12 Days to Election Day: Massachusetts

For anyone who thought or believed that Massachusetts was suddenly showing signs of conservatism because Scott Brown won in 2010 or Barney Frank is retiring, you are wrong. Brown’s 2010 surprise victory was partly attributable to a recognition of his moderation, and ineptitude on the part of his Democratic opponent, Martha Coakley. Brown will not have conditions favorable to him this time out. For example, although the future of Obamacare is still unresolved, health care reform- the single issue that catapulted Brown into the Senate- is less an issue than jobs. It is akin to Hochul’s victory in New York state and the Medicare issue that pushed her into office. If anyone believes Romney has a chance of taking their 11 electoral votes, it is not happening as Obama should win the state with as high as 61% of the vote.

The House races are rather uninteresting except in a couple of cases. Currently, the entire House delegation is Democratic, but they lose a seat this year. When this happens, redistricting necessitates an incumbent versus incumbent primary match up occurring somewhere. That was avoided when John Olver announced his intentions to retire rather than run for reelection in the new First District and Richard Neal will run here instead. In fact, he is running unopposed.

The most interesting race will be in the 4th currently held by Barney Frank who decided to call it quits. On the GOP side will be Sean Bielat again who gave Frank a run for his money in 2010, but still lost by 11 points. Bielat is a former Democrat who became disillusioned by that party’s policies. To prevail, he will have to defeat Joseph Kennedy III, a difficult feat. When the Fourth was reconfigured during the redistricting process, some of the more Democratic areas were shifted into the new 9th District. The current district runs from the liberal southern suburbs of Boston to the southern end of the state through New Bedford. Many people here at Redstate believe Bielat has a chance, but this writer thinks that Kennedy will win although it may just be a close race (52-48%?) in the end.

Instead, a more realistic target for the GOP is in the Sixth District where Republican Richard Tisei is challenging Democratic incumbent John Tierney. Several key areas that Brown carried in 2010 were placed in the new 6th District. Also, Tierney’s wife has had legal problems regarding the filing of taxes which casts a shadow over Tierney. However, the bottom line is that come November 7th, the House delegation from Massachusetts should be 9-0 in favor of the Democrats. Again, I realize that many people believe Tisei has a chance, but we are talking about Massachusetts here. Realism prevails.

Which then brings us to the all-important Senate race. Everyone remembers the surprising victory of Scott Brown to succeed the iconic liberal Senator, Ted Kennedy. That victory came at the expense of Martha Coakley who simply ran an inept campaign relying on the fact it was “Ted Kennedy’s seat” and this was a blue state. While Brown was standing outside Fenway Park shaking hands, Coakley was downplaying retail politics. He surged near the end of the campaign and never looked back on his way to victory by 6 points. His election changed the whole dynamic of the health care reform debate.

In 2012, he faces a much tougher opponent in Elizabeth Warren, a true liberal’s liberal. Not that her campaign has been all that spectacular thus far. She does have a large war chest and name recognition, much more than Coakley ever did. But, this is actually a good sign for Scott Brown. Despite the advantage in fundraising, advertisements, and name recognition, Warren cannot put great consistent distance between herself and Brown in the polls. They are essentially in a dead heat. This would seem to indicate that voters are wavering and minds are not definitely made up yet.

With two years under his belt, Brown has established a national network of donors. Although both candidates have disavowed help from outside groups, they have nevertheless injected about $837,000 into this race. Because of Brown’s voting record in the Senate, it is believed that Brown has sufficiently and adequately distanced himself from the more conservative elements in the GOP because that does not fly in Massachusetts. In fact, if Brown prevails, it is likely that 2 years down the line he will have the RINO label attached to him.

For these reasons, this writer believes that the voters of Massachussets will ultimately return Scott Brown to the Senate by at least giving him the benefit of the doubt. In six years we shall see if that is still the case.

There are three questions on the Massachusetts ballot this year. One would require mechanics and salesmen to provide consumers with necessary safety information regarding cars. The second question, with many alleged safeguards, would allow terminally ill patients to be given lethal injections of drugs with the patient’s consent after consultation with physicians. In short, it is an attempt to legalize euthanasia. The third measure would legalize the use of medical marijuana. Once again: until the federal laws are updated, these initiatives are going nowhere.

In conclusion: All nine Democrats in the House delegation are reelected while Obama takes the 11 electoral votes at stake here. Scott Brown wins a close race against Elizabeth Warren.

Running totals thus far: Obama now leads in electoral votes 217-181 while Republicans control the Senate 40-38 and the House 161-156.

Next: Pennsylvania