Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Day for Massachusetts Political News...

**UPDATE** Andrea Nuciforo responds to Olver's Retirement

While two out of three of the notes that we are about to bring to you are Senate related, it would not seme to do any justice to just lump them as an edition of Our One Hundredth.

First off the non-Senate news.  Congressman John Olver of Amherst is retiring at the end of his current term.  He was elected in a special election in 1991 to replace Silvio Conte who had died.  Olver, 75, was thought to be near a retirement decision, especially since his wife had been diagnosed with cancer.  Attention will inevitably turn to the redistricting proposals now before the committee charged with widdling down the commonwealth's seats in Congress to 9 from 10.  The fear in Western Massachusetts has been that Olver's district would get mashed into Richard Neal's.  While that would probably do nothing to rock Neal, it would further sow the seeds of mistrust the Western half of the state feels toward Beacon Hill.  However, a possible compromise plan may be in the works that would put Worcester in Olver's district and drop other pieces into Neal's district.  The result would allow James McGovern, who represents the 3rd district, to give up redder territory and take friendly places like Amherst.  It would also give Andrea Nuciforo, a former State Senator and current Berkshire County Register of Deeds a leg-up because a primary against McGovern would mean a fight mostly on turf Nuciforo has fought on before.

Nuciforo, in a statement to WMassP&I said:
"I applaud John Olver for his dedicated service in the U.S. Congress.  John has always kept the people of Western Massachusetts first and foremost in his policy decisions. Congressman Olver has represented western and central Massachusetts with distinction, and I hope that he and Rose enjoy many years of happiness together. Congratulations, Congressman, and job well done!"

Elsehwere Alan Khazei has ended his campaign for the United States Senate. Khazei, who briefly stood as the frontrunner in the race before Elizabeth Warren entered the race, experienced difficulty in gathering support and funds after Warren's entry into the race.  While criticized by some Democrats for being the choice of Washington, it is impossible to deny that Warren enjoys incredible and organic support in the commonwealth on her own (see below).  Khazei had been the most prolific fundraiser before Warren's entry, but his third quarter results were a tenth of hers.  Moreover, when Khazei tried to paint Warren's money as coming heavily from PAC's a closer look at the data all, but proved that while Warren did get some PAC money, the overwhelming majority of the funds were from individual donors.  Some donors had donated to her campaign via EMILY's List or, but the money still went to Warren from individuals.

Finally, Elizabeth Warren was in Springfield today for the second stop on her volunteer organizing tour.  She spoke to a crowd in excess of 100 (some estimates went up to 200) in the hall of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 7 in the city's Memorial Industrial Park (Fun fact! That area used to be golf course in the 1930's).  Warren greeted area Democrats at the door and took pictures with others.

Warren speaking before Supporters at IBEW Local 7 Hall (WMassP&I)
She was introduced by Ward 4 City Councilor E. Henry Twiggs, who in his own way, expressed his sincerest support for the consumer advocate.  When Warren spoke she gave her stump speech, but emphasized, as always, her concern about how the middle class has been squeezed in the current political and economic environment.  She then turned to the campaign itself and what it would take for those gathered to bring home a win.  Her campaign staff got into the details themselves, including talking to friends, hosting house parties and preparing for the upcoming caucuses (with her real competition eliminated, the caucuses may prove to the be the time to cement Warren's support at the convention and bypass the primary altogether).  Afterwards, Warren stepped down from the lectern to greet other supporters she had missed at the door.  Some left, but many more milled around to get a picture with Warren if they had not before.

Today was a big day for Massachusetts politics.  Olver's retirement and Khazei quitting have rocked the boat considerably.  While the consequences of Olver's decision will not be fully felt until the Congressional maps are released, it may be a subtler change in the Senate race.  Certainly future debates among the Democrats may or may not happen.  They should at least until the first of the year, just to season Warren a bit more.  Tom Conroy is the last realistic candidate still in the race and he can probably last until then.  He should.  If for no other reason than to allow Democrats to get lulled into a false sense of security when they need to be building their organization in preparation for what will be a titanic battle between Warren and Scott Brown.

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