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¬†Patrick 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

#MAPOLI : BAKER TAKES A RIGHT TURN…AND OTHER VEERINGS

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the would be Governor stoops for a spot of Tea : Karyn Polito to be Charlie Baker;s running mate

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A number of high-visibility Massachusetts pols did the attention-getting unexpected today. Perhaps the biggest such event of the day, however, was not a happy move and had the feeling of a surrender  : Charlie Baker, who almost certainly will be the Republican nominee for Governor next year, anointed one Karyn Polito as his Lieutenant Governor sidekick.

Who IS Karyn Polito ? A former State Representative from Shrewsbury and the 2010 Republican candidate for Treasurer. And why her ? It is speculated that Baker chose her because ( 1 ) Baker lost women voters in the 2010 Governor election by 24 points and ( 2 ) she is popular with the Worcester County Tea folks. As I wrote three days ago, Polito recently spoke at an event on the South Shore at which the featured guest was one Allen West, a stridently contemptuous, Tea party favorite and one-term (defeated) Florida Congressman. Polito is said to have praised West in her own speech at that event. That would be reason enough to wonder why Baker would link his candidacy to Polito, who served as campaign chair for Michael Sullivan’s right-wing US Senator campaign earlier this year. Sullivan’s opposition to marriage equality (and of course to transgender civil rights) mirrored Polito’s own recent legislative record. (Baker’s campaign says tat Polito has since come around and now shares his views on social issues.)

All of this represents a huge shift for Baker, who in 2010 chose as his running mate Richard Tisei, an openly gay State Senator who vigorously supports lifestyle civil rights — indeed, he was the original legaislative sponsor of the transgender rights bill that was enacted as law last year. As it happens, Polito, too, has made her own huge shift. During the Romney years she was — like almost all Massachusetts Republicans — strongly pro-choice and supportive of marriage equality. Of course we all know what Mitt Romney did in the years since he left he Massachusetts governorship. Polito has simply followed his example, bowing her reformist record to the voices who want to repeal all reform.

Such is the politician whom Baker has chosen as his symbol this campaign cycle : a gravatar of reaction, a face of opposition to nearly everything the GOP has stood for in Massachusetts since it was founded. Well might I call the Baker-Polito ticket “anti-Republican.”

Baker had other options. He could have chosen State Representative Geoff Diehl, a social progressive who spearheads the “Tank the Gas Tax” movement. He might have gone really bold and picked Pamela Julian, leader of the League of Women Voters and a force in Boston. Elizabeth Childs of Brookline was a possibility. I would have preferred any of these.

Will this ticket likely succeed with Massachusetts voters ? As hardly anybody votes for a Lieutenant Governor, in the end it probably won’t matter to anyone who isn’t a political junkie. But it should. A successful candidacy gives the angry anti’s of the Tea party a credibility that right now they thankfully lack.

Connolly w Chin

^ John Connolly as WHAT ? Mayor Walsh’s new school superintendent ? Not damn likely

No sooner had I digested this swig of political castor oil than news came that, in an interview by radio host Jim Braude, Mayor-elect Marty Walsh said that he “absolutely do(es) not rule out asking John Connolly to be his new superintendent of schools.”

WTF ? Immediately came the waves of outcry from the teachers union activists, the Diane Ravitch groupies, and the opponents of charter schools and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. That was to be expected. But I too, a supporter of Connolly and his “school transformation” vision, found the suggestion a red herring — or maybe a sly nick. Connolly is screwed by this knee-chop remark no matter how he responds — IF he does respond. His best response being to not respond at all. Clearly John Connolly has a ton of career options better than the tainted biscuit that Walsh so suavely served up.

Whoever agrees to be Mayor Walsh’s superintendant of schools is bound to disappoint almost everyone : school parents wanting big reform, the Teachers Union opposing every reform except its own politically unlikely agenda, the administrators, principals, kids — you name it. Boston’s public schools need significant reconfiguration; almost any new superintendent won’t be able to get it done. Why should John Connolly descend into that vortex ?

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^ Guess who is heading to Israel as a guest of the ADL ? Yup, Council Felix G. Arroyo.

No sooner had I digested the Connolly suggestion than Councillor Felix G. Arroyo announced that he is visiting Israel next week as a guest of the Anti-Defamation League. This surprised me. Most politicians allied with the Labor Left — and Arroyo is definitely there — are supporters of the Palestinians, not the ADL. So what is up ? Politicians make trips to Israel when they have high officer in mind. Might Felix G. Arroyo be thinking of running for Lieutenant Governor ? It would make sense. He would enhance the Democratic ticket no matter which of the four likely hopefuls becomes the nominee. He’d be an inspired choice. Is Arroyo on it ?

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

NOTE : this is article was updated December 5, 2013 at 8:00 am.