MAGOV14 : THE RIDDLE OF STEVE GROSSMAN’S CANDIDACY

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^ speaking to the few : steve Grossman at Merengue Restaurant on Blue Hill Avenue (to his right, Merengue’s Hector Pina and, to the left of Pina, Mrs. Grossman)

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Here’s the riddle ; Steve Grossman, Massachusetts’s State Treasurer, should be the front runner for the Democratic nomination, but he isn’t. In every poll, he badly trails his main rival, Attorney General Martha Coakley.

That he won the Democratic convention’s endorsement doesn’t seem to matter at all. It often doesn’t matter to ordinary Primary voters, but never have I seen a convention endorsee trailing a rival by 30 points, as Grossman has until recently.

Grossman is articulate and authoritative, Coakley glib and vague. Yet she leads, and he trails. badly.

Grossman attributes it to “lack of name recognition,” and he’s right about that ; over 50 percent of voters intending to vote in the Democratic primary ay they don’t know him at all, or too little to have an opinion. But why is this so ? Grossman was elected statewide in 2010, in a hard fought and close race, and for at least twenty years before that he was a major Democratic activist — party chairman, national committeeman. Granted that these are party offices, not general public. But you would think that most members of his party, at least, would be fairly familiar with their top leaders.

I certainly thought so, but I have been wrong. Grossman’s lack of name recognition tells me that in Massachusetts, party identification doesn’t matter very much. Who we elect to state offices — unlike to national ones — is pretty much a non-partisan thing.

That, i think, is the real reason that Steve Grossman polls so poorly only seven weeks before the Democratic primary ; nonpartisan is something he has scant experience at being. His entire career has blossomed inside the cocoon of Party.

This year, Grossman’s career as party man especially hurts, because in this election the Democratic party — Grossman’s party — has concentrated its efforts almost entirely in the high-income, technology-oriented suburbs that surround boston and drive its economy and culture : Newton (where Grossman lives, Brookline, Watertown, Belmont, Cambridge, Wellesley, Lexington, Arlington, Concord, Lincoln, Winchester. In these communities os the money that Democratic candidates need. And the activists : the first Governor Forum of this season took place in Lexington in January and was attended by at least 300 people. When Juliette Kayyem chose a location whence to re-up her underdog candidacy, she chose Arlington. even Don Berwick, the Democrats’ ,most outspoken progressive, voices the issues of the high-income suburbs.

Meanwhile, the big cities, the most Democratic-voting communities in our state, have gone almost unattended until lately, and it shows. Last night Steve Grossman held a meet and greet at Merengue Restaurant on Boston’s blue Hill Avenue : about 20 people attended.

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20 for Steve : that was all…

This had to disappoint Grossman. He’s the convention endorsee, the meet and greet was hosted by a major Boston political player — Jovita Fontanez, a former election commissioner and veteran of 30 years of campaigns — and yet only 20 people showed up. Only two months ago, Felix Arroyo, running for a low-level office, Register of Probate in Suffolk County, put 100 people in the same room; and last year, Mike Flaherty, running or Boston City Council, drew at least that many to the same Merengue room.

Quite obviously, city activists have noted where the Democratic candidates have put their chips down and where not.

All three Democratic governor rivals — Coakley and Berwick as well as Grossman — are now making campaign stops all across boston, but it’s very late in the game, and it’s summer : many boston voters are off to Cape Cod or thinking vacation, not politics. it was so even in last year’s intense Mayor campaign. all the more so for governor candidates who talk the talk of Newton, Brookline, Lexington, and Arlington.

But Grossman is beginning to get it. campaigning to city voters entails something other than high-minded reform. it entails jobs. Speaking to the 20 attendees at last night’s meet and greet, Grossman hit a home run, not by voicing his strong support for the 1,000 refugee children now in Massachusetts — that was a given, for this entirely hispanic audience — but when he mentioned that “as governor i will supervise 85,000 jobs. imagine what it would mean for diverse communities if 35 percent of them were from diverse backgrounds !”

