The gloves are off in Secretary of State race

Galvin, Zakim go toe-to-toe on voter registration and dark money

The Democratic primary race for the normally staid office of Secretary of State is turning into one of the most bruising battles of the season. About the only thing missing in the one and only televised debate between incumbent William Galvin and challenger Josh Zakim was headgear and eight-ounce gloves.

The debate on Greater Boston, which only occurred after Galvin agreed at the last minute when it appeared Zakim, a Boston city councilor, would have the camera all to himself, featured charges and counter-charges over successes and failures as well as a good measure of snarky asides.

Jim Braude, who has become one of the best moderators of such encounters, kept the two on track but allowed wide latitude for the pair to show their complete distaste for one another. And make no mistake, this one became personal, at least for Galvin.

The normally dour Galvin, dubbed the “Prince of Darkness” years ago for his propensity to roam the State House halls as a state representative during late nights, was his normally dour self but added a good amount of angry animation. Galvin toed the line on bullying when he demanded Zakim take a “people’s pledge” to refuse to accept help from “dark money” organizations.

“Just say yes,” Galvin repeatedly demanded of Zakim, slapping the table for emphasis each time as Zakim was responding.

Zakim skirted the issue by pointing out that Galvin accepts donations from employees and people who have tax credit requests before the Massachusetts Historical Commission, which is in the secretary’s office. He also charged Galvin has been using his office as a campaign arm by making videos and ads touting voter registration efforts.

When Galvin insisted “one has nothing to do with the other,” Zakim shot back “It has a lot to do with it.”

Galvin repeatedly touted his accomplishments over six terms as secretary and at times one had to wonder if he was actually the person running the state. At one point he claimed to “override the governor” on election reform funding before acknowledging it was actually the Legislature that had that power.

The 34-year-old Zakim, who was all of 10 when Galvin was first elected secretary and who wasn’t even born when the Brighton state representative started his public career, definitely had Galvin on the defensive after winning the convention endorsement back in June.

But he took some hits from the seasoned pol, who pointed out that while Zakim was ranting about voter access and the date of the primary the day after Labor Day, he didn’t even vote in the 2004 and 2006 elections. Zakim said he was in college in Pennsylvania in 2004 though he never answered why, when he was back living in the state, he didn’t cast a ballot in 2006.

While Galvin looked a little like Richard Nixon in his first televised debate, Zakim came across as a little too jumpy, rapidly firing off his lines and talking points in staccato fashion to make sure he hit all the salient points.

Galvin took credit for anything and everything that has been successful in his office, but he blamed others for failing to enact measures such as early voting.

“Every major progressive change that has occurred in Massachusetts election laws has come about because of me,” Galvin bragged.

But Zakim said Galvin was only a “recent convert” on many of the issues such as same-day and mail-in registration and weekend voting, pushed by the first real primary challenge in a dozen years.

“For Bill to say he has been a proponent of every progressive electoral reform is absolutely false,” said Zakim, who repeatedly referred to the secretary by his first name rather than his title. “He led the charge in the state Legislature against mail-in voter registration, claiming it would lead to fraud and illegal voting.”

Zakim repeated his oft-repeated claims about Galvin’s voting record in the Legislature against abortion to burnish his own progressive bona fides but once again failed to say why such stances matter in an office that has nothing to do with abortion laws. (Zakim’s refusal to disavow dark money and a slap on the wrist from the Globe editorial page on that matter undercut his progressive bona fides quite a bit.)

But Galvin may have taken his biggest hit when Zakim brought up the arrest of a contractor in the secretary’s office who was charged with securities fraud, which happens to be an area the office has oversight. A State House News story earlier in the day revealed that M. Jay Herod worked as an IT consultant with an office in the Ashburton Building for nine years.

Galvin said he fired Herod the day of the indictment in April but his association with the office was never revealed prior to the News Service story. Zakim wanted to know what access the man had to securities information.

It’s a story that bears watching. As does this campaign.

JACK SULLIVAN


BEACON HILL

Departures: Massport CEO Tom Glynn announced that he will leave his post this fall, one year before the end of his current contract. “Six years is a long time in the job,” said Glynn, who is 72. (Boston Globe)

Gov. Charlie Baker said his MBTA budget-balancing strategy is paving the way for record-setting, long-term investments that will pay big dividends for riders in coming years. (CommonWealth)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Adrian Walker says there are a lot more pressing issues to address in dealing with the issue of race in Boston than renaming Faneuil Hall. (Boston Globe)

Alicia Reddin, Andover’s director of veterans services, who was recently named the top veterans services officer in the state, resigned amid concerns about profane anti-Trump and anti-Republican Tweets. (Eagle-Tribune)

Truro officials are considering a proposal to limit the size of future houses after a decade of “trophy homes” larger than 5,000 square feet have been popping up along the town’s seashore, replacing more modest second homes. (Cape Cod Times)

The city council in Lowell, home to 30,000 Cambodian Americans, passed a motion condemning last month’s Cambodian elections. (Lowell Sun)

Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer is looking to shake up the city’s Zoning Board by appointing five new members to the seven-person board while ousting the longtime chair. But city councilors have indicated they are leaning toward rejecting her entire slate because of their government inexperience. (MetroWest Daily News)

Sen. Edward Markey joins the Worcester bandwagon, saying the municipality has “as bright a future as any city in America” and adding that the cherry on top would be a new ballpark for the Woosox. (Telegram & Gazette) Meanwhile, city officials celebrated the opening of a 365-unit luxury apartment building seen as the linchpin of downtown revitalization. (Telegram & Gazette)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Globe columnist Renee Graham says Sen. Elizabeth Warren has nothing to back down from or clarify in the wake of criticism she has faced for saying the criminal justice system is racist “front to back.” (Boston Globe)

Closing arguments are set to begin in the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort after defense lawyers rested without calling any witnesses. (Washington Post)

ELECTIONS

Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, called on his liberal backers to vouch for his progressive bona fides. Sanchez is facing a challenge from Nika Elugardo, who says Sanchez bowed to the dictates of House Speaker Robert DeLeo during the recent budget negotiations, particularly on safe communities legislation. (CommonWealth)

Barbara L’Italien comes clean on a $70,000 loan to her campaign for the Third Congressional District, saying it came from a joint account she held with her now-deceased mother. (Boston Globe)

The Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts accused Attorney General Maura Healey of using the 3D gun debate to score political points as she seeks reelection. (Gloucester Times)

Christine Hallquist, a transgender woman, won the Democratic primary for governor in Vermont and will now face the incumbent, Republican Phil Scott. (WBUR)

RELIGION

A grand jury report in Pennsylvania says more than 300 priests sexually abused over 1,000 children over 70 years but the actions were covered up by Catholic church officials in the state’s dioceses. (New York Times).

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Mayor Marty Walsh says he’s opposed to the idea of boycotting Sam Adams beer (the headquarters of which happens to be in Boston) after neighboring mayor Joe Curtatone of Somerville said he’ll never drink another one of the company’s brews following founder Jim Koch’s recent meeting with President Trump. (Boston Herald) A Herald editorial decries the knee-jerk reaction of those “endeavoring to destroy anyone associated with President Trump.”

Kettle Cuisine is expanding in Lynn, investing $17 million in its facility and adding about 150 workers this year, bringing the total to 500. (Daily Item)

NOAA will fully fund at-sea monitors on fishing boats and will increase the reimbursement for last year to 85 percent of the cost, removing the burden from the commercial fishing sectors. (Standard-Times)

EDUCATION

The cheerleading coach at Lynn English High School won’t see her contract renewed after an 11-second video surfaced showing her shouting “white power.” Why she used the term is unclear, but it may have been related to a personal beef with the school’s former football coach. (Daily Item)

Lesley University in Cambridge has partnered with the DeMello International Center to offer bachelor’s and reduced-tuition masters degrees for area teachers in downtown New Bedford.. Part of the deal involves current New Bedford teachers who receive a masters in education to commit to at least three more years in the district and new graduates who commit to three years are guaranteed a job. (Standard-Times)

Administrators for the Atlantic Charter School in Fall River, looking to appease angry and skeptical neighbors, are trying to devise a plan to mitigate traffic congestion at the entrance the school’s new 43-acre campus. (Herald News)

TRANSPORTATION

Jay Gonzalez, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, said he would fire Keolis and launch a state takeover of commuter rail. (WBUR)

Globe transportation writer Adam Vaccaro takes readers on a ride aboard the 111 bus from Chelsea to Haymarket Square in Boston, the poster child for all that ails the MBTA bus system.

A fairly mild Salem News editorial takes the MBTA to task for failing to publicly disclose how the parking garage was in such a state of disrepair.

State transportation and Army Corps of Engineers officials announced an agreement to delay repair work of the Bourne Bridge until next spring after local businesses and residents protested that the work that was slated to begin the day after Labor Day would severely impact them. (Cape Cod Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A proposal to construct a five megawatt solar farm (17,500 panels) on private land in Webster has neighbors and local pols up in arms. (Telegram & Gazette)

The long-range forecast through 2022 is for heat, heat, and more heat with not so many cold snaps, according to a new study on global warming by an international group of scientists. (U.S. News & World Report)

CASINOS

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission ruled that MGM can’t use animation on its digital billboard facing I-91 because of concerns that the moving images would distract drivers. (MassLive) The commission also approved two more live racing days at Suffolk Downs and authorized $1.1 million in gambling proceeds to be used for prize money. (State House News) The commission chairman said its report on Steve Wynn, who has faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, will be released next month. (Boston Herald)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

An admitted prostitute called Brockton police to help her collect her fee for service from three men who engaged her, which she said was rape because she was unpaid. Police did charge one of the men with rape and arrested the woman on an outstanding warrant and charged her with sexual conduct for a fee. (The Enterprise)