Tag Archives: Rep. Mike Capuano

Kennedy Crushing it in Massachusetts Polling

Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-)

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 5, 2019 — A just-released Change Research poll of the Massachusetts electorate (Aug. 25-28; 1,008 registered Massachusetts voters; 808 Massachusetts Democratic primary voters, online) conducted for the Commonwealth Magazine finds Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) jumping out to a large early lead over Sen. Ed Markey if the two were to face each other in next year’s Democratic primary.

The other two announced candidates, author and corporate executive Steve Pemberton and attorney/activist Shannon Liss-Riordan, were also included on the ballot test.

Change finds Rep. Kennedy topping Sen. Markey by a whopping 17 percentage points, 42-25 percent, including those respondents who say they are “leaning” to one of the candidates. Pemberton and Liss-Riordan are trailing badly with seven and five percent support. Rep. Kennedy has not committed to running but did confirm he is considering doing so and filed a Senate campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission. The filing does not necessarily mean the individual is an official candidate, but the act is a typical first step in running for federal office.

The poll was conducted in an online format, and though the sample size is substantial for a state the size of Massachusetts, particularly in a party primary, the true error factor for this type of study tends to be greater than the stated polling margin of error. In this case, the variance is 3.5 percentage points.

The poll does clearly reveal, or perhaps confirm, legitimate political weakness for Sen. Markey. Originally elected to the US House in 1976, Markey has served in Congress ever since. He won a special US Senate election in 2013 when then-Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) resigned to become US Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. Markey was subsequently elected to a full term in 2014 with a 59-36 percent margin in the general election. He faced no primary opposition in ’14.

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House Primary Challenges

By Jim Ellis

The Justice Democrats’ logo (click on image to go to their website)

July 16, 2019 — Controversy has been arising lately from the Congressional Black Caucus as the organization leaders are charging that the left faction Justice Democrats are isolating their members for primary challenges. But the number of Democratic incumbents having to defend themselves from potentially serious nomination opponents reaches well beyond the CBC.

In fact, currently 24 Democratic House members have what appear to be credible primary opponents and at least five more could soon be in a nomination race.

What makes these challenges potentially different and is clearly one reason more ideological candidates are coming forward in what used to be no-win campaigns, is the amount of money being raised online for such contenders.

For example, though his 2016 challenge of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) went down to a landslide 57-43 percent defeat, South Florida law professor Tim Canova raised just under $4 million for his campaign. Almost all of the fundraising came in online donations after presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed his candidacy. Therefore, it is possible that several of the challengers listed below could also begin to attract national electronic donations under the right circumstances.

The Justice Democrats scored heavily in 2018 when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset then-Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley did likewise to veteran Massachusetts Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville). The credibility gained in those races make their support of 2020 Democratic challengers more noteworthy.

In addition to the incumbents listed below, other members, including Democratic Conference chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), are also on the Justice target list. Democratic National Committee member and former congressional nominee Rob Zimmerman confirms he is considering launching a challenge against Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove/Huntington). Observers also report that 2018 candidate Adem Bunkeddeko, who held Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) to a 53-47 percent primary win, may make another run.

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Capuano Thrashed; MA-3 Undecided

Boston-City-Councilwoman-Ayanna-PressleyBy Jim Ellis

Sept. 5, 2018
— Ten-term Massachusetts Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville) was unseated last night as at-large Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley scored a major 59-41 percent victory in the 7th District Democratic primary.

The challenger victory means that a total of four US House incumbents to date, two Democrats and two Republicans, have been denied re-nomination. The other three are Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Bob Pittenger (R-NC), and Mark Sanford (R-SC).

The 7th District is Massachusetts’ only majority minority district and Pressley, who is African American, successfully coalesced the minority communities behind her campaign. She was quoted last night as saying that while the situation is different than in New York where Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez defeated Rep. Crowley, the energy and momentum behind her own campaign greatly increased after the New York result became a national story.

Pressley demonstrated her ability in uniting minority voters, particularly in Boston where she is a known entity, despite the community leadership largely backing Rep. Capuano. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, former Gov. Deval Patrick, the Congressional Black Caucus, and most labor unions all supported Rep. Capuano. Polling never projected Rep. Capuano gaining majority support, but it also failed to foretell him losing and by such a decisive margin.

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Today’s Massachusetts Primary

Massachusetts congressional districts

Massachusetts congressional districts

By Jim Ellis

Sept. 4, 2018 — Bay State voters head to the polls today to choose nominees for federal and state office.