Jobs and more jobs. That is indeed what city activists want to hear. Jobs that won’t be laid off — as united Airlines is now doing to 650 gate attendees, whose $ 50,000 salaries will be replaced with minimum wage subcontractors. Jobs that can help a three-decker, renting family move up in life.

That Grossman cannot simply fire 35 percent of the state work force and replace them with his supporters didn’t seem to matter to his listeners. It was enough that Grossman at least understood what the objective is.

Grossman knows all the issues and articulates sensible answers to most. He spoke about the obstacles faced in Massachusetts by small businesses, especially those run by immigrants, women, and minorities — Merengue is just such a small business, nd its owner, Hector Pina, was in the room — and touted his work as Treasurer in securing $ 1.7 billion of bank loans for small businesses owned by women, minorities, and immigrants. No candidate for governor this year has a better handle on what such small businesses need; certainly Martha Coakley has yet to say anything of substance about it.

Grossman speaks with equal authority on just about every issue you can name, from state management to technology to energy to transportation, even education; yet it hasn’t mattered much — so far. That may be changing ; today’s Boston Globe poll has Grossman at 18 percent, Coakley at 46 : his best, her weakest showing yet.

A 28 point gap, however, is nothing to cheer about with so little campaign time left. And so Grossman is going to start door-knocking. He makes the point ; “door knocking, in a statewide race ? Yes. i want the people to see me and hear from me,” he told last night’s attendees.

He may well want voters to see and hear him; but the big reason for him to door-knock is that it will likely get him major media attention. door knocking, in a statewide race ? That IS news. And news, he needs. Lots of it, and lots more. Door-knocking is Grossman’s Hail Mary pass.

It may work. That and the one million dollars that he has in the bank, to spend on advertising, the final two weeks of the campaign, to all those 52 percent of primary voters — probably mostly City people — who don’t know much about him.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

#MAGOV14 CHARLIE BAKER STUMBLES. RECOVERS — AND POLLS WELL

1 Baker and Coakley BG

^ Baker stumbles, recovers, and polls well ; Martha Coakley pounces — but mishandles even that.

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Charlie Baker, GOP candidate for Governor, got a huge present yesterday : a new Boston Globe poll according hm his best numbers yet. In a matchup with likely Democratic nominee Martha Coakley he now gets 35 to her 40, with a full one-quarter of voters still undecided or supporting one of the non-party candidates.

This was good news indeed — and there was more: I’ll discuss it below — especially after days in which Baker, running as the accomplished manager of state government, stumbled in his management of himself.

On Wednesday he told the Boston Globe that “Hobby Lobby doesn’t change a thing in Massachusetts, because our own health care law accords women all their health care needs.”

Immediately all three Democratic candidates charged Baker with going South on women’s health care — Coakley, in her typical classless fashion, used Baker’s remarks to fuel a fundraising letter.

Actually, all three Democrats didn’t know the whole story. On Wednesday night Baker’s wife Lauren and his running mate, Karyn Polito, were on stage at NARAL’s “Supreme rally.” Both gave me — I was there as a WGBH journalist — statements in which they made very clear their outrage about both the Hobby Lobby and Buffer Zone Law rulings. I thus knew that the statement that Baker gave to the Globe could not be the entire picture.

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^ GOP Lieutenant Governor candidate Karyn Polito at Supreme rally : she gave me this statement : “I have always supported women’s rights to access health care and am here to protest the Supreme Court rulings !”

Next day, in fact, Baker reversed his remarks. He agreed that there might be some corporations in Massachusetts that would qualify under the Hobby Lobby ruling (in which the Court gave closely-held corporations an exemption from the ACA’s requirements on Freedom of Religion Act grounds)  for an exemption from providing women employees full access to contraceptive health care. “If that happens,” Baker said, “my administration will provide these women contraceptive health care through public funding.” Baker also encouraged Governor Patrick and legislators to devise a new abortion clinic “protection zone” in light of the Buffer zone law being struck down.

All good; and, in fact, the misspeak gave Baker a chance, in the full glare of news, to make clear his uncompromising support for women’s full access to health care, including pregnancy care.

That part of the flap will end; and it’s likely that Baker will now have many media opportunities to repeat his strong support for women’s health care. But he did stumble; and as the “competent manager’ candidate, Baker should not be stumbling how he manages his own statements. It better not happen again. Baker needs to be sure of himself, to speak his true mind and not to try to hedge — which is what I think he was attempting. Vital issues like women’s health care cannot be compromised away or smoothed; a Massachusetts governor has to be vocal, strong, morally sure of the right thing — as was Mayor Marty Walsh in his speech at the Supreme rally. Baker would do well to study vidclips of that speech and to adopt Walsh’s indignant moral certainty about the rights of women and of all. it’s what we expect, — and always have expected — here in Massachusetts, of our political leaders.

And now to the Boston Globe poll. If its findings are accurate, Baker stands in a very good position to be our next governor :

His favorable-unfavorable rating is 47 favorable, only 18 unfavorable. Yes, 20 percent of voters still don’t recognize his name. that needs be worked on.

Coakley’s numbers ? Not quite as good as Charlie’s. 54 favorable;le, 36 unfavorable. But only 6 percent of voters don’t recognize her.

Coakley’s the dominant Democrat.  Steve Grossman’s numbers are 32 percent favorable, 13 unfavorable, 55 percent unsure or don’t know him. Don Berwick, for all the news noise he has made, barely registers with voters : 10 percent favorable, 4 percent unfavorable, a full 86 percent unsure or don’t know him. Two months from primary day, Martha Coakley absolutely commands : 53 percent to Grossman’s 17 and Berwick’s 5.

The poll also shows that Massachusetts voters feel optimistic about our state’s economy and lifestyle. Asked to agree or disagree with the statement “living in Massachusetts is very expensive but worth it,”  a full 65 percent say it’s worth it, only 30 percent say it isn’t worth it.

Those who oppose casinos will also have to accept that their view is, thankfully, a minority position. 51 of voters say “keep the casino law in place”; 41 percent say repeal it.

Charlie Baker in this poll looks well positioned, despite all — despite the national GOP’s depressing negativity–  to be our next Governor : IF he can win a majority of the 20 percent still undecided. He will find himself leading voters who are glad to live in Massachusetts, even at great expense; who feel confident about the future; who care a lot about women’s health care rights, and who want an open, tolerant, liberal society — and will have it, well managed from the State House, assuming the manager candidate doesn’t fumble his advantage away.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

MAGOV14 : DIVISIONS AND UNITIES SHAPING THE OUTCOME

2 Speaker DeLeo3 Cha Baker

^ allies even though neither can admit it : the two men who dominate Massachusetts state politics today : Speaker DeLeo and GOP governor candidate Charlie Baker

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No one should have been surprised to see Don Berwick, the most vocally progressive Democratic candidate, win 15 percent of the Democratic convention vote last Saturday. The surprise was that he won much more : a full 22 percent, only one point behind second place finisher Attorney general Martha Coakley, who leads all polls but whom activists remain skeptical of and rightly so).

Berwick now commands a solid position in the Democratic field. Fringe he may once have been seen. No longer. He continues to win power endorsements, adding State Senators Ken Donnelly and Dan Wolf to his list. Wolf would have been a leading candidate himself, had the state’s Ethics Commission not caved his candidacy (as you may recall). His endorsement of Berwick will certainly matter for the Democrats’ September primary.

Berwick is surging because Democrats of an ideological bent want to be heard and felt and listened to. Progressives, as they style themselves, see that the state’s legislative leadership — all of it Democratic — does not share their concerns or support their agenda and that that leadership has the power to snuff progressive voices out. Time and time again i have heard progressive Democrats complain — bitterly — about “the legislative leadership,’ by which, of course, they mean Speaker Robert DeLeo. Berwick is the progressives’ answer to what they see as DeLeo’s shutting them out.

The current Speaker is definitely no progressive. His constituency is business. That and traditional labor, but business first of all. It’s about the money. Business interests have the ear of Speaker DeLeo — a fact he does not try to hide. As such, he is no friend of tax increases; when Governor Patrick last year called for $ 2 billion in new revenue for his Transportation Bill, the DeLeo-led House gave him $ 500 million, and that grudgingly.

That said, DeLeo’s business friendly agenda is no departure at all from the priorities of past speakers who, if anything, have been even more conservative than he.

In a state as Democratic voting as Massachusetts, business interests cannot afford to be exclusively, even primarily, Republican. Business has huge money to spend on lobbying its agendas, and it does so. Almost always, these past 25 years, business lobbying has dominated both the governor and the Speaker — the State’s two most powerful elected offices. In few states, if any, does the partnership between state government and local business go this far this successfully. Significantly that’s because a large portion of the state’s well-paying jobs, in building trades, health care, and education, arise from state government funds and legislation. In Massachusetts, the interests of business coincide with the interests of a great many wage earners and salaried people, and these people dominate the ranks of our state’s political activists. it’s no surprise at all that the current Democratic governor campaign has concentrated on the upper income suburbs of Boston and on the City’s highest income wards.

Unfortunately for Speaker deLeo, the state’s high-income voters (and some of its businesses are not uniformly as tax-skeptical as he is. Our state’s Progressives inhabit primarily the upper income city wards and suburbs. as such, now that they have hit upon the Governor primary as a vehicle to make themselves seriously felt, Democratic progressives have managed, with Don Berwick, to seriously inconvenience the Speaker and his very powerful legislative and lobbying allies. most of these would, I suspect, like to see Steve Grossman the Democratic nominee. They know him and they believe they can bring him to their side. In this they aren’t wrong. Grossman talks “job creator’ talk so aggressively you’d think he was Mitt Romney.

Yet even Grossman now calls himself “the progressive job creator.’ Obviously he sees himself being gouged from the left.

the division between the DeLeo constituency and the Progressives is causing big problems for Martha Cockney. Who, exactly, are her voters ? certainly not the progressives; almost certainly not the DeLeo people. as i see it, her voters are the non-involved, people who know her name and he work as Attorney General and not much else. Will that work in a Primary, in which the involved vote big time, the less involved not so much ? maybe so; because Coakley is the only woman in the race, and she polls very strongly with women voters. But we will see.

Meanwhile, as the Democrats split between progressives and DeLeo-ites, Charlie Baker is presenting a campaign perfectly attuned to alliance with DeLeo on business interests and also with DeLeo on labor issues. it is axiomatic in Massachusetts that only a Republican governor has a power base independent enough to face the Speaker on equal terms. the Progressives tally about 25 to 33 percent of Democrats, maybe 15-20 percent of all voters; much less than Charlie Baker’s 30-32 percent core.) Beyond the axiomatic, however, is baker’s current campaign, in which support for a $ 10.50 minimum age — the nation’s highest — is accompanied by expanding the earned income tax credit and initiating some tax credits to corporations for hiring welfare recipients and offsets to the wage hike. if you read Baker’s plan — see the link below ** — you’ll find it remarkably like what Speaker deLeo wants to enact. What is more, baker is having success bringing city voters to his side, communities of color included and several ethnic communities. He’s doing it in Boston and in Worcester and in Lynn, next door to his home town of Swampscott. Baker’;s Lynn campaign has drawn no media attention at all, but recently he has held several Lynn rallies at which hundreds of folks — mostly communities of color and immigrants — have gathered. Lynn is usually a 7500 vote victory for a democrat. I think Baker will carry Lynn this time. A 7500 vote turn around isn’t that big, but it is significant of Baker’s concentration upon Essex County generally : his home base, and one that he is pushing hard to win, as he probably must.

** Link to Charlie baker’s economic plan : https://charliebaker2014.com/opportunity

Some Democrats want to compare baker’s campaign to that of Scott Brown in 2012. The comparison is false. The Baker campaign is sui generis and quite ground breaking ion its unification of many voter groups who have much in common that has not been attended to by our state;s governor campaigns since at least 1994 if ever. While the Democrats split, the baker campaign unifies. i suspect that Speaker DeLeo is quite happy to see it. Nov ember’s result is beginning to take shape.

—- Mike Freedberg / here and Sphere

MAGOV14 : CHARLIE BAKER — THE 30 % MAN

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^ a scene he’ll have to repeat about 500,000 times : Charlie Baker wins a voter

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Both new polls of the Massachusetts Governor race make clear that Charlie Baker has a 30 percent chance of winning. Give or take, about 30 percent of Massachusetts voters support him no matter who his November opponent will be.

It’s a simple calculation. 30 percent support means 30 percent chance of winning, just aa 60 percent support means 60 percent chance of winning.

I say this even though about 33 percent of our state’s voters poll “undecided.” If Baker is to win, he will need to carry the undecided voters about two to one. Very rarely does a block of voters that large — in Massachusetts, 33 percent equals about 1,000,000 voters — pick any candidate by two to one.

Yesterday’s U Mass Poll gave us a more detailed look at the governor race than did Western Mass University’s poll last week. Let’s look both polls’ numbers now :

U Mass Poll                       Western Mass U Poll

Baker 34                             Baker 25
Coakley 45 ( und 21)     Coakley 54 (und 21)

Baker 29                              Baker 29
Grossman 35 ( und 36 ) Grossman 38 ( und 33 )

Baker 32
Kayyem 32 ( und 36 )

Baker polled much better in the U Mass Poll against Coakley, no better at all against Grossman. But this poll allows us a peek at something more ominous : how Baker polls against Juliette Kayyem. She draws a mere 3 % of the Democratic Primary vote — according to the poll — and so is, basically, a “generic Democratic vote.” Against a “generic Democrat,” therefore, Baker polls dead heat — but no better. This cannot be good news for a man now running his second statewide campaign for governor.

I said, last week in analyzing the Western Mass University poll, that Baker has a very narrow window to victory. The new poll confirms it. Against Coakley, he is down by 11 points with only 21 percent undecided. To beat her he’d have to win the undecideds by 17 to 4; that will not happen. If he wins the undecideds by 12 to 9 — which could happen — he loses to Coakley by 54 to 46, only a two point difference from the result suggested in the western Mass poll.

Against Grossman, U Mass’s poll offers Baker a marginally better chance than did the Western Mass. From that one, I suggested a 52 to 48 Grossman win (and an opportunity, among legislative insiders, for Baker to turn it around). The U Mass poll has a full 36 percent undecided; if Baker wins them 21 to 15 — a result very doable — he and Grossman tie at 50-50. If that happens, the insider action that I suggested in my previous column would almost certainly give Baker the corner office.

I say “would almost” rather than ‘will” because there’s other factors at work that the U Mass Poll highlights. You will note the “word cloud” statistic ? OK, what words do come to mind — in descending order of frequency — when you think of Baker ? Of Coakley ? Of Grossman ?

For Coakley : 1st, smart; 2nd, liberal; 3rd, honest; 4th, good’; 5th, strong. Democrat / that comes 6th.

For Grossman ; 1st, unknown; 2nd, unsure; 3rd, know; 4th, none.

For Baker : 1st, Republican; 2nd, unknown; 3rd, conservative; Businessman ? Hardly appears at all. Good ? Only a little better. Experienced ? way down the list.

These are hardly good associations for Baker. To be known chiefly as a Republican is, in Massachusetts, to have some ‘splainin’ to do. Conservative, even more ‘splainin’. Baker needs badly to rebrand himself, and he has very little time to do it. And no chance at all to beat Coakley to the words that generate a vote : smart, good, honest, strong — not to mention Democrat.

Baker’s associations do look more vote-productive than Grossman’s. How can an elected statewide office holder, the State Treasurer, poll unknown, unsure, none ? Grossman has spent tons of money to become known, so it seems, only by Democratic activists. With about seven months remaining in the campaign he is not on most voters’ radar. And yet — and yet ! — against the much better known — but “Republican, conservative” — Baker, he polls 6 to 9 points ahead.

