The message of 2018 elections
Hello, Mike Capuano and Richard Neal? We have a message for you.
That message was delivered loud and clear and if they weren’t paying attention, they’ll learn it in a New York minute. The message was no seat is safe, regardless of money, seniority, or casting the right votes.
Boston University graduate and political neophyte Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the vessel for the message when she soundly defeated incumbent US Rep. Joseph Crowley in a Democratic primary in New York Tuesday. Joseph Crowley, as in the number 4 Democrat in the House. Joseph Crowley, as in a potential successor to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a potential speaker should Democrats take the House in the fall. That Joseph Crowley.
Ocasio-Cortez, whose campaign was fueled mostly by social media, was bolstered in the get-out-the-vote effort by troops sent down by Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who is hoping to send a similar message to Capuano in the Democratic primary in the state’s 7th Congressional District come September.
- Woman of color with progressive bona fides in a left-leaning majority-minority district: Check.
- Call for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: Check.
- Hammer home the theme of a representative who has been in Washington so long, he’s lost touch with his district: Check.
- Tie your opponent to Pelosi and keep your own distance: Check.
- Get your message out in spite of being outspent 10 to 1: Check.
Anyone who thinks what happens in New York stays in New York is not getting it. The seismic rumblings of disaffected and disappointed Democrats have been shaking the ground around the country as strident progressives and supporters of Bernie Sanders say there’s not been enough resistance to President Trump.
Trump, to no surprise, made the outcome about him, suggesting in a tweet that Crowley lost because of his criticism of Trump. “Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!” It’s doubtful Ocasio-Cortez will break bread with Trump anytime soon.
Pressley is looking to marshal that fervor to overcome the grasp Capuano has had on the seat since winning it 20 years ago, back when it was the 8th Congressional District. Capuano, a former Somerville mayor, has been a liberal champion for the district that includes some of the Boston area’s most left-leaning constituencies. He points out that there won’t be many differences in the way Pressley would vote than the way he has.
Capuano, though, is taking Pressley a lot more seriously than Crowley did Ocasio-Cortez. Crowley did not show up at a debate with Ocasio-Cortez, instead sending a Latina surrogate, a tone-deaf action that Ocasio-Cortez drove home to voters. Capuano has yet to miss a chance to appear at forums with Pressley. And, unlike Crowley, Capuano isn’t hoarding his money for the end of the race, already spending more than half of what he raised, according to the most recent filings.
And while much of the focus on the result is on the Capuano-Pressley race, it holds some caution for Neal in western Massachusetts as well. The dean of the state’s House delegation is facing a primary challenge from Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, a Muslim, civil rights lawyer, and, like Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez, woman of color.
Like Capuano and Crowley, Neal is high up on the House food chain and in line for a powerful position as chair of the Ways and Means Committee, where he is currently the ranking member. And like Crowley and Capuano, Neal enjoys the support of Pelosi and much of the Democratic establishment. But much of that could also be said of would-be speaker Eric Cantor before he was defeated in the 2014 Republican primary.
Gov. Charlie Baker said the decision by State Police not to release the report on allegations his son groped a female passenger on a plane from Washington to Boston was “not my call.” (Boston Herald) Joe Battenfeld says the case demands complete transparency, something the State Police have not excelled at lately, and he scoffs at the agency’s claim that it is not involved in the case even though it turns out State Police were “crucially involved in the initial investigation.” (Boston Herald)
Baker joined Lynn officials at the opening of Gateway North, a 71-unit, mixed-income housing project providing both affordable and workforce housing. The project received $5 million in state funding. (Daily Item)
Lawmakers seek an outside review of the rulings of Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley after he let a convicted heroin dealer off with probation. (Salem News)
The Massachusetts Senate is preparing to vote on legislation that would allow people to select X as their gender identity on their identification cards. (MassLive)
Dozens of homeowners in the Madaket section of Nantucket have been told by the Army Corps of Engineers that they may have unexploded munitions buried under their property from the 1940s when the area was used as a rocket launch site. (Cape Cod Times)
The Worcester City Council defeated a measure that would have put the Community Preservation Act on the November ballot. (Telegram & Gazette)
New Bedford city councilors and Mayor Jon Mitchell reached an agreement to waive the rent for the Fort Tabor Military Museum and allow the museum to continue to admit visitors free of charge. (Standard-Times)
The Supreme Court delivered a huge blow to unions, ruling in a 5-4 vote in the Janus case that public-sector workers can’t be forced to join unions and pay dues if they choose not to. (Washington Post) That case, plus rulings by the Supreme Court Tuesday involving abortion and President Trump’s travel ban show the results of the GOP’s refusal to hold nomination hearings and a vote on then-President Barack Obama’s nominee for a vacant seat. (New York Times)
A California judge has halted family separations at the Mexican border and ordered immigration officials to reunite children who have been taken from their parents within 30 days. (Washington Post)
Advocates say they will drop their planned ballot question to raise the state’s minimum wage — if Gov. Charlie Baker signs the “grand bargain” legislation on his desk that includes a ramp-up of the wage over time to $15 an hour. (Boston Globe)
Secretary of State William Galvin backs ranked-choice voting, which its backers hope will appear on the 2020 ballot. (WGBH) For a good read on the problems ranked-choice voting is trying to address, check out this CommonWealth feature.
Candidates for Suffolk County district attorney took questions from inmates at the South Bay House of Correction in a forum that may have been the first ever of its kind. (Boston Globe) Joyce Ferriabough Bolling applauds the “unique and insightful forum.” (Boston Herald)
Lowell Sun columnist Peter Lucas thinks John Walsh was wrong in this recent piece in CommonWealth; he thinks Gov. Charlie Baker will win reelection. But he notes several political changes in Massachusetts. He says the state Republican Party has become what the Democratic Party was a generation ago, and the Democratic Party has become a socialist party of elites that caters to the very rich and the very poor and ignores the middle class.
CEO John Flannery outlined the vision for a “new GE,” which is another way of saying a smaller GE. (Boston Globe)
The Wardman Group bought the Seven Hills Inn in Lenox for $2.5 million and plans to invest another $2.2 million in the 57-room facility. (Berkshire Eagle)
Nestor Ramos decries the story of a woman who worked at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen and was fired after she tested positive for marijuana, which is now perfectly legal in the state and which she says she was never under the influence of while at work. (Boston Globe)
Developer Don Chiofaro is moving forward with his planned new skyscraper on Boston’s waterfront despite possible litigation to stop it. (Boston Globe)
The state Board of Higher Education has given approval to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to offer a Ph.D. program in STEM education. (Standard-Times)
Partners HealthCare will switch all of its employees to the company-owned health insurer Neighborhood Health Plan, a big blow to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, which has counted the state’s largest employer as one of its biggest employer accounts. (Boston Globe)
Ridership at the Worcester Regional Transit Authority was off 13 percent through nine months of this fiscal year, the biggest drop-off in the country. The Worcester transit agency blamed the downturn on its decision to raise fares and cut service to deal with a budget deficit. Across Massachusetts, only the Berkshire and Metrowest transit authorities increased ridership during the period. (Telegram & Gazette)
The MBTA spent $2,500 to refurbish a pool table used by bus drivers in the break room of a bus garage in South Boston. (Boston Herald)
Uber has regained its license to operate in London after agreeing to stricter government regulations, a template that other cities may look to to gain concessions from the tech company. (New York Times)
Lowell officials say they will allow five retail pot shops to open, the minimum allowed. Currently, there are 10 companies vying for the five slots. (Lowell Sun)
Bernard Sigh, brother-in-law of former Gov. Deval Patrick, has been charged with witness intimidation, stalking, and harassment after police say he plotted a kidnapping of a woman he is charged with raping last December. (Patriot Ledger)
Former Salem police officer Brian Butler was sentenced to 3.5 to 5 years for indecent assault on a prisoner. Salem Police Chief Mary Butler, who is filing for divorce from Brian, sent a letter to the judge calling her husband’s actions “horrific.” (Salem News)A former postal worker from Roslindale was charged in federal court with mail theft in connection with an SUV full of undelivered mail found in a Weymouth tow lot last month. (Patriot Ledger)