Globe and Herald throw endorsement curves
Globe backs Libertarian for auditor; Herald supports Healey
YES, IT’S A FAIR QUESTION to ask how much influence newspaper endorsements have in an era of declining circulation — or to wonder how much sway they have ever had for that matter. But they’re still an interesting measure of the thinking on important election contests, and Boston’s two daily newspapers offer up some surprises this morning.
In the race for state auditor, the Boston Globe takes a pass on both Democratic incumbent Suzanne Bump and Republican challenger Helen Brady (as well as Green-Rainbow candidate Edward Stamas) and throws its support behind Libertarian Party nominee Dan Fishman.
For an office charged with rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in a state where Democrats have a lock on the Legislature and a Republican holds the governor’s office, the paper says Fishman “makes a good case that an auditor from either party is inherently compromised.”
While the paper admits it is an unusual move to back a third party candidate, there is nothing surprising in its rejection of Bump. The Globe joined with virtually every paper in the state in endorsing her Republican opponent in the 2010 race for the then-open seat, and it stayed true to its anti-Bump ways four years ago, endorsing Bump’s Republican challenger in her first reelection bid.
The knock on Bump has always been that, as a longtime fixture in Democratic Party politics in the state, she is ill-suited to expose problems in state government without fear or favor. In slamming her tenure, the Globe editorial cites the ongoing State Police payroll scandal, “which somehow escaped the incumbent Democratic auditor’s notice.” (Bump told the Springfield Republican editorial board yesterday that she plans to look into overtime issues at the State Police.) The Globe also tees up her “embarrassingly partisan audit of the Registry of Motor Vehicles,” which she falsely accused of issuing driver’s licenses to people who were dead.
While it was the choice of the Libertarian Party challenger that was surprising about the Globe endorsement, not its snub of Bump, there is nothing that seemed to set the stage for the Boston Herald endorsement of liberal Democratic attorney general Maura Healey. The paper’s editorial page has taken a decidedly right turn since its recent handoff to Tom Shattuck, morphing from a moderate Republican voice to Trump cheerleader.
But none of that seemed to stop the paper from gushing over the state’s activist AG, who has become a leader of the legal resistance through multiple court challenges to Trump policies.The endorsement praises her for everything from her work on the opioid crisis to taking on utilities and problems at the State Police. It doesn’t explicitly address her role as a leading Trump opponent — but certainly hints at it, calling her a “rising political star” who is a “player on the national stage.” She may well be making a mark on a broader stage, but given the Herald’s clear rightward leaning, it is a bit baffling why the paper is celebrating that.
The endorsement doesn’t even bother to name Healey’s underdog Republican challenger, Jay McMahon, never mind offer an argument for why he’s not the right guy for the job, undoubtedly a bitter pill for the conservative Cape Cod lawyer, who could use all the friends he can find.