The word cloud tells me that my prognosis for Baker in a contest against Grossman has been far too optimistic . If “unknown, unsure” Grossman beats Baker by 6 to 9 points, what will Grossman poll once he does become better known ?

Baker has to be sweating it. But this is what it’s like when you are a “conservative, Republican” drawing about 30 percent in Massachusetts. You have a 30 percent chance to win.

When it’s like that, and you’re in it, you gamble. You throw the dice as far ahead of you as you can.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

UPDATE : April 18, 2014 at 10 AM — turnout might help Baker a little,. In his home Congressional District, the 6th, there is an expensive, very close contest underway between incumbent Democrat John Tierney and Republican challenger Richard Tisei. This is a re-match for the two men; both are well known. Turnout will almost certainly tally higher than otherwise, by maybe 20,000 votes; and as Baker lives in Swampscott — the heart of the contest — he can only benefit. — MF

16TH SUFFOLK DISTRICT : WHAT DOES REVERE WANT ?

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^ probably the 16th Suffolk candidate to beat : Roselee Vincent, chairing the Revere Democratic caucus yesterday

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A Special Election, called when an officer holder leaves in the middle of his or her term, gives the communities involved unique opportunity to draw attention to themselves. For the 16th Suffolk State Representative District, from which office Kathi Reinstein resigned to become a voice for Boston Beer Company, that means Revere, the northernmost city in Suffolk County.

In general elections, Revere goes largely unnoticed; the hugeness of nearby Boston all but blocks it. Even now, with two Boston-based Special Elections taking place on the same March 4th Primary Day, Revere’s election lags behind. Every Boston news medium wants to know who will win the Dorchester state representative seat which now Mayor Walsh gave up. Many media are beginning to look at the donnybrook going on in Charlestown and Chelsea, the 2nd Suffolk district. In contrast, the Revere race goes wallflower.

Even the four candidates running seem hushed. None has even 100 twitter followers; two lack facebook pages. Compare that to the hundreds of twitter followers amassed in the 2nd Suffolk or the 1500 twitter accounts and hourly-active Facebook pages attuned to the Dorchester race.photo (12)

^ Chelsea’s Josh Monahan : well-informed with a city-management resume

Yet surely the question “what d0es Revere want ?” must have an answer. Waiting on one, I’ll mention a Revere issue already in play : the Mohegan sun / Suffolk Downs casino. On Tuesday, Revere people will vote whether to approve the plan or not. (Why this election is not taking place on Primary day, I will never figure. Truly our state is run by clown-eyes.) The Mohegan sun plan, which I find hugely inferior to Steve Wynn’s Everett proposal, seems likely to elicit a divided vote. Narrowly “Yes” looks to be the outcome. Do the four 16th Suffolk candidates support that outcome ? What plans do they propose for using the large mitigation money accruing to Revere if the State Gaming Commission awards Mohegan the Boston zone casino license ?

Of course there are other issues that face Massachusetts cities and towns this year : shall we expand pre-school education, and how to pay for it ? What level of Local aid money will Revere need in order to establish dual-language education in its public schools attended by so many newly resident children of Hispanic or Moroccan origin ? How strongly can — will — Revere push for state aid that Blue Line infrastructure repair calls upon, not to overlook purchases of new trains to replace cars that always break down ? What measures will the State take to alleviate the effects of rising sea levels that already threaten to flood almost every home along North Shore Road and its side streets ?

It will be interesting to hear what Roselee Vincent and Linda S. Rosa — the two Revere candidates — have to say. (I have already interviewed the other Democrat, Chelsea’s Josh Monahan, and he has plenty to say, most of it well informed and envisioned.) And that’s not all. This race has the distinction, unique in Suffolk County, of featuring a Republican candidate, Chelsea’s Todd Taylor, who appears to have significant support. I have yet to hear one word of issues from him, but he seems to belong to the Charlie Baker, reasonable GOP middle and is running in by far the most Republican-voting city in Suffolk County. Taylor faces the Democratic nominee on an April 1st election day. Debate seems assured. Hopefully Revere will benefit by having its concerns thus spotlighted.