In the Senate race, Republicans will select an opponent for first-term Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But the question looming is whether she will quickly jump into 2020 presidential campaign immediately upon concluding her re-election in November.

Republicans have three candidates vying for the party nomination: state Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Plymouth), former Department of consumer affairs director, Beth Lindstrom, and businessman John Kingston who has loaned almost $5 million to his campaign. All three have generated well into seven figures in campaign resources. But, whomever wins the nomination tonight will begin the general election in an obvious underdog position to Sen. Warren.

There are several US House primaries to be settled today. The most competitive incumbent challenge comes against ten-term veteran Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville). He is working to repel a challenge from Boston at-large City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley.

Presley is a strong candidate, having been twice elected citywide to the Boston Council. Most of the Democratic political establishment has fallen in behind Congressman Capuano, i.e., Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, ex-Gov. Deval Patrick, and major labor union leadership. This, in addition to his 20-year service record in Congress and as mayor of Somerville before coming to Washington, largely gives him the support base necessary to win another re-nomination tonight.

The latest publicly released MassInc poll (July 27-29; 403 likely MA-7 Democratic primary voters) gave the congressman a 48-35 percent advantage and showed Presley performing well in Boston, but not outside the city. Capuano’s margin in the non-city portion of the district, in places like Somerville and Cambridge, should be enough to carry him to victory tonight. Winning the Democratic primary here is tantamount to victory in November.

Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) is also facing a Democratic primary challenge in his western Massachusetts district. His opponent, Muslim activist Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, gains more media attention than campaign support, however. His finances show just over $112,000 in total receipts. Therefore, Rep. Neal should win easily tonight.

Retiring Rep. Niki Tsongas’ (D-Lowell) open 3rd District concludes a long Democratic primary featuring a myriad of candidates. The field is now down to ten candidates after three withdrew, and several are competitive.

Daniel Koh, former chief of staff to Boston Mayor Walsh, has raised more than $3.3 million and is one of the top candidates. But, the 3rd District doesn’t touch any of Boston, and coming from the state’s dominant city might not be viewed as a major positive within a field of so many more locally based candidates.

Other strong contenders include state Sen. Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), who wants to launch impeachment proceedings against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; former US Ambassador Rufus Gifford has raised more than $2 million for his congressional effort, while state Rep. Juana Matias (D-Lawrence) possesses strength within the district’s Hispanic community. Ex-congressional aide Lori Trahan is also running an active campaign and could become factor tonight.

The Republican nomination is decided. Business owner Rick Green is unopposed for the party nomination and poised to run a competitive general election campaign against tonight’s winner. The 3rd District is one seat where Gov. Charlie Baker (R) must run well to secure re-election, and he is on track to score a landslide victory. Therefore, Green taking advantage of the opportunity to work in conjunction with the Baker turnout operation here is a decided positive.

The 9th District will also yield a potentially competitive general election, which is another place where Gov. Baker must run up the score. Here, former chain convenience store owner Peter Tedeschi (R) is quietly putting together a viable challenger campaign opposite three-term Rep. Bill Keating (D-Bourne/Cape Cod) who has only averaged 53.5 percent in his trio of campaign victories.

The congressman posting his strongest showing, 55.1 percent, in his initial campaign yet failing to expand upon that number in subsequent re-election efforts suggests potential political weakness. Keating won re-election in 2016 with just 52.5 percent against an opponent who spent less than $1,000. The congressman faces anemic Democratic primary opposition tonight, while Tedeschi is unopposed in the Republican primary.

Democrat Primary Action

Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee)

Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee)

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 1, 2018 — A day after Florida former Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville) reported to prison to serve her sentence for public corruption, her successor, Rep. Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee), drew a major Democratic primary challenger.

Former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown (D) announced Monday that he will enter the party primary in FL-5 against Rep. Lawson, the man who defeated Brown in the 2016 Democratic nomination contest after her legal trouble became public news but before her conviction.

The 5th District was newly configured in the state Supreme Court’s 2016 mid-decade redistricting map. Instead of stretching south from Jacksonville to Orlando to create a majority minority CD, the court map changed the draw to move west into a Jacksonville-Tallahassee split. The move forced then-Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Tallahassee) to retire after one term because her previous 2nd District had been divided into this new 5th District seat with Rep. Brown as the incumbent and an open Republican CD.

Lawson, a former state senate minority leader, is also a 28-year veteran of the Florida legislature. Taking advantage of Rep. Brown’s legal problems and that Tallahassee had been added to the district, Lawson racked up a 48-39 percent Democratic primary victory, and easily won the safely Democratic seat in November.

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