Worcester Mayor Favors Guv Longshot and Other Disparate, Attention Grabbing Items

Monday, February 10, 2014

Worcester Mayor Joe Petty publicly endorsed way-under-dog Joe Avellone for governor last week.  Avellone, an executive at a drug-development company and a former selectman in the Town of Wellesley, is one of five candidates in the Democratic primary.  This obviously disappointed Attorney General Martha Coakley, who holds a huge lead in polls among Democrats and Independents who say they will take a Democratic ballot in the primary, and State Treasurer Steve Grossman.  Apart from the mayor’s obvious affection for Avellone, whose wife is from a prominent Worcester family, the endorsement was a good move for Petty in that it made news around the state and it reminded statewide office holders and would-be office holders that they have to pay attention to New England’s second largest city.  You can be sure Charlie Baker, the presumptive Republican nominee, will be energetically courting Mayor Petty in the likely event Avellone does not win the nomination.  There are a lot of votes in Worcester County, a fact Ed Markey never lost sight in his race for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate last year.

Speaking of Democrats, Peter Lucas had a great column in TheValleyDispatch.com last week on how difficult it is for a state treasurer or an attorney general to be elected governor.  The only time a treasurer has won the top job in modern history, Lucas noted, was 60 years ago when Foster Furcolo did it.  “But perhaps the best thing he (Grossman) has going for him is that his main Democrat Party opponent for governor is Attorney General Martha Coakley,” Lucas wrote.  “Voters in Massachusetts do not elect attorney generals governor either.  Two of Coakley’s immediate incumbent predecessors – Tom Reilly and Scott Harshbarger – ran for governor and lost, as did former Attorney General Frank Bellotti in 1990, as well as the late Attorney General Robert H. Quinn in 1974.  The road to the governor’s office is simply strewn with candidates who came out of the offices of state treasurer and attorney general.”  You can find that Lucas column at: http://www/thevalleydispatch.com/editorial/ci_25083574/peter-lucas-can-gov-wannabe-grossman-overcome-curse-of-the-purse?

Mitt Romney proved you could become governor, and actually govern, without developing a relationship with most members of the legislature, or even knowing who most legislators were.  This  must comfort Jeff McCormick as he recovers from an interview last week with Jim Braude on Boston public radio.  According to the State House News Service, Braude asked McCormick, a new Independent candidate for governor, if he had voted in local elections.  When McCormick assured him he had, Braude followed up, the SHNS reported, by asking whether he has done any work with local representatives or senators; when McCormick said he hadn’t, Braude asked if he knew who his local representatives in the legislature are.  McCormick reportedly responded:  “You know.  Do I know?  No. Our reps and senators – I never work with them.” 

When Senate President Therese Murray announced this past Saturday she would not seek re-election to the Senate this fall and would serve as president through 2014, the Boston Globe contacted several current and former legislative leaders for comment.  Former Minority Leader Richard Tisei paid Murray what may well be the highest compliment she will ever receive, in my opinion.  “Although we were on opposite sides of the aisle, I had a lot of respect for her, because she ran the Senate in a very professional and effective way,” Tisei was quoted as saying.  “At a time when you can look down in Washington and see how poisonous things are down there, she took great pains to make sure the atmosphere in the Senate was one in which everybody could work together…Democrat or Republican, everyone looked forward to going into work, and that’s a great legacy to leave behind.”  Everyone looked forward to going into work.  Can a boss generate higher praise than that?  I’m sure Tisei said that knowing Murray, a traditional, party-loyal Democrat, will never endorse him in his congressional race rematch with John Tierney.

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