There is a sort of natural selection to the shaping of a political race and Massachusetts voters are beginning to see the electoral circle of life.
Within a 24-hour span, the state’s gubernatorial field gained one and lost two candidates. There’s still room for more to get in and opportunities for others to get out so the herd you see now may look quite different from the one you see, say, post-Labor Day.
Juliette Kayyem, a former Boston Globe columnist and homeland security official for both the Patrick and Obama administrations, made her entry into the race official yesterday, opening up an account with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance and posting a video making her announcement. Kayyem played down her security bona fides but offered little in the way of policies or stances, though most expect her to be a loud voice for the Democratic left.
A little while later, Scott Brown, who has been toying with the idea of taking up residence in the White House, told empathetic talk show host Dan Rea he would not jump into the race, leaving the GOP nomination wide open for 2010 gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker. Brown, who only seems to talk to those who pay him or agree with him in the media, did not issue a ringing endorsement of his fellow Republican.
“Is he Mr. Personality?” Brown asked rhetorically about Baker. “No.” Not exactly a commercial endorsement in the making.
The biggest ground-shaker, though not totally unexpected, was today’s early morning announcement by state Sen. Dan Wolf that he would leave his Cape and Islands district seat in a week and suspend his run for the corner office unless the state Ethics Commission does an about-face. The commission earlier this month ruled that Wolf’s ownership of Cape Air and its agreement to pay landing fees at Logan to Massport is a conflict of interest that prevents him from serving as a senator or governor. The ruling gave him options to divest himself of the company, cease operations at Logan or quit. He chose the latter.
Wolf has been on the circuit to lobby for his view that the arrangement was not a contract in any sense of the word but he declined to challenge the opinion in court, the only place he could because there is no formal appeals process in the Ethics Commission regulations once an opinion is issued. Wolf’s statement continued to lambast the ruling but reading between the lines, it’s easy to discern his problem may be more with the statute than the ruling.
“Unless the Ethics Commission reconsiders, taking both the spirit and letter of the law into account, acknowledging that the intent of the conflict of interest law was not to stop someone in my situation from serving the public, this will be my course of action.”; Wolf said.
But Wolf also played a little fast and loose with some facts. In his statement, he used a quote from Ethics Commission spokesman David Giannotti to say the ruling was, “as their own spokesperson put it, ‘written in the rush of things.'” That’s not exactly what Giannotti told CommonWealth, which was the source of the quote. Giannotti was referring to the single line in the ruling that said Wolf had to abandon his run for governor, admitting that if Wolf stepped down as senator, the commission could not force him to stop running for governor because the agency has no oversight of private citizens.
But Wolf’s decision has made the Ethics Commission a player in the race, and simmering on the back burner is a potential gut-punch to state Treasurer Steven Grossman, the best known of the field so far. Like Wolf, Grossman sought out the Ethics Commission “out of an abundance of caution” regarding a life insurance policy that may become problematic for him.
Grossman’s letter to the commission revealed he may owe $500,000 in delinquent taxes because of an erroneous consolidation of life insurance policies predating his election as treasurer. But Grossman acknowledged that there exists the potential for a lawsuit, which would have a deleterious effect on his campaign. Just ask Dan Wolf.
Attorney General Martha Coakley wants to take cigarette, booze and lottery ticket sales away from vendors who accept illegal EBT payments.
A superseding indictment in former Probation commissioner John O’Brien’s federal racketeering case adds new alleged crimes, and details dealings between O’Brien’s office and Senate President Therese Murray, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and former Lt. Gov. Tim Murray.
The Sun Chronicle talks to Rep. Paul Heroux about his recent trip to North Korea.
A Milton developer says he will circumvent local zoning and build 77 units of housing including some affordable units under the state’s Chapter 40B after town officials rejected his proposal to build three homes on a four-acre plot.
Somerville taps Tufts University to redevelop a shuttered school, which will become administrative offices for the university.
Third time’s the charm? Penn National Gaming is betting on having better luck with trying to acquire the Plainville Racecourse and introduce slots there. Gabrielle Gurley looked at their Tewksbury defeat in Wednesday’s Download.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren tells editors from Gateway Cities newspapers that GOP “obstructionism,” not political gridlock, is the impediment to getting things done on Washington, CommonWealth reports.
The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser serves up the lowdown on a possible Clinton-Biden battle.
Many nonprofit organizations in New York are balking at a law requiring them to disclose their donors, the New York Times reports.
Time says the White House is dragging its feet on taking action in Syria after reports that nerve gas was used on the political opposition.
A New York Times op-ed column urges the Census Bureau to overhaul its system for categorizing race in America.
A day after he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents, former Army soldier Bradley Manning says he intends to undergo hormone therapy treatment for a sex change and wants to be called “Chelsea” from now on.
Boston mayoral candidate John Connolly turns down $500,000 from the education group Stand for Children after taking flak from his rivals, WBUR reports.
Charlotte Golar Richie, running for mayor of Boston, speaks out against violence against women, NECN reports.
Keller@Large says Gov. Deval Patrick should admit the controversial computer services tax was a mistake.
A study by Google says donation-related searches on the Internet increase by about 30 percent in September, suggesting those charities that plan end-of-year fundraising may be waiting too long.
The Henry K. Oliver School reopens in Lawrence with a new curriculum, special support services for students, and teachers — not a principal — in charge, the Eagle-Tribune reports.
Six of 10 teachers at a Catholic school in Millbury resign after claiming that the headmaster engaged in bullying and other bizarre behavior, the Telegram & Gazette reports.
UMass Medical Center in Worcester pays $66,000 to settle charges that it sent phony bills to a homeless shelter to create the paper trail needed to charge the state, the Telegram & Gazette reports.
State officials have barred tall ships from going under the Brightman Street Bridge in Fall River after a crack was discovered in the drawbridge’s crank. Officials are working to force open the bridge and leave it upright.
This year’s apple crop in the Berkshires is superior to last year’s.
The first confirmed sighting since colonial times of a bobcat on Cape Cod was caught on camera in Falmouth.
A federal appeals court upholds the conviction and eight-year sentence of former House Speaker Sal DiMasi, the Associated Press reports (via Lowell Sun).
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan orders an independent review of the Jared Remy case. Meanwhile, prosecutors reveal that Bay State women abused by their male partners rarely seek out dangerousness hearings.