It’s painfully obvious that Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton’s (D-Salem) presidential campaign has yet to generate any excitement. He failed to qualify for the first two debates and has no chance of making the September 13th forum in Houston. Therefore, he made a statement yesterday indicating that he will run for re-election to the House should his campaign continue to languish. When returning to the congressional campaign, however, he will find at least three Democratic challengers awaiting him, including Salem City Councilwoman Lisa Peterson. So, Mr. Moulton’s return to the House may be more difficult than he may have originally perceived.
Author and CEO Steve Pemberton, whose story of his Foster care upbringing after being abandoned as a child became a best-selling book and movie, yesterday joined the Democratic Senate primary against incumbent Ed Markey. Already in the race was attorney and liberal activist Sharon Liss-Riordan.
Mr. Pemberton appears to be a legitimate candidate, but the more crowded the primary field becomes, the easier it will be for Sen. Markey to win when the anti-incumbent vote is divided. Massachusetts law allows plurality victories. The state primary is not until September 15, 2020, after a May 5th filing deadline. The Pemberton candidacy makes this race more interesting and it could attract national attention next year, but Sen. Markey is still favored for re-nomination and re-election.
While Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin’s primary challenge has ended, another prominent Democratic official may be facing one. Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse confirms that he is considering challenging House Ways & Means Committee chairman Richard Neal (D-Springfield) and will do so from the left. The Massachusetts state primary is not until September 15th after a May 5th candidate filing deadline, so Mayor Morse has plenty of time to make a decision.
Holyoke is a city of 40,000 people but lies within the Springfield/Chicopee/Holyoke region that constitutes the 1st District’s population anchor. Massachusetts primaries will be taken more seriously in 2020 when considering then-Boston Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley’s upset of now former Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville) in the last election cycle.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Salem) is running for President, but there is a budding congressional primary awaiting him should he return to enter the September Massachusetts Democratic primary. Over the weekend, Salem City Councilmember Lisa Peterson announced that she is entering the primary, becoming the third Democrat to do so. Already in the race are Salem State University Trustee Jamie Belsito and businessman Nathaniel Mulcahy.
The Politico news site ran a story yesterday quoting a key consultant as saying that Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) seat is “there for the taking.” References were made to Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s (D-Boston) upset victory over then-Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville) in the 2018 election with the idea that the Massachusetts extreme activists would now turn on Sen. Markey.
They reference an early June Suffolk University/Boston Globe survey as a source showing that Sen. Markey could be vulnerable. His name ID and approval are actually a bit low for an incumbent who has been in elective office consecutively since 1973 when adding his time in the state legislature and both houses of Congress. And, he polls only 44% on the original ballot test. But, his two opponents post support figures of just 5% apiece. While there may be some cracks in Sen. Markey’s political armor, it is quite a stretch to declare that he is in danger of losing next year’s statewide Democratic primary.
Boston-based Suffolk University just completed their new survey of the Massachusetts electorate (6/5-9; 370 likely MA Democratic primary voters) and finds former Vice President Joe Biden, somewhat surprisingly, holding a very comfortable lead over home state Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D).
According to Suffolk, Mr. Biden holds a 22-10% lead over Sen. Warren, with Mayor Pete Buttigieg following with 8%, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) dropping to 6% preference, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) holding at just 5% support. All others are record support levels of 1% or less. The major surprise is not that Mr. Biden is leading, but that Sen. Warren, in her own state, can muster no more than 10 percent.
Business executive Steve Pemberton yesterday announced his Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Ed Markey. Mr. Pemberton was abandoned as a child and raised in Foster families. He then was able to graduate from college, wrote a best-selling book about his experiences that later became the subject of a movie, and succeeded in the private sector. Sen. Markey is certainly favored for re-nomination and re-election, but Mr. Pemberton will likely make an interesting candidate.
Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) is drawing a primary challenge from his political left. Former Wall Street regulator Ihssane Leckey announced at the beginning of the holiday weekend that she would run against the four-term legacy Congressman and criticized his remark that we should be striving for “moral capitalism.” Ms. Lecky is running as a Democratic Socialist.
It is unlikely that she will be able to deny Rep. Kennedy re-nomination, but the contest may be worth watching.
Though Sen. Ed Markey (D) is not drawing a primary challenge from either upstart House member Seth Moulton (D-Salem) or Ayanna Presley (D-Boston) as originally speculated, he will have intra-party opposition, nonetheless. Labor lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan yesterday announced her intention to challenge the 43-year congressional veteran, attempting to deny him re-nomination.
Ms. Liss-Riordan specializes in defending under-paid workers and has won lawsuits against American Airlines, FedEx, Harvard University, and Starbucks, among others. This will be her first run for public office, so Sen. Markey certainly begins as an overwhelming favorite to win the party nod and general election.
Mr. Markey was first elected to the House in 1976 representing the Malden-Melrose area. He would win 17 consecutive re-election campaigns before claiming the 2013 special US Senate election after then-Sen. John Kerry (D) was appointed Secretary of State. Sen. Markey won a 59-36% re-election to a full term in 2014 and now stands for a second six-year commitment next year.
In an effort to deny former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld some home state delegates, the MA Republican Party adopted a new rule that changes Massachusetts into a winner-take-all state. The Trump campaign wants a unanimous vote at the convention, and Massachusetts making the move to winner-take-all status makes such a goal all the more achievable.
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