Baker PAC does well backing incumbent Dems

The super PAC with ties to Gov. Charlie Baker did very well on primary night, but the results were skewed because so many of the candidates it supported were incumbents and heavy favorites.

Overall, the Massachusetts Majority PAC spent $154,687 in August backing 22 candidates – 18 Democrats and four Republicans, mostly for state legislative seats. Nineteen of the PAC’s candidates won, including three Democrats and two Republicans who were running for open House seats, according to official and unofficial returns. The Democrats were Rob Consalvo of Boston, Jessica Giannino of Revere, and Ted Philips of Sharon and the Republicans were Kelly Pease of Westfield and Steven Xiarhos of Barnstable.

The Massachusetts Majority PAC, which is financially supported by well-connected business officials, tends to support moderate Democrats and Republicans. The PAC reflects Baker’s aversion for lefty progressives as well as conservative Trump Republicans. Baker, who does not support President Trump, recently described himself as a member of the “pragmatic and practical Republican Party.”

All 14 incumbents backed by the PAC won. The three losses came when the PAC supported candidates who had launched riskier campaigns. For example, Massachusetts Majority backed John Lally, a young Brockton city councilor, who mounted an unsuccessful challenge against incumbent Rep. Michelle DuBois of Brockton. DuBois had describedLally as very conservative – “a Democrat in name only.”

The PAC also backed Shishan Wang of Andover, who lost to Jeffrey Dufour of Tewksbury in a Republican primary for the right to take on incumbent Rep. Tram Nguyen of Andover. (Nguyen defeated Jim Lyons in 2018, and Lyons, a strong Trump supporter, is now the head of the state Republican Party.)

Wang described himself in a Patch candidate profile as someone who would “represent a more moderate viewpoint,” while Dufour said in a similar profile that he wanted “to become a common sense voice for the people of this district, whose views are more conservative than those of our current representative. Right now, our focus should be on reviving our economy, while controlling spending and taxes.”

The Baker PAC’s biggest swing and a miss came in a race for the Governor’s Council. The PAC spent $48,000 on direct mail advertising supporting political newcomer Padraic Rafferty, who was taking on Paul DePalo in a Democratic primary race for the Governor’s Council seat from the Worcester area.

The Governor’s Council votes on judicial and magistrate appointments made by the governor.  Rafferty and DePalo were running for a seat vacated by Jennie Caissie, the lone Republican on the council and a strong backer of Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. Caissie left the seat in 2019 when Baker appointed her the clerk magistrate of Dudley District Court; her appointment passed the Governor’s Council on a 5-2 vote.

DePalo ran against Caissie in 2018 and came up short, but he won the support of many of the district’s top Democrats. He supports revamping the juvenile justice system, while Rafferty voted for Caissie in 2016 and works at a law firm that has been a big supporter of Polito.

Rafferty loaned his campaign $25,000 and Massachusetts Majority poured nearly $48,000 into the race for direct mail advertising in support of Rafferty. Combined, Rafferty and the PAC spent about $90,000 on the race, more than four times what DePalo spent.

In August, DePalo expressed concern that Rafferty and Baker were trying to buy the seat. On Tuesday night, however, he said his work in the district and his campaigning for change in the criminal justice system resonated with voters.

“Organization and relationships matter more than money,” he said. “The overwhelming support that the voters have given us is a pleasant surprise.”

The Baker PAC also supported incumbent Democrat Terrence Kennedy of Lynnfield in his apparently successful race for Governor’s Council against Heline Fontes of Lynn. With 92.5 percent of precincts reporting, Kennedy was ahead 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent.

The other incumbents backed by the PAC included Democratic Sens. Nick Collins of Boston and Walter Timilty of Milton as well as Democratic Reps. William Galvin of Canton, Daniel Ryan of Boston, David Rogers of Cambridge, Frank Moran of Lawrence, Jerald Parisella of Beverly, Joseph McGonagle of Everett, John Lawn of Watertown, John Rogers of Norwood, Kevin Honan of Boston, and Paul Donato of Medford. The PAC also supported incumbent Republican Rep. Nick Boldyga of Southwick.





US Sen. Ed Markey beats back a challenge by Joe Kennedy III, the first defeat ever by a Kennedy running in Massachusetts.

The race for Joe Kennedy III’s House seat is too close to call, as Jesse Mermell and Jake Auchincloss are neck-and-neck with 80 percent of precincts counted. Mermell says thousands of votes have yet to be counted, while Auchincloss expressed confidence he will ultimately win.

