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The war chests of possible 2013 Senate candidates

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More December 21, 2012 02:59 PM

One...million...dollars.jpgThe accelerated pace of a statewide special election makes fundraising a bit more difficult than it is during a regular scheduled election. Candidates with pre-existing accounts have an advantage similar that to an incumbent. Here’s a quick look at the finances of potential candidates for the US Senate special election to fill John Kerry's seat that have existing federal campaign accounts. The most recent FEC data was used.

Democrats

Stephen Lynch – The former South Boston ironworker faced off largely token opposition in his 2012 reelection campaign ending November with $740,412 cash on hand and no debts
.
Ed Markey – The longest serving member of Congress from Massachusetts happens to have the largest war chest of any of the potential Senate candidates at $3,142,000. The Malden Democrat has no debts.

Bill Keating – With so little time in office Keating is a bit of a longshot but he reported $273,768 in cash on hand at the end of November along with no debts. Keating faced off surprisingly weak opposition from one of the state’s more conservative regions during his 2012 reelection campaign.

Mike Capuano – Some close to Capuano suggest say he won’t risk losing another Senate bid but easily winning reelection he has more than enough money to launch a 2013 bid. Capuano finished November with $491,133 and no debt.

Setti Warren – It would be unlikely that the Newton mayor runs again for a variety of reasons but for starters his campaign’s last report indicates he has just $4,449 in cash on hand and over $88,000 in debt.

Republicans

Scott Brown – After nearly depleting his substantial campaign war chest in his epic battle with Elizabeth Warren he is left with $464,157 according to reports filed at the end of November. The Globe reported earlier this month that that figure will drop to somewhere around $150,000 - $200,000 after outstanding bills are resolved.

Movement on gun control? Maybe

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More December 15, 2012 03:45 PM

In his brief and emotional remarks to the nation on Friday president Obama hinted at some kind of action to come on guns. So what does that mean? A Renewal of the assault weapons ban as he has previously suggested? Stricter gun purchasing regulations? A ban on the sale of high capacity ammunition clips?

All of these measures will face resistance on the Hill. The Republican majority in the House, pulled slightly to the right by its Tea Party members, makes the passage of any gun control bill unlikely. There are some congressional Democrats that will make this a major issue in the next session but how far will they get and how much political capital are they willing to expend on a likely sisyphean cause? Control advocates have a better path to success in the Senate where Democrats are in firm control but they still don’t have enough votes to overcome a likely filibuster from conservative pro-gun Republicans. This makes battle over filibuster reform all the more intriguing.

Does the country even want tougher gun-control? As Nate Silver notes in a post to FiveThirtyEight the discussion on guns has moved from “control” to “rights”.

If the news coverage is any guide, there has been a change of tone in recent years in the public conversation about guns. The two-word phrase “gun control” is being used considerably less often than it was 10 or 20 years ago. But the phrase “gun rights” is being used more often. And the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is being invoked more frequently in the discussion

Polling conducted by Gallup and others indicates that Americans are open to reinstituting an assault weapons ban but against implementing stricter gun laws. A 2011 survey indicated that over 47 percent of Americans claim to keep guns in their home or on their property.

High profile spree shootings haven't moved public opinion in the past but that may change now because of the brutality of the Newtown massacre.

During times of tragedy be careful what you post and Tweet

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More December 14, 2012 03:43 PM

twitter_facebook1.jpgAs news continues to trickle in about this story please be mindful of these three things:

1. Be careful when you retweet a story on Twitter or post something to Facebook because there's a real chance it's just a rumor or not even true. We saw this during Hurricane Sandy where people were quick to spread photos that they thought were of storm battered New York City but were actually intricate Photoshop jobs or of a different catastrophe.

2. Don't go immediately splashing links to the social media accounts of people that are named in the event until reputable news outlets have confirmed their identities. There are millions of people on Facebook with the same name so wait until somebody confirms that the guy wearing dark clothes in his profile picture is the same guy that shot up a school.

3. When the event is politically charged, like this one, be mindful of whether you want to engage in that discussion with friends and family in a public forum. If you go posting "Ban all handguns" as your status update it's all but guaranteed one of your Facebook friends will disagree. This can lead to uncomfortable fights with friends that you may not want to have. People sometimes forget that Facebook and Twitter can be read by everyone, too.

Winners and losers in Cahill trial

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More December 12, 2012 04:41 PM

TimCahillHands.jpgAfter forty hours of deliberations in the corruption trial of former state treasurer Timothy P. Cahill the jury could not reach a verdict leaving Judge Christine Roach to declare a mistrial. Earlier this week the other defendant in the case, longtime Cahill staffer Scott Campbell, was acquitted on both counts. Here are the winners and losers in the most watched trial of a Massachusetts political figure since the last one:

WINNERS

Tim Cahill: Not only does the former treasurer get his life back he gets his state pension back. It’s hard to say what kind of penalty Cahill would have received but even if he was sentenced to just community service his state pension would have been in serious jeopardy. Cahill’s reputation may be tarnished after this trial but at least his finances will recover.

Andy Metzger: The State House News Service reporter provided some of the best daily coverage of the trial with insightful little details in every dispatch from the courtroom. Metzger shined while covering the biggest Massachusetts political story of the year that wasn’t a campaign.

Democrats Running for Governor in 2014: As rumors swirl about who is and who isn’t running for governor in 2014 one of the potential frontrunners, Attorney General Martha Coakley, just lost a major case that could have boosted her gubernatorial prospects. Unless US Attorney Carmen Ortiz gets in the race Coakley will be the only major candidate that can say she’s prosecuted corruption and all that good stuff but odds are they’re people the average voter has never heard of.

LOSERS

Martha Coakley: Cahill walking because of a hung jury does not torpedo her chances in 2014 and probably doesn’t hurt them much, if at all, but as mentioned above it’s an accomplishment she won’t be able to trump in 2014. Who knows if she will pursue Cahill again as it is now apparent that these cases are really tricky to prosecute.

The Jury: They lost countless hours days of their lives to ultimately not come to a decision.

PUSH

The 2009 Ethics Law: A lot will be written in the coming days about whether the new law served its purpose or not and whether this entire trial was a waste of money or not. Was it right to prosecute Cahill for his ads 2010 ads that walked that fine line or did Coakley overreach? Will Cahill’s experience deter elected officials from using their office and incumbency to further their political careers or is it just business as usual on Beacon Hill? My guess is this isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing juries and prosecutors struggle with this new law.

Bill Weld for MassGOP chair?

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More December 6, 2012 09:34 AM

BillWeld.jpgFormer governor Bill Weld danced around any future runs for office during an interview with what looks like the entire Boston Herald staff. Weld didn't rule anything out but said he really enjoys working for Mintz Levin.

Who knows what Weld will do down the road but tax activist Barbara Anderson sees a future for Weld as the head of the Massachusetts Republican Party. The libertarian proposed the idea back in November in a column in the Salem News but emailed members of the media in a follow up on the news that Bob Maginn will not seek reelection as Mass. GOP chair. The bulk of the column bashed Libertarian "spoiler" Dan Fishman but once you get passed that Anderson puts forth her plan:

Bill Weld is moving back, some say to run for U.S. Senate again. This works for me, if that’s what he wants, but Barbara’s Plan reflects the year he became governor, when Ray Shamie was a strong chairman of the state Republican Party and presided over substantial victories. I would ask Bill Weld to become chairman, giving the GOP the face of a fiscal conservative/social liberal like Scott Brown and Richard Tisei, both of whom would run again. Since we know Bill likes to delegate details, he sets the campaign themes and works with the media, while Peter Torkildsen moves into the job of political director.

So on the 2014 ballot, we have Scott Brown for U.S. Senate, Richard Tisei for Congress in the 6th, other Weld-Republicans running in other congressional districts. Charlie Baker runs for governor again, with Karyn Polito for lieutenant governor. The best of this year’s Republican legislative candidates give it another try, now part of a coordinated Weld-Republican effort. Social conservatives will be encouraged only if they stop beating the dead election issues of abortion/gay marriage and get serious about the national debt and the fiscal problems of Massachusetts, more serious than presently admitted.

At this time Weld doesn't appear to be on anybody's shortlist for party chair.

Warren's campaign debt not unusual

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More December 5, 2012 02:58 PM

Elizabeth Warren's email to supporters asking for help to retire her campaign debt is startling only when you consider the amount of money she raised. Warren's Senate campaign was the most expensive this cycle and the fifth most expensive of all time according to a New York Times analysis.

This fundraising pitch isn't all that unusual as campaigns run into debt frequently. Heck, Hillary Clinton is still trying to retire debt from her 2008 presidential bid.

The glut of "Notre Dame return to glory" pieces

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More December 5, 2012 01:16 PM

BrianKellyIrish.jpgDuring the month-long build up to the BCS National Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame there will be dozens of "Notre Dame's Return To Glorry" pieces published. Some will be amusing diatribes by haters while others will be dull and sentimental odes to the history of the Fighting Irish.

So far though this SportsNation piece by author Greg Jordan stands out as it leaves out tired cliches while touching on Notre Dame's important place in American Irish Catholic culture and, more importantly, as an enduring brand like Apple.

Mike Golic made the un-American case against the wrathful on "Mike and Mike in the Morning" a couple of weeks ago, and he made it as a business school major would. Notre Dame does branding like nobody else, and the wrathful just can’t deal with that. And for this reason, they criticize Notre Dame for things that most Americans are praised for.

They are criticizing Notre Dame for things that most Americans are praised for.
He’s right: why should Steve Jobs become an American icon for obsoleting a well-crafted gizmo every two years and a few Holy Cross priests and their board be condemned for taking a football brand to the bank? In the big business of college athletics, nobody does the business side better. And now, after 20 years of jeopardizing that brand (see Jobs 1985-95), Notre Dame, like Apple, is back, and eyeing more market share than ever.

Golic’s point – that criticism on these grounds runs counter to an American ethic – would be exact if Notre Dame were solely a business. But it is a university, a great university in a country with the greatest universities in the world, and therein lies the additional complexity that makes Golic’s un-American charge even more troubling when played out further.

Read the whole thing here.

The hype for the BCS title game will be out of this world as it should be. This is a classic game between two of the most storied teams in the history of American sports. The sentimental pieces about this will be tedious but the ones that dig deep like Jordan's will be well worth reading at least twice.

About the author

Garrett Quinn began writing for newspapers at age 17 with CNC in his native South Shore. He has been published in BlueMassGroup, RedMassGroup, Pioneer Investigates, and Wonkette. He is a More »

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