A first candidates’ Forum takes place this Thursday evening at 420 Revere beach Boulevard.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

below : GOP candidate Todd Taylor and family

1 Todd Taylor candidacy

JIM FOURATT ON THE NEW YORK CITY MAYOR RACE

Here and Sphere has watched, from its onset, the loopy-palooza of a five-way Primary contest to determine who will likely succeed three-term Mike Bloomberg as New York City’s Mayor. It’s been a campaign just like the City it’s taking place in : big, loud, full of tricks and trick bags, shady-ness, a cheeky openly lesbian City Council President, a re-run candidate, new names, and — as we all know so well — the joys of sex-texting as presented by one “Carlos Danger,” who day-lights as candidate Anthony Weiner.

In addition Weiner, the Democratic Primary candidates are City Council President Christine Quinn, from Manhattan;  Bill DeBlasio, New York City Public Advocate (an elected position);  John Liu, City Comptroller (also an elected position);  and Bill Thompson, past Comptroller and candidate for mayor in 2009. (there is also a Republican Primary, in which former MTA chairman Joseph Lhota faces John Castimatidis, who owns the Red apple Group and also is CEO of the Gristede’s Supermarket chain.)

Who heads the list in polls changes from day to day, maybe from hour to hour, as this city of multi-millions living in every sort of different surrounding, on every sort of income level, by every manner of lifestyle, language — oddity, pushcart, sandwich board, rollerina, shell game, shopping binge, hard hat,  limo and taxi — moves through its demolition derby of a campaign toward choosing a next “how’m I doing” kind of Mayor.

One with power over a budget huger than that of almost every State and many nations, a budget encompassing hundreds of parks, schools and shelters, courts and police precincts, as well as hundreds of thousands of city employees, and tons of targets for the world’s terroristas.

What a job. And what a riot circus it all is.

NYC Mayor ... 5

^ The Big Five : Bill Thompson, Christine Quinn, Joseph Liu, Bill DeBlasio and in the center ring — Anthony Weiner

We are lucky to have an ongoing report by Jim Fouratt, progressive activist, articulate and earnestly opinionated, a New York City resident in the Big Apple’s grand tradition of citizen advocates. In fact we are reprinting his posted status reports from his Facebook page — as near to an on the street / intelligent view of the election as any we have read or expect to read.

August 6th : SHOULD CANDIDATE JOHN LIU GET MATCHING FUNDS ? YES

This morning I attended the hearing at the New York City Campaign Finance Board where they were to announce the granting of matching funds ($6 for every dollar under $175) for the Democratic Primary on Sept 10, Only John Liu, the City Controller and Mayoral was denied funds (over 3 million dollars) , The Board has 5 members, 2 appointed by Mayor Bloomberg (whose administration Liu exposed in a millions of dollars scam ) and two by the Speaker of the City Council Christine Quinn who also is running for Mayor and who will do anything to knock out her opposition for the nomination and the Mayor after consultation with the Speaker appoints the Chair. Liu’s lawyer argued for the granting of the matching funds They did mot. I thought each should have recused themselves . They did not. Listen to the Liu’s lawyer’s presentation…you will learn much more than from the mainstream media. Shocking.. or how Billionsberg and Boss Quinn get their revenge . Judge for your self :

August 2nd  AN INFORMED VOTE, NOT JUST AN EMOTIONAL VOTE : ANTHONY WEINER :

Maybe some NYers will get their noise out of his crotch and smell the fresh ideas Weiner is putting forward… i think the way he has handled the media drubbing is a good sign how he will handle actual matters that matter to most New Yorkers. Have you read his platform and his ideas? As to the people dredging up his positions from 25 years ago as the deBlasio folk seem stuck on ..how about finding out how he stands on rent regulation issues now? I did and found his answer for what happened in 1992 convincing Or the fact that he rides his bike to campaign stops should , one would think , answer were he is on bike lanes today. Remember we are electing a Mayor not a Pope… and yes i think he is wrong on the West Bank .. and will continue to challenge him on it … Please if you don’t want to support him for any reason .. than I suggest you stop targeting him and take on Quinn and her deceits and Thompson’s business and friendship alliances and look at Lui and how he stood up to the Mayor and had both the Times and the Post attacking him … just like Weiner. in the end what is important is an informed vote …not just an emotional vote … and yes i love you all.

Weiner defends his campaign here : 

July 29th : READ THE LETTER THAT  ANTHONY WEINER SENT TO VOTERS TODAY

I wonder how many of you so outraged about Wiener’s personal life would speak truthfully about your own sex life if a phalanx of cameras and mics were thrust in your face . Both your actual sex life and your fantasy sex life? Not that i personally care unless you are sleeping with me!

Anthony Wiener talks about a single payer for New York City, supports home rule (city) on rent regulation legislature and ride a bike to rallies… and that is just the beginning of why I think we should be talking politics and not tabloid gossip. He broke no law. All participants were consenting adults and how he and the woman he loves deals with it is their, NOT my, business,

here is what he sent to voters today”

“Dear Jim:

So here is what I learned this weekend – a lot of people who don’t have a vote, want to decide who our next Mayor will be.

TV pundits, newspaper publishers and, of course, my opponents – they’ve all made up their minds that they want to stop our campaign right now.

Well, at least they are consistent. These same folks have been howling about me running from the moment I first got in.

But this race isn’t about them. It’s about you. You should decide

I knew that revelations about my past private life might come back to embarrass me. I never hid from that possibility. But, I waged this campaign on a bet that the citizens of my city would be more interested in a vision for improving their lives rather than in old stories about mine.I am going to continue to lead the debate about ideas for the middle class and those struggling to make it. Soon, I will publish yet another book of ideas for New York. I will be giving more policy speeches and revamping our website to include even more ways that New Yorkers can become involved with our campaign. I’ll be showing up at community forums, televised debates, street fairs, worship services and just about everywhere that New Yorkers gather. In short, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve always done. I’m going to keep on fighting for my city. And then you get to decide who will be our next Mayor, not them.I hope to see you soon,Anthony”
JULY 23rd : RANT AGAINST COUNCIL PRESIDENT CHRISTINE QUINN
To all New York City voters and out-of staters who think it quite wonderful that the next Mayor of New York may be a woman and a lesbian. And i am talking to people like those in Emily’s list. Here is an entry into why most progressive people of ALL sexual orientations are united in their opposition to Speaker Quinn, Her old-time political machine tactics of control and punishment are seeded throughout this piece. I personally have seen her make members of the City Council cry when she whips them for not bending to her will. Get rid of her and her terrible political machine, A predator on the quality of life in this city.
July 10th : RANT ON THE CONTINUING FOCUS ON ANTHONY WEINER – ELIOT SPITZER SEX DOINGS
 am sick and tired of sleazy media jokes about sextexing .. (what is wrong with consenting adults doing it anyway … its safe sex and no one gets preggers) so please can we get back to what is important ? Or are we going to get stuck in ny post gossip inspired exchanged. What does the private, consensual sex activities of a politician have to do with how effective they can be as elected officials. Both Wiener and Spitzer stood up to wall street ..and they were right .. and they were brought down by wall street agents (see excellent documentary client 9 re spitzer) . So lets talk issues : Stringer vs Spitzer, Weiner vs Quinn or Liu …. and Weiner has put single payer health insurance for NYC on the table… and that is a huge reason to look at him…. and yes today he came out in favor of bike lanes .. and that flipped my helmet…. only Lui also remains in focus .. (uh as of today that is!)
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— Jim Fouratt on Facebook
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NOTE from Here and Sphere ; as long as Jim Fouratt permits us we will continue to post his reports on the New York City Mayor campaign. We also expect to supplement Jim’s observations with reports from our own newsies as the first voting day — the Primary — approaches — MF