MAGOV14 : MONEY TALKS, AND HERE’S WHAT IT SAYS

1 Baker and Coakley BG

^ Charlie Baker(right) trails Martha Coakley (left) in votes but he has already won the money campaign. He had running mate Karyn Polito have on hand more money than all three Democrats combined.

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Recent polls of the Massachusetts governor race show that Charlie Baker and his running mate Karyn Polito have plenty of catching up to do. If Attorney General Martha Coakley becomes the Democratic nominee, as seems most likely, Baker and Polito will find themselves nine to twelve points lacking. Much of that gap represents votes now going to independents Jeff McCormack and Evan Falchuk : about 13 percent, a tally larger than the gap between Baker and Coakley. Yet there is no reason at all to suppose that all these votes would be Baker’s were the two independents not in the race.

Yesterday i analyzed the huge catching up that baker and Polito will have to do if they are to win over Martha Coakley in November. Today I will analyze the strengths of the Baker/Polito campaign. First of all is the money. Below is what the four chief governor candidates reported for the second half of june :

Baker began the month at $ 881,184.92; he raised 311,968.50o; spent 84,998; and ended the month with $ 1,108,155.42.

Baker’s running mate Karyn Polito began the month with 421,284,48; raised 123,25.62; spent 43,536.75; and ended june with 500,953.15

Add Baker’s and Polito’s ending balances together, you find $ 1,609,108.57 — a huge amount compared to numbers reported by the three Democrats :

1.Martha Coakley began mid-June with 447,673.29; raised 134,155.23′ spent 91,572.33; and ended june with 490,296.19.

2.State treasurer Seve Grossman began mid June with 896,059.85; raised 103,993.19; spent 68,156.92; and closed out with 931,897.02.

3.Don Berwick reported 199,547.55 at mid June; raised 82,343.39; spent 57,012.30; and ended with 224,878.64.

the advantages here are all to Baker and Polito, and hugely so. because :

1.The Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor also raised money, but i do not parse it because on the Democratic side there is no team. None of the three Democratic candidates for Governor knows who his or her running mate will be, and none can team up with either of the two whose names will be on the Primary ballot.

2.Baker alone has raised more money, and has more on hand, than either of the three Democrats. Adding in Polito’s totals, the team has far more money on hand than all three Democrats combined. these are telling figures, because all the money raised by the candidates so far comes almost exclusively from individuals, not PACs, and represent actual voter support.

Baker continues to lack in votes what he gains in donations. Nonetheless, his — and Karyn Polito’s money raising represents solid strength which, if it continues, can reach a kind of “critical mass” as voters begin to feel the issues strength of the Baker/Polito campaign. I have said all along that Baker possesses two critical advantages : first, he has an actual running team mate and can thus project to voters both how he will govern and why he will be able to govern. Second, he and Polito have amassed an independent power following, easy to assess through their donor list, with which to confront Speaker DeLeo when legislation is at issue.

This argument has not registered with many voters yet;l with most it night never register, as such. But baker and Polito can project it by way of their focus on management and innovation — a major campaign theme for Baker at least since his party’s convention back in March. Being able to get Speaker Robert DeLeo to advance the governor’s legislative agenda is no minor matter,. it’s the essence of being governor in more than name only. Governor┬áPatrick has time and again had his legislative priorities rejected or amended almost beyond recognition; and Democratic Progressives have made no bones about being shut out of the Speaker’s agenda. If Baker — by his argument, his bio, or his vast fundraising base, or by all of these — can convince activist voters that he can move the Speaker as the three Democrats cannot, he can win this election, even though the polls right now do not show it.

He will have to regroup. The success that he seemed to have, at the beginning of June, in drawing city voters yo his side has faded. He needs to recover his city voter groove. He also needs to convince women voters that their health care concerns will be a priority for him. Polito will have to be the point person, a role that she is marvelously capable of. Indeed, if Baker wins, it will be because of Karyn Polito, both for her fundraising strength and her appeal to Worcester area voters and women generally.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

MAGOV14 : STRENGTHS OF THE CHARLIE BAKER ARGUMENT

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It doesn’t show in the polls, but Charlie Baker’s argument for why he should be the governor is a very strong one. He made that quite clear when he spoke last night to 200 people gathered at a fundraiser in his home town of Swampscott.

He spoke about great schools : “a school in which the principal has autonomy to direct the school is a great school. I saw just such a school in New Bedford. A standard school but with an excellent principal. It’s a level one school — top 20 percent performing. Why can’t we do this everywhere ? We need to leverage the strengths that are already have.”

Giving managerial autonomy to school principals is the core reform that Boston “interim’ superintendent John McDonough has put in place. It’s a reform that almost everybody supports. Baker is the first governor candidate who I have heard address this issue.

He spoke about state owned land. “There’s so much unused state-owned land in boston. Why can’t we develop it ? There are three high cost barriers to development in Boston : permitting, labor, and the land. Mayor Walsh is fixing the permitting. Labor will always be expensive. But why must the state have to make a profit on the land ? Let’s sell it low cost and develop affordable housing. It helps the City’s tax rolls and brings life to land where there was none.”

He spoke about local aid. “We cheat the cities and towns when we withhold local aid. 500 million dollars has been cut. As governor I’ll make sure that all the local aid fund goes to communities, because that’s how you build great communities. And so far I’m the only governor candidate who has made this pledge.”

You will notice what Baker did not say. Nothing about too high taxes, nothing about small government, nothing but cities, city issues, city problems.

Baker also laid down this challenge : “Both Karyn (Polito, his running mate) and I have long experience of local and state government; she in the legislature, me in the executive; and both of us have long experience in private business. No one running can match us. No one brings to this job what we do !”

He’s right. The Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Goverbor, especially, albeit well-meaning citizens, fall way short of Polito’s ten years in the legislature and service as a town selectman. Nor have any of Democratic candidates for governor, not even Don Berwick, anything like the wide-ranging experience that Baker can claim.

The Swampscott audience — all kinds and ages of people, too — loved Baker’s speech.

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^ Baker’s running mate, former Shrewsbury State Rep Karyn Polito

So what does Baker’s Swampscott pronouncement say about his chances of election ? It says a lot.

Right now he polls 30 to 32 percent of the vote; his chief potential November opponents poll an average of 37 and 49 per cent. These are daunting numbers; baker will be campaigning uphill all the way to election day. yet if he can stick to his current message, addressing city problems to city voters in a city way — and adding his quite forward ideas on technology transformation of state administration — he has a path to victory.

It may be his only path to victory. It is also exactly what the next governor needs to make his priority, his commitment, his work to accomplish. Because it is in the cities of our state that the future is being talked out, decided, and made.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere