Endorsement surprises

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.”

A software engineer with a background in IT, Fishman seems like good fit for the job, says the paper. “Government waste in the 21st century hides in databases like payroll records, and although Fishman isn’t a CPA (neither is Bump), he has an intriguing background for a modern auditor.”

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.



A search of social media in the wake of the slaughter of 11 congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue found thousands of anti-Semitic images and messages, showing how pervasive the sites are in fanning bigotry. (New York Times) Strict Jewish observations regarding death that require burial as soon as possible, the deceased not be left alone, and ritual cleansing of bodies resulted in volunteers guarding the bodies as officials combed the crime scene before the victims were allowed to be removed. (New York Times) President Trump planned to visit Pittsburgh on Tuesday despite a petition from thousands of residents saying he isn’t welcome and the mayor urging him to delay because of security concerns over providing officers for both the funerals and the visit. (Washington Post) Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a speech in Boston, decries the killings as an attack on “all people of faith,” but is interrupted by several religious leaders protesting the administration’s policies toward immigrants. (Boston Globe)


Boston officials are urging fans to celebrate responsibly as the city braces for as many as 1 million people to attend tomorrow’s parade honoring the Red Sox on their Word Series championship. (Boston Herald)

A recycling company continues to operate in Freetown’s industrial complex despite more than 400 complaints from residents over noise and a cease and desist order from the town. (Standard-Times)


President Trump says he can and likely will issue an executive order stripping citizenship from children born in the country with non-citizen parents, a move most legal scholars say runs afoul of the Constitution. (Washington Post)


In the only debate between the candidates for lieutenant governor, Democrat Quentin Palfrey said the state’s highest court was drifting to the right and showing its partisan leanings in tax-related rulings while Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito touted the administration’s support of gun control and bipartisan leadership. (Greater Boston)

Two union officials, one in education (Barbara Madeloni) and one from health care (Jane McAlevey), explain why they are voting yes on Question 1 to set mandatory nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. (CommonWealth)  A Berkshire Eagle editorial urges a no vote on Question 1. Karen Donelan, a nurse workforce researcher, offers up nine points on the ballot question. (WBUR) The Globe reviews a string of of “unsafe staffing” reports, thousands of which are filed each year by nurses saying their hospital unit is dangerously understaffed.

Campaigning in Lynn, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez vows to restore ferry service to the city and extend the Blue Line there. (Daily Item)

A crop of women candidates are looking to gain ground in Massachusetts state legislative races, but even if they meet with lots of success next Tuesday, the state will remain a laggard, not a leader, in female representation. (Boston Globe)

The Herald’s Kimberly Atkins says Trump is determined to stir up fear of immigrants as a central issue in next week’s midterm elections by sending troops to the border.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is using her opponent, Geoff Diehl, as a warm-up sparring partner for a possible match-up against Trump in 2020, writes the Globe’s Victoria McGrane. (Boston Globe)

A new survey shows young first-time voters are motivated by school shootings to go to the polls in record-breaking numbers but many are ill-informed of the issues and candidates, with nearly half unable to name a single candidate on their ballot. (U.S. News & World Report)


There will be a new Boy Scout troop in Milford beginning in February — made up of girls, one of a handful of new female troops as the organization opens its membership to all genders. (MetroWest Daily News)


The federal trial challenging Harvard’s admission policies is pulling back the curtain on the hundreds of factors it considers in winnowing the field of 42,000 applicants down to 2,000 acceptance offers. (Boston Globe)

UMass President Marty Meehan says the university’s five campuses will retain their policies allowing transgender people to choose which bathroom to use regardless of the outcome of Question 3, which seeks to reverse the state’s public accommodations law. (State House News)

Adjunct faculty and UMass Lowell may have a contract both sides can support. (Lowell Sun)

A report examining alleged racial profiling at Smith College finds no wrongdoing by staff. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)


The New York Times takes a look at the stunning fall of a renowned Harvard medical researcher after the school said earlier this month that more than 30 studies he and his team conducted over the last decade around heart cell growth contained false and fabricated data.


With only one company bidding on the contract, the cost for the MBTA to provide ferry service is going way up. (CommonWealth)

T notes: Rebranding the corporate pass as Perq…T General Manager Luis Ramirez wants to invest more in employees….Crime is down at the T. (CommonWealth)


The Globe reports that former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez had been smoking K2, often sometimes referred to as a synthetic form of marijuana, which can cause strong hallucinations, in the two days before he committed suicide in his prison cell.

The Herald News alerts readers where registered sex offenders live in Fall River in advance of Halloween trick-or-treating.


Disney will be forced to sell off 22 regional sports networks it will acquire in its takeover of 21st Century Fox under an antitrust order from the Justice Department. (Wall Street Journal)