Friday, June 13, 2008

4th Middlesex state senate round-up

the withdrawl of state senator James Marzilli last week leaves two democrats are left on the ballot to battle it out for a coveted seat in th' Great-n-General Court.
Two weeks have passed and politics has once again set in, the remaining candidates who are both townies or townie wannabees have suddenly realized that neither of them has many bona-fides with the districts suddenly homeless liberals.
Kenny Donnelly the former firefighter who placed second in the special election last year is making a big play for Jim Marzilli's liberal base trumpeting his commitment to social justice and a single payer health care system. Combine this with his sizable campaign fund and nigh endless supply of out-of-district police and firefighter volunteers.
However, Donnelly is being backed to the hilt by the town hall machine headed by selectperson Diane Mahon and thus it can be expected that should he win that faction will be in ascendency within the town for the foreseeable future. Moreover it has long been rumored in Arlington that East Arlington activist George Laite will be hired by Donnelly as his chief aide if the retired firefighter carries the day. Laite previously forfilled this role for former state senator Bob Havern in the glory days of his incumbency. With his union bona fides and liberalish rhetoric, Donelly looks great...on paper.
In reality he has an irritating tendency to shout into the microphone and the only issue he can speak of with any fluency seems to be public service pensions a topic of militant disinterest to 85% of the electorate. Whenever he gets off the issue of pensions he has a bad habit of droning thru his talking points like he is reading it off one of his campaign brochures. His money and volunteers though, make him the man to beat at the moment.
Arlington selectman Jack Hurd is also in the race, the scion of a storied Arlington political family and a fixture in town politics for over a decade. Jack is a nice pleasant calm fellow he never loses his temper, at least in public and he has run up some impressive totals in various town elections. However, a calm demeanor can sometimes be mistaken for leadership.
Jack also chaired the Arlington Town Democratic Committee during the period of it's maximum torpidity in the late 1990's. Deadheads, no-shows and zombies glogged the membership rolls to such a degree that simple quorums became a rarity as the four year term wore on and on.
With the departure of Marzilli from the campaign Hurd has also discovered his "Inner McGovern" coming out for reproductive rights, same sex marriage and against capital punishment.
Quite literally til last week no one in Arlington has ever heard Jack Hurd say word one on any of these topics.
Jack Hurd is also rumored to be in some enmity with Diane Mahon's faction going back quite a ways, if he wins the primary in September her faction's march to glory will likely be temporarily halted.
However I shold stress other than this town hall feud, Hurd has almost no enemies to speak of anywhere in the district.
That is not necessarily a bad thing.
At the moment it appears that the remnants of former selectman Charlie Lyons have coalesced around Hurd's candidacy. It has long been rumored that Charlie wants back into town politics very badly if even by proxy to avenge the loss of his seat on the board of selectmen. However, Lyons allegedly made some extravagant promises to Charles Murphy's campaign last fall and could not deliver so it is not know if there is any life left in the Lyon's machine in Arlington.

Frankly neither man inspires much hope from me, Hurd has name recognition but has never run for anything outside of Arlington nor has he any experience fundraising on the 100K level that a senate race requires. Putting Charlie Lyons back in the game hold little attraction as well.
Donnelly has better liberal bona fides but he still remains an amateur politicians one who would be too dependent on the goodwill of his town hall machine backers in order to be effective.
Time will tell both men have all summer to make their case, I urge the district's liberal voters to take their time and consider things carefully.

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