Markey ‘wins’ state Dem convention

Ed Markey is going to win the state Democratic Party’s nomination for US Senate without even having to go to the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell and give a speech.

Gus Bickford, the chairman of the party, said on Monday that he was moving to cancel the May 30 convention because of the coronavirus pandemic. With the approval of Markey and his challenger, Joe Kennedy III, Bickford declared the incumbent senator the winner of the convention and said Kennedy had the necessary 15 percent support of convention delegates to make it on to the November ballot.

Bickford’s decision, assuming it is approved by the full state committee at a virtual meeting on April 4, basically affirms the results of local caucuses as of March 10 when they were suspended. The outcome gives Markey bragging rights for holding the lead among Democratic insiders while allowing Kennedy to cast himself as the more moderate alternative with the famous name.

The convention cancellation also continues the under-the-radar nature of the race, which has featured two candidates who keep up aggressive campaign schedules but largely ignore each other. It’s as if both of them are running unopposed.

In a joint statement, Markey and Kennedy hailed the decision as “responsive and responsible.” John Walsh, Markey’s campaign manager, issued a separate statement saying both campaigns had fought hard for support at the caucuses and his candidate had come out on top with the support of 70 percent of the delegates elected through March 10.

“Our campaign saw incredible turnout by voters who came to caucus for Ed Markey because they know he is a true progressive champion who fights for the people of the Commonwealth,” Walsh said.

Kennedy moved on with his COVID-19 campaign schedule, virtually hosting Boston chef Tiffani Faison (Sweet Cheeks BBQ, Tiger Mama, and Fools Errand) as a special guest on a streaming broadcast. Faison walked Kennedy through her recipe for soy sauce and cola poached chicken while he talked about his efforts to track down ventilators and personal protective equipment.

It’s unclear whether the state party’s decision is a precursor of what’s coming with the national party conventions. The Democratic National Convention is scheduled for July 10 in Milwaukee and the Republican convention is set for August 24 in Charlotte. Party officials say the conventions are still on for now, with some saying virtual conventions could be a possibility if the coronavirus cloud doesn’t lift. Bickford explored the idea of virtual conventions in Massachusetts, but ultimately decided that wouldn’t work.



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Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer designates a former Catholic school as a homeless shelter. (Berkshire Eagle)

Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards wants to shift funds from the city’s Community Preservation Act fund to assist tenants struggling to pay their rent. (Boston Herald)


President Trump’s decision to back off his eagerness to restart the economy was driven by the hard numbers on the coming surge of coronavirus deaths presented to him and the polling numbers showing Americans support continued caution against the deadly virus. (New York Times)

US taxpayers invested millions of dollars in the design of a low-cost ventilator, but now the company that makes them is selling them overseas (ProPublica)

The Globe rolls out a scathing editorial on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, calling it a “colossal failure of leadership” in which he has “blood on his hands.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley ask for racial data on coronavirus testing. (AP)


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Church staffers on the North Shore are the latest ones facing layoffs due to coronavirus. (Gloucester Daily Times)

Some Cape Cod residents have started a petition to close the two bridges to the peninsula to all traffic except year-round residents and essential commercial delivery vehicles because they fear local hospitals will be overwhelmed if too many people flock to summer homes. (Boston Herald)

Breweries are figuring out how to keep selling beer amid restaurant shut-down. (Telegram & Gazette)


A showdown at General Electric’s plant in Lynn over workers’ fears of exposure to coronavirus on the job. GE factory workers are protesting layoffs, saying they can help manufacture ventilators. (MassLive)

Some budding marijuana entrepreneurs say they could be driven to insolvency by the shutdown of their stores. (Boston Globe)

Some gun store owners on the Cape are remaining open even though they aren’t on the list of essential businesses allowed to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Cape Cod Times)

New Balance in Lawrence shifts from making footwear to making face masks. (Eagle-Tribune)


Wishful thinking: The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association voted unanimously to approve an abbreviated spring sports schedule, assuming schools reopen on May 4. (MetroWest Daily News)

The Springfield school district is distributing laptops to students who don’t have computers at home. (MassLive)

The pandemic is upending the college admission process, with some schools planning to delay the deadline for admitted students to make deposits. (WGBH)


Eleven vets die at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home amid an outbreak of COVID-19. The superintendent of the state-run facility is placed on paid leave. (CommonWealth)

Berkshire County is emerging as one of the nation’s COVID-19 hotspots, but the situation is evolving rapidly. (CommonWealth) The remote funeral of Berkshire County’s first COVID-19 victim is strange, to say the least. (Berkshire Eagle)

With no proven therapies for COVID-19, Boston hospitals are exploring five drugs or drug combinations as possible answers. (WBUR)

James Taylor and his wife Kim donate $350,000 to Berkshire Medical Center. (Berkshire Eagle)

Four Boston hospitals say large numbers of their employees have the coronavirus. (WBUR)


MBTA ridership falls to a tenth of its normal level while the number of transit employees with COVID-19 rises to 18 — 10 of them bus drivers. (CommonWealth)

Picketing bus drivers in Worcester are worried about their safety. (Telegram & Gazette)


The Supreme Judicial Court overruled a Springfield judge who ordered overburdened public defenders to take on more cases, but left the underlying problem — a shortage of lawyers for indigent defendants because of low state payment rates — to the Legislature to resolve. (CommonWealth)

The SJC is hearing a case today asking the court to release thousands of inmates amid the coronavirus outbreak. (The Salem News) A number of county sheriffs and district attorneys are strongly opposing any releases. (Boston Herald)

A federal judge asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a list of detainees at the Bristol County Jail as he ponders whether to release some of them to reduce the spread of COVID-19. (CommonWealth)


Gannett announces company-wide furloughs and pay cuts. (Daily Beast)

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott tweets out a message urging people to support local news organizations.

The Tampa Bay Times announces it will print its newspaper only on Sundays and Wednesdays due to the downturn in ad revenue. (Tampa Bay Times)

The New York Times spotlights how the coronavirus crisis is showcasing the coverage depth of Stat, the health and medicine news website launched five years ago by Boston Globe and Red Sox owner John Henry.