Massachusetts has a large, and growing, block of independent voters. They call out like a siren to ambitious outsider politicians, ambitious individuals who set out to vanquish partisan politics. These efforts have always ended with the outsider feeling lighter in the pockets, and the state’s two-party system still fully in place.

Jeff McCormick, a Boston businessman and political independent, is the latest candidate to try harnessing Massachusetts’s huge pool of independents. McCormick formally announced his gubernatorial candidacy Tuesday morning, in a YouTube video and tour of the State House press corps. McCormick pitches himself as an independent version of Mitt Romney — a political outsider who has had a good run in the private sector, and wants to parlay it into a stint in the Corner Office.

The 2014 gubernatorial contest is already crowded with CEO’s who would be governor, with Republican Charlie Baker and Democratic state treasurer Steve Grossman both talking up their business resumes. McCormick — who is pledging to pