(This is the third in a series about a political campaign for the state legislature in Massachusetts.)
I have been working since last Spring on the campaign of conservative Republican Mike Case for state representative. Several days after Mike announced his intention to seek the seat last Winter, the 3-term Democrat incumbent dropped out. This gave Mike a lot of press as “the Republican who knocked off the Democrat”.
Mike is being seen as a very strong candidate. Even the local lefty newspaper is treating him decently because they are pretty sure he is going to win, or at least they are very sure he is not going to automatically lose like many Republicans in Massachusetts. This year as many as 20 Republicans are expected to pick up state seats.
He is running a very disciplined and professional campaign. He’s done very well in the fundraising department and he has many supporters from all over the political spectrum, along with many dedicated volunteers. He had two “consultants” on the payroll, but he fired them when he realized that we knew more than they did as we conduct a genuine grass-roots campaign with equal parts inspiration and perspiration.
Mike is getting lots of good free press in debates and interviews and when issues arise like ‘single-payer’ health care. Of all local candidates running for state office, Mike was the only one who said he didn’t believe in government health care because it would drive taxes through the roof. And this year, that is a plus even in Massachusetts. Remember Scott Brown won by running strongly against ObamaCare.
Mike is pro-business in a state that is anti-business. He has been endorsed by Citizens for Limited Taxation and the National Federation of Independent Business.
Mike won his primary easily with 78% of the vote, beating a shell candidate put up by a local feminist group trying to knock Mike out in the primary. He now is running against an independent and a hard-left union-backed Democrat candidate. We in the campaign are quite confident that the socialist is too far left even for Massachusetts this year. And that certainly spurred some Democrat goons to steal ten of our campaign signs – along one street! – on the night of October 16. We quickly replaced them.
Our district is huge, is shaped like a dragon and is 60 miles as the crow flies from end to end starting at the New York state border and going northeast. It is mostly rural and has many small towns. So we do lots of driving up to the end near the New Hampshire border. It is beautiful farm country with many scenic mountain vistas and this Autumn has been very warm and sunny, allowing us to enjoy the rides even more.
Mike’s reputation is spreading even to Boston, where the state GOP is taking notice. They gave his campaign $3,000 in in-kind services as a sign of confidence. And believe me, Mike Case is somebody you are going to hear about after he wins this race. He plans to be a part of the revitalization of Massachusetts through good government.
Mike has a wonderful resume. He spent 25 years as a Pittsfield police officer. But more important is his military service. He is a Vietnam veteran (two tours as a B-52 crew chief in Thailand), and had a tour each in Bosnia and Iraq in the Massachusetts National Guard. Mike is no ordinary soldier. He has reached the rank of Command Sergeant Major, and without going into details, here are some of the commendations he has received: US Army National Guard, Joint Service Achievement Medal; Massachusetts Army National Guard, Legion of Merit; Massachusetts National Guard, Medal of Merit; The Army Commendation Medal; and the Multi National Corps Iraq certificate of appreciation to Command Sergeant Major Case, “Thanks for the Leadership”. Mike also has a Masters degree in public administration, and in the 1970s he served for two years as an intern in the US Congress in Washington for the New England Congressional Caucus.
By the way, Mike’s son Ryan won two bronze stars for valor in Afghanistan.
On a recent campaign swing way up to Northfield, near the New Hampshire border, Mike stopped off at the Greenfield radio station for an interview while Pete Risatti and I headed up to plant signs. Pete is a former state trooper and Marine, and Mike, Pete and I are like the Three Stooges. They talk lots of “cop shop” and are both really funny guys, and I am the odd man out, the “thinker” who sits and mulls everything through. All in all, we have a lot of laughs together. The campaign is fun and we are meeting many great people.
On the way back we stopped in the historic town of Shelburne Falls to talk to the local newspaper editor and to have lunch. At a debate there, three of our campaign signs were stolen. And just by coincidence, there were union guys in the audience standing up for their candidate. You just can’t trust these thieves.
In Shelburne, we visited the rod-and-gun club where Mike was well received, and we met two Greek restaurateurs and we talked issues with them and with an EMT from the area who was very much interested in Mike’s agenda to bring back jobs and clear out the corruption in Boston. Mike also talked to a wine merchant who said that the new state sales tax on wine is killing him.
At times like these, we are feeling the energy rising for Mike’s campaign. Mike is a really nice, honest guy and very dedicated, loves to talk and really connects with people on the issues. Pete and I like to talk about Mike’s mastery of Irish blarney.
On the way back, we stopped in the picturesque village of Ashfield, which is mostly a hippie-dippie town now. There we visited the elegant old New England home of a retired Republican surgeon who supports Mike and who told us of his family’s long history in the storybook town. He said:
‘This town used to be all Republican farmers. In one election – I think it was for Coolidge – my grandfather told me that they were counting the ballots on election night. Republican, Republican, Republican… Then they came across one Democrat ballot and they couldn’t figure out who the heck in town it might be. So they let it go and kept counting – Republican, Republican, Republican, Republican… Then five minutes later they came across a second Democrat ballot. They all looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and one fellow said, “That’s typical. The bastard voted twice.”’
Mike is well known around Pittsfield and Dalton which are the population centers in the western end of the district. When ‘standing out’ with him at the big intersection with signs, it is honks and waves and best wishes. All the local cops and many other Democrats are voting for Mike because they like him, and also because even Democrats in Massachusetts are realizing that the state is going downhill fast under a 90% Democrat legislature.
Mike has been getting many supportive letters to the local paper, one from a prominent Democrat, which is the kind of backers we need to get those crucial crossover voters. And the recent failure of his socialist opponent to participate in a debate is causing a firestorm.
Keep your fingers crossed for Mike. He is a great guy. His website is www.electmikecase.com
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can read excerpts from my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.