Political Intelligence

McGee the frontrunner in race to replace Walsh as state Democratic party chair

State Senator Thomas M. McGee is emerging as the leading candidate to be the next chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, according to political activists and leaders.

McGee, a Lynn Democrat who has both strong urban roots and support from the liberal wing of the party, would replace outgoing chair John Walsh if he is elected to the post. The election will likely take place in October.

McGee began gaining steam after others who considered running for the post — including former state Senator Warren Tolman, Jamaica Plain’s state Representative Jeffery Sanchez, and longtime Democratic activist and lawyer Cheryl Cronin — decided not to pursue it.

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Still, McGee faces some hurdles. One problem is the optics: he is a white male who would head a party that strives for diversity.

He is also a sitting senator, who, as an elected official, has his own agenda that can bring him into conflict with his duties to the party. For example, one of his senatorial constituents is Charles D. Baker, the likely Republican gubernatorial nominee whom the party will attack relentlessly. The two have overlapping constituencies in Swampscott, many of whom would not appreciate seeing Baker eviscerated by the Democrats.

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