Five theories on why Zakim topped Galvin

Secretary of State William Galvin lost to Boston City Council challenger Josh Zakim at the Democratic state convention over the weekend by a margin of 55-45 percent, and no one is quite sure what to make of it.

According to the Berkshire Eagle, Zakim’s victory is the first time in 36 years that an incumbent office-holder failed to win the support of convention delegates. Pundits are scratching their heads, wondering whether the upset is related to national political trends or local dynamics. Here’s a rundown of what people are saying:

GALVIN HAS NO ONE TO BLAME BUT HIMSELF. The Boston Globe cited a series of missteps by Galvin, including an angry call to Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera when Rivera announced he was supporting Zakim and the revelation that Galvin’s state employees were performing political tasks on government time. (Zakim’s employees at his Boston City Council office were caught doing the same thing.)

PROGRESSIVE BACKLASH. Massachusetts Democrats are angry about President Trump in Washington but can’t do much about it. So the theory is they are  taking their anger out on Galvin, a 24-year incumbent who Zakim has portrayed as being behind the times. “The Massachusetts Democratic Party estimated that 22 percent of the delegates were first-timers, and many of those newcomers since the 2014 convention were in their 20s,” said the Berkshire Eagle editorial. “They were stunned by the 2016 election results and angered by President Trump’s actions on the environment, taxes, social causes, and many other issues.”

Peter Lucas, a columnist for the Boston Herald and Lowell Sun, said Zakim catered to progressive anger by talking a lot about things that had very little to do with the secretary of state’s office, like women’s rights, being pro-choice, and standing up for immigrant rights. “It’s not just about administering an office,” Lucas quotes Zakim as saying. “It’s about leading and pushing for progressive changes.”

In the current environment, and particularly at a state Democratic convention in a very blue state, Galvin was at a disadvantage. “I don’t think there’s patience with this old way of doing things anymore,” said Maurice Cunningham, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston. “He is just another old white guy to be pushed aside,” Lucas said of Galvin.

THE WALSH FACTOR. It’s one thing for US Rep. Seth Moulton to back Zakim, who, like Moulton did, is taking on an incumbent. But why is Boston Mayor Marty Walsh getting involved? Even though Walsh did not attend the state convention, there were widespread press reports that the mayor urged delegates from Boston to back Zakim. Walsh’s motives are unclear. He had no problem backing incumbent congressman Michael Capuano over Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, but for some reason he apparently prefers Zakim to Galvin. Could Walsh be delivering a little payback for Galvin’s opposition to the height of the proposed Millennium Partners tower at Winthrop Square, a controversial real estate project that paid big dividends for the city?

THE NAME GAME. Lucas says Galvin is facing the same challenge that former attorney general Edward McCormack was confronted with in 1962 when he ran for the US Senate against Edward M. Kennedy. Kennedy had no resume at the time, but voters loved his last name so he won and McCormack lost. The name Zakim doesn’t have quite the cachet as Kennedy, but Lucas points out that the Zakim Bridge is named after the city councilor’s famous father, Leonard Zakim. “Everybody has heard of the Zakim Bridge. Not everybody has heard of Billy Galvin,” Lucas said. “To drive home the connection, Zakim has termed his candidacy as a ‘bridge to progress.’ Get it? His campaign literature has an image of the iconic bridge on it.

Now Galvin finds himself not only running against a man, but running against a bridge as well.”

AGE MATTERS. Galvin is 67, nearly twice the age of Zakim, who is 34. Some voters may just think it’s time for a change.

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

Legislation pending on Beacon Hill would rein in a fundraising practice of Gov. Charlie Baker’s that has raised lots of eyebrows and helped him pad his coffers with millions of dollars for his reelection battle, but Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who’s cozy with Baker, is showing no interest in having the bill move forward. (Boston Globe)

The state comptroller is trying to figure out how many state employees receive untaxed perks, a practice that could leave the state exposed to millions of dollars in penalties to the federal IRS. (Boston Globe)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Hingham officials are refusing to identify the town employee who received an $86,500 settlement in the midst of an undisclosed investigation last year and wrote into the agreement a clause that penalizes the employee for talking about the settlement. (Patriot Ledger)

Salem is trying to decide how to spend its Community Preservation Act funds. The current list of proposals includes $150,000 for golf paths at the city-owned golf course, $26,500 for roof work at the House of the Seven Gables, and $100,000 for the Salem Common bandstand. (Salem News)

While Boston looks to clamp down on Airbnb rentals, those who have built up apartment cleaning businesses servicing short-term rentals are fretting. (Boston Globe)

Westport has hired a public health director for the first time in two decades to oversee a department that has not had a senior employee in more than 18 months. (Herald News)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Prosecutors in the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller have asked a judge to revoke bail for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, accusing him of witness tampering in his federal tax and money-laundering case. (New York Times)

President Trump disinvited the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to a ceremony at the White House, citing the controversy over the national anthem. (Washington Post) Many team members, however, called out the president for being disingenuous because he was embarrassed that most players weren’t attending. (ESPN)

Jaclyn Cashman and Joan Vennochi both shake their heads at Bill Clinton’s #MeToo comments yesterday, with Cashman writing in the Herald that Clinton, incredibly, painted himself as the victim in the Lewinsky scandal, while Vennochi writes in the Globe that by keeping a prominent Democrat’s #MeToo problems in the news, he’s “the gift that keeps on giving for President Trump.”

ELECTIONS

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively filed a $7 million lawsuit against Gov. Charlie Baker and the state GOP for helping Baker before the primary. (MassLive)

Former governor Deval Patrick expects to make a decision about running for president by the end of this year. (Politico)

Lori Trahan, one of the slew of Democrats running in the Third Congressional District, calls herself the “founder of a women-owned company,” but the story is more muddled than that. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Chronicle of Philanthropy (subscription required) has a special report on “the disappearing donor,” looking at the erosion of charitable giving in the United States.

The iconic Ice Cream Smuggler in Dennis may soon be evicted from its home of 40 years after the state Appeals Court upheld a ruling that the building’s owner and founder of the shop did not violate the lease agreement with the new owners. (Cape Cod Times)

EDUCATION

Six Saugus High School seniors were suspended from post-season athletics after they lit up celebratory cigars at graduation. (Wicked Local)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA is taking another run at overnight service, but this time the transit agency is adopted a cautious, incremental approach that relies entirely on buses. (CommonWealth)

T notes: Uber and Lyft are popular with the T’s paratransit riders; a dedicated lane for buses and bicyclists is a huge hit in Roslindale, but for now its shut down; and a state study on the North-South Rail Link is due out this month. (CommonWealth)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Recycling costs to municipalities are soaring as China, the main outlet for these materials, cracks down on the high rate of impurities that land in the mix. (Boston Globe)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley is asking for the public’s help in tracking down the older model Chrysler 300 (and ultimately its owner) that is suspected in the hit-and-run that killed 40-year-old Pierre Desir last month in Dorchester. (Dorchester Reporter)

A Mashpee family who lost a son in Iraq in 2008 is pleading with the person who stole a memorial in their front yard to the fallen soldier to “just put it back.” (Cape Cod Times)

In a single-justice ruling, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Scott Kafker said convicted pedophile Wayne Chapman can be released because he has met the criteria established to end civil detainment of sex offenders who have completed their court-imposed sentence. (Boston Globe)

Former state senator Brian Joyce, who is facing a multiple federal corruption charges, got court permission to sell his Canton law office, the proceeds of which his lawyer says he needs for living expenses and legal charges. The property had been used to secure the $250,000 bond Joyce was released on following his arrest. (Boston Globe)

More drug dealers are being held without bail in Bristol County as prosecutors increasingly use dangerousness hearings to convince judges to hold the defendants for trial. (Herald News)