Obama endorses six candidates in MA

Former president Barack Obama waded into political races across the country on Monday, endorsing 260 Democratic candidates in 29 states, including six in Massachusetts.

Obama made a series of endorsements in August, but none of those was in Massachusetts. This time he backed Jay Gonzalez and Quentin Palfrey for governor and lieutenant governor, Ayanna Pressley for Congress, Tram Nguyen for the Massachusetts House, and incumbent Julian Cyr and newcomer Katie McBrine for the state Senate.

Aside from Pressley, who is headed for Congress because she is not facing a Republican opponent in November’s general election, the other endorsements can all be seen as Obama backing candidates who are either challenging Gov. Charlie Baker directly (Gonzalez and Palfrey), squaring off against his supporters in the Legislature (Nguyen and McBrine), or fending off a Baker-like GOP challenger (Cyr).

Nguyen is running against pro-life, conservative firebrand Rep. James Lyons of Andover, who has been endorsed by Baker. “I stand for inclusion, equality, and making sure that we have the quality of life we deserve in the district,” Nguyen told the Lowell Sun. “I stand polar opposite to my opponent in this race.”

McBrine, a pediatrician from Hingham, is challenging Sen. Patrick O’Connor of Weymouth, an ally of Baker’s in the Senate. McBrine said she favors a progressive, science-based policy agenda that includes single-payer health care.

Cyr, who worked as an intern in the White House in 2009, is facing a challenge from Barnstable Town Councilor John Flores. Flores, who says he is a Republican in the Baker mold, has criticized Cyr for being out of step with the district and for voting for a big pay hike at the start of 2017.

Nationally, Obama endorsed a number of progressive gubernatorial candidates, including  Andrew Gillum in Florida, Ben Jealous in Maryland, Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico, and Christine Hallquist in Vermont. For the US Senate, Obama endorsed Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona, Bill Nelson in Florida, Tina Smith in Minnesota and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin. Nelson, Smith and Baldwin are incumbents, while Sinema is a House member.

One noteworthy Democrat absent from Obama’s list was Beto O’Rourke, the three-term congressman who is aiming to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in one of the most closely watched races in the country. “The liberal, 45-year-old O’Rourke has drawn crowds of thousands to his events — a rally Saturday night with country music legend Willie Nelson drew a reported 55,000 people — prompting no shortage of comparisons to the rock star aura that surrounded Obama during his campaign days,” the Washington Post reported.

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

The slow rollout of legal recreational marijuana in Massachusetts is costing the state millions of tax dollars. (State House News)

Joan Vennochi says Gov. Charlie Baker should share what he knows about the status of a federal investigation of an incident in which his son is alleged to have groped a woman on flight from Washington, DC, to Boston. (Boston Globe)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The city of Lowell may have to shell out more than $2 million after losing a court case brought by condominium owners who saw the value of their units plunge after it was discovered they were built on a landfill covered up by the city. (Lowell Sun)

A survey of business owners in downtown Framingham finds they are split over the city’s plans to install meters to free up spots for customers. (MetroWest Daily News)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Sen. Jeff Flake, the pivotal Senate player in the confirmation battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, was in Boston yesterday and emphasized that “any current, credible allegation that has been made” about Kavanaugh should be “fully investigated.” (Boston Globe) Scot Lehigh hopes Flake’s defiance of Trump might be the windup to a primary challenge to the president in two years. (Boston Globe)

Kavanaugh was interviewed by New Haven police back in 1985 after he allegedly threw his drink at another bar customer in a brawl that also included Yale classmate Chris Dudley, a former NBA player and Republican gubernatorial candidate in Oregon who has become one of the judge’s fiercest defenders. (New York Times)

Retired federal judge Nancy Gertner writes that Kavanaugh’s angry, partisan performance at last week’s hearing should be disqualifying and that she has “never heard a judge speak like that to a public audience, let alone during a confirmation hearing.” (Boston Globe)

Kavanaugh will not teach a three-work course in January at Harvard Law School that he has taught for about a decade. (The Harvard Crimson)

ELECTIONS

A Herald editorial decries Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s comment that she will look seriously at a 2020 presidential run following the November election, saying she shouldn’t be seeking reelection this fall if that’s her plan.

In the two weeks following Gov. Charlie Baker’s designation of Eversource to oversee restoration of gas service efforts in the Merrimack Valley executives from the company and their spouses donated nearly $13,000 to his reelection campaign. (Boston Globe )

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Yesterday’s dumping by General Electric of CEO John Flannery and replacing him with H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., represents the first time in its 126-year history that the company has turned to an outsider to helm the firm. (Boston Globe) Shirley Leung says GE’s move to Boston — as well as the state and city incentives that were offered for it do so — still makes sense, despite the turmoil that has seen its stock fall 61 percent, the worst 2017 performance on the Dow Jones industrial average, a plunge that led to it being stripped from the marquee stock cohort after 100 years. (Boston Globe)

The Globe’s Evan Horowitz says the new North American trade pact President Trump pushed through could give a boost to US carmakers and farmers.

Amazon, under heavy criticism for low wages despite record profits, is increasing its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all 350,000 full- and part-time workers. (Washington Post)

EDUCATION

Using the state-sanctioned MCAS, rather than a different test designed for private school admissions, to determine admission to Boston’s three selective-entry 7-12 grade schools could increase black and Latino enrollment at Boston Latin School by as much as 50 percent, according to a new study. (Boston Globe)

Black alumni and students are criticizing Simmons College’s move to appoint a white man as the first dean of its college of media, arts, and humanities after it was named in honor of pioneering black journalist Gwen Ifill, a Simmons grad. (Boston Globe)

Framingham school officials will hire an outside consultant to conduct a “racial equity” audit to determine the best ways to mitigate inequality in the city’s district. (MetroWest Daily News)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA is making big investments in improving service on the Red and Orange Lines, but riders won’t see the full benefit until 2024. (CommonWealth)

T notes: Riders are embracing early morning buses…Worcester’s Union Station to get a new commuter rail platform…Expect major Green Line disruption on the D branch….The T orders 194 new hybrid buses. (CommonWealth)

An estimated $450 million in savings from a three-year experiment with privatization at the MBTA is prompting calls for abolishing the so-called Pacheco Law, which regulates privatization initiatives. (Salem News) A Salem News editorial joins the relatively small chorus.

Transportation and environmental experts are warning that worsening traffic in the Boston area could contribute to air pollution and increased rates of asthma. (Boston Herald)

A spate of suicides among taxi drivers in New York City is causing officials to look for ways to help the drivers, who are under pressure with the emergence of ride-hailing apps. (New York Times)

CASINOS/MARIJUANA

Voters at a special Town Meeting in Bourne approved a ban on recreational marijuana despite a Town Meeting vote earlier in the year that rejected the prohibition. (Cape Cod Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Following a Globe Spotlight Team report on its closed-door methods, state leaders called for more transparency in the clerk-magistrate system in which some decisions are made by court clerks about whether criminal charges will be filed in a case. (Boston Globe) A Globe editorial stops short of calling for the abolition of the system, the only one of its kind in the country, but says more transparency and better training of clerks are in order.

A retired Boston firefighter was indicted on arson charges while the building’s owner and one of her acquaintances were charged with conspiracy in a fire in July that burned down a Hanson pub. (The Enterprise)

A Taunton woman was arrested for assaulting a police officer and her three children were removed from their apartment after officials with the Department of Children and Families investigated a report that she and her husband kept the children in cages and sexually assaulted them. (The Enterprise)

The union representing State Police troopers named a new president yesterday amidst a federal probe of possible illegal campaign finance activity by the union under its former president. (Boston Globe)