No Ayanna Pressley surprises this year. US Rep. Richard Neal defeats Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse and leads an incumbent sweep of congressional races with US Reps. Seth Moulton, Stephen Lynch cruising to primary victories.

Incumbents Rep. David Nangle of Lowell and Sen. James Welch of Springfield are ousted by Vanna Howard, an immigrant from Cambodia, and Springfield City Councilor Adam Gomez, who says he will be the first Afro-Latino in the state Senate.

Voters and the Boston Election Department report problems with mail-in ballots.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement scores a big victory, convincing a federal appeals court to lift an injunction that barred ICE agents from making civil arrests of undocumented immigrants at Massachusetts courthouses.

Opinion: Jim Stergios of Pioneer Institute and state Sen. Ryan Fattman say executive branch overreach and blanket orders from the governor are having harmful effects on the state.

FROM AROUND THE WEB             



Lawrence Rep. Frank Moran, who is battling throat cancer, beat back primary challenger Marinela Rivera to win the Democratic nomination for a fifth term as state rep. (Eagle-Tribune)

Northboro resident Meghan Kilcoyne wins the Democratic primary for the open House seat now held by Rep. Hank Naughton and will face Republican Susan Smiley and Green-Rainbow candidate Charlene DiCaligero in November. (Telegram & Gazette)

Springfield City Councilor Orlando Ramos wins the Democratic primary in the 9th Hampden District and will replace retiring Rep. Jose Tosado. (MassLive)

In Ludlow, two school committee members, Republican James “Chip” Harrington and Democrat Jake Oliveira, will face off in November to replace retiring Rep. Thomas Petrolati. (MassLive)

In the Westfield race to replace Rep. John Velis, who is now in the Senate, Republican political newcomer Kelly Pease beat long-time city councillor Dan Allie and will face Democrat Matthew Garlo and independent Ethan Flaherty in November. (MassLive)

Former Yarmouth deputy police chief Steven Xiarhos defeated Thomas Keyes in the Republican primary for state representative in the 5th Barnstable District. (Cape Cod Times) 

Revere City Councilor Jessica Giannino defeats Joe Gravelese in the Democratic primary for the House seat being vacated by RoseLee Vincent. (Daily Item)

On the North Shore, clerks are surprised at the high volume of in-person voters. (The Salem News)

A Boston couple says they were given the wrong ballot when they voted early at their Boston polling place. They have filed a complaint with the Boston Elections Department. (MassLive)

The Biden campaign is renewing campaign efforts in the Upper Midwest, critical battleground states that are now also a focus of attention because of the disturbances in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Washington Post)


Gov. Charlie Baker says he activated the National Guard at the request of municipal leaders, who were worried about protests getting out of hand. (MassLive) His move is coming in for criticism from some who say it exacerbated “us vs. them” feelings prompted by protests. (Boston Globe)


Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu defends her recent move to block mayoral appointments to the city’s Zoning Board of Appeal. (Boston Globe)

The body of US Army Sgt. Elder Fernandes was returned home to Brockton on Tuesday. Fernandes, who was missing for more than a week from Fort Hood in Texas before his body was found. (Brockton Enterprise)


President Trump’s new coronavirus advisor, Dr. Scott Atlas, has questioned the scientific evidence for wearing masks to prevent the virus’s spread. (New York Times)


The Trump administration is seeking to expand the collection of biometric data from immigrants. (NPR)


Developer Stephen Weiner fires back at construction honcho John Fish in their nasty lawsuit over a partnership they once had to build a luxury condo building on Boylston Street in Boston. (Boston Globe)


Bourne schools superintendent Kerri Anne Quinlan-Zhou and a handful of central office employees are in quarantine after having close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. (Cape Cod Times)


A new 50,000-square-foot library is set to open in Weymouth this month after years of planning and construction. (Patriot Ledger)


Commercial jetliners approaching Los Angeles International Airport report seeing a man wearing a jetpack at 3,000 feet. (New York Times)


A white Groveland man accused of following a black woman in his car as she walked in her neighborhood is charged with disturbing the peace. (Eagle-Tribune)

Nine current and former Boston police officers were arrested Wednesday morning and charged with collecting fraudulent overtime payments. (Boston Globe)


The city of Worcester tells the Telegram & Gazette that it will no longer redact the conclusions of internal affairs reports released to the public. The T&G had argued in court that the redactions violated the Public Records Law. (Telegram & Gazette)

WGBH is rebranding as GBH to reflect the fact that its digital platforms, as opposed to TV and radio, are now bringing in more and more listeners and readers. By dropping the W, the enterprise thinks the name better reflects its national reach. (Boston Business Journal)