To me he is the model of what a Congressman shoujd be. I think his District will realize soon enough what they have lost. A fighter and a doer. And an ordinary guy, just like your neighbor and mine.
Mike is a great, great man.
Ayanna will be a very well attended voice. That’s what she campaigned as : a voice, a new voice. Personally, I could use less political voice and more political nuts and bolts. Rhetoric is all too ephemeral; nuts and bolt accomplishments last long. But those who cared to vote decided to replace workman-like accomplishment with a beautiful new voice. I hope her voice succeeds.
—– Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere