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Massachusetts Governor's Race: Nobody Lookin' Good in This One

4 years ago
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Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, saddled with a weak economy and an anti-incumbent mood in the electorate, should be smiling after a week that saw his two rivals go after other with a gusto that ought to cheer anyone not in the crossfire. But Patrick had no reason to be sanguine about his bid for a second term as recent polls show him in a virtual dead heat with the Republican candidate.

The GOP's Charles Baker was thought to be gaining ground on Patrick, but may be set back by charges this week that his organization tried to get a hold of damaging inside information about independent candidate Timothy Cahill's campaign.

Surveys have Baker and Democrat Patrick in a close contest. The Boston Globe in late September put the governor one percentage point ahead -- with 35 percent of the sample -- while the Western New England College Polling Institute had him six points up. Hoping to finish strong, Patrick has his friend, President Obama, coming to Boston on Oct. 16 to campaign for him.
Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates: Charles Baker, Timothy Cahill and Gov. Deval PatrickBut Cahill, a former Democrat who is the state treasurer, is a wild card. He filed a lawsuit Thursday, accusing his former top strategists of scheming to doom his campaign by planning to give damaging information to Baker. The Boston Globe reported it under the headline, "In this political thriller, there aren't any good guys."

The lawsuit cites e-mails in which the former aides allegedly orchestrated the departure of Cahill's lieutenant governor running mate, Paul Loscocco, who quit the ticket and endorsed Baker. The complaint, charging breach of contract and unfair trade practices, seeks to stop three ex-Cahill staffers from handing over any strategic information to Baker or the Republican Governors Association. Baker and his campaign manager are accused of trying to get negative info from the aides to use against Cahill in the closing weeks of the campaign.

But Andrew Meldrum, one of the named former Cahill assistants, says the lawsuit is simply designed to prevent him from blowing the whistle on improper television advertising and possible misuse of taxpayer funds by the Cahill campaign.

In an early victory for Cahill, a Norfolk Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order, blocking the former staffers from sharing information about his campaign with rivals.

Issues? At a debate in Cambridge earlier this week, Patrick said his two challengers were "talking the commonwealth down" with their discussion of how bad things are. "Sometimes I listen to my colleagues here and I wonder where the can-do attitude of America has gone," he said. Baker, a budget chief under former Republican Gov. William Weld, said the state's business climate is clouded by high taxes and burdensome regulation, discouraging corporations from creating jobs. Cahill said taxes should be cut across the board to assist all businesses and industries.

Before the debate, Cahill actually seemed energized by the defections of Loscocco and his staffers, saying the "unprecedented insiders play" established him as the true outsider in the three-way contest, the AP said. "They don't understand honor and commitment," he said of the defectors. "I will continue running and continue honoring my commitment to everyone who believes that we cannot continue business as usual on Beacon Hill (Boston's Statehouse)."

Confused? It gets worse. Loscocco's name will still appear on the ballot on Nov. 2, right next to Cahill's, because the election documents are already printed. That means if Cahill wins, Loscocco would be elected as lieutenant governor since the offices are voted on in tandem, as with president and vice president. If that happens -- and the independent hopeful is trailing in third place in polls -- Cahill said he would ask Loscocco to resign. "I don't know what kind of job he (Loscocco) was promised to do this," he said of his former running mate's switch to Baker.

Maurice Cunningham, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts, said the turmoil -- the charges and counter-charges -- is "a reminder of the worst of what people suspect about politics, and that hurts Baker because he's running as the outside candidate."

Cahill is apparently attracting voters from both the Republican and Democratic camps, according to the Globe poll, which goes against the conventional wisdom that his candidacy hurts Baker more by dividing the anti-incumbent, anti-Patrick vote. But Cahill has faded and polled only 11 percent in the survey taken Sept. 17-22 of 522 Mass residents.

Patrick has been wounded by the lagging Massachusetts economy, as 41 percent in the Globe's sample said they were worse off than they were a year ago. And this heavily Democratic state is winnable for a Republican in a governor's race as attested to by Baker's old boss, Weld, and also Mitt Romney

But does the ill-will between Baker and Cahill ultimately help the governor's campaign. "To be determined," said a Democratic consultant familiar with Massachusetts politics. "Overnight it makes Cahill an outsider and Baker an insider."

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2 Comments

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Nursy

I would be very surprised if Baker DID NOT win...It maybe by a slim margin, however people are tired of the same old, same old. I think Deval Patrick is a great guy, no doubt in my mind about it...Baker has the background to lead and explore new avenues. He has been ahead of HHS in Ma.,as well as One of the leading Health Care carriers. All polls are showing him ahead of Deval patrick that are NOT from Suffolk U. or any University. I have personally never been called or participated in these pols, only Newspaper pols... We will see on November 2nd...I say Baker...

October 16 2010 at 9:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wbearl

Being a serious student of American History, I can tell you with all Honesty that Massachusetts has never been a shinning pillar of Political Brilliance. Even before the Revolutionary War Massachusetts displayed some very strange and bizarre Political Moves. Before the Revolution was over and they were a State, the area now know as Massachusetts was in financial trouble from poor leadership. They have not strayed far from their humble beginning.

October 10 2010 at 9:38 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Happy Face

Why is there not a reply button to reply to those who have replied to a post?

October 09 2010 at 1:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
revivalman

Only is a wacky state like Massachusetts would you have a Superior Court judge issuing an injunction to prevent a individual from blowing the whistle on a political candidate who may have broken the law. Hm-m-m.....I know its all political in this case, but isn't reporting lawbreakers and corruption what we, as good American citizens, are supposed to do?

October 09 2010 at 11:34 AM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply
baga68

I can't believe people fall for these last ditch efforts politicians do to smear the one they are running against. Then a miracle occurs right after the election and the one smeared is cleared. I want to know if the person will be a good governor, senator or whatever. This is so stupid, I don't care if someone wanted to leak secrets about the character of one of the others running. What a stupid reason not to vote for someone

October 09 2010 at 11:18 AM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
stirkle

Last one out at the DEMOCRAT turned (wink,wink) Independent fledgling Cahill for Governor campaign, please turn out the lights and return what's left of this Taxpayer funded campaign's money to the people of Massachusetts.

October 09 2010 at 11:05 AM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply
giyank1

Cahill claims the lottery has pumped big bucks back to communities for police, education, etc. If this is true why haven't more police and fire been hired and why are we always hearing about teachers being layed off and sports programs cut? Cahill needs to drop out instead of staying in trying to help his buddy Duval.

October 09 2010 at 10:02 AM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply
GrnBer

How does this make it bad for Baker? It's Cahill's people who are dropping dimes. There is nothing illegal. The onus is on Cahill, not Baker or Patrick. It's Boston politics at its best (or worst).

October 09 2010 at 7:49 AM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply
Robin

If they're all on the ballot on election day, then they're all insiders. An outsider would never even be known, or stubstantiated by being mentioned in this arcticle. Don't believe me? Try running for office yourself, just see what you'll get.

October 09 2010 at 4:45 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
fantastiq1

What this article omits is the full story. Not surprising since the author received his information from the Globe which is owned by the New York Times. Readers can draw their own conclusions. Long before Mr Cahill threw his hat into the ring, Deval Patrick's favorables were in the toilet according to every poll taken in the state of Massachusetts. He was about to become a one term Governor and he knew it, as did the rest of the MA Democrat Machine. Suddenly Cahill, a dyed-in-the-wool, life long Democrat, who as head of the State's Lottery worked closely with Deval Patrick (very closely) announces that he is leaving the Democrat Party and will run for Governor as an Independent. Savvy Massachusetts voters who are familiar with the election shenanigans of the one-party rule (Democrat) in their state instantly knew that Cahill had been tapped by the MA Democratic Machine to run interference for Deval. The intent was to split the vote between Baker and Cahill thus ensuring a victory for Deval Patrick. Cahill was never a serious contender in the Governor's race. At his highest peak, he had only 11% of the vote. It was never enough to elect him, but it was more than enough to siphon away votes from Baker. Cahill knew he could never win and as he slipped further and further down in the polls, he steadfastly refused to withdraw. The lower his poll numbers slipped the more he refused to bow out, the more proof there was that he was shilling for Deval Patrick. His running mate (a Republican) realized there was no chance of winning and attempted to talk Cahill into withdrawing, but again, Cahill stubbornly refused, so his running mate dropped out and endorsed Mr. Baker. Regarding Cahill's allegations and law suit against HIS OWN campaign staff, NOT Mr's Bakers, his former running mate issued a statement on Friday that it was Cahill who was working with Deval Patrick! As to Cahill attracting voters since this sordid affair began, as a Massachusetts resident and independent voter I can attest to the fact that the only thing that Cahill is attracting from voters is their amusement and scorn. This will play itself out in the courts, but in the end, "Tax and Spend Deval" will still find himself a one term Governor.

October 09 2010 at 3:25 AM Report abuse +30 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fantastiq1's comment
cmonte313@aol.co

As an independent voter I watched Mr Cahill on TV as he announced this has nothing to do with the Baker campaign but with my running mate who emailed the Baker campaign. I can't wait for November 2nd!

October 10 2010 at 2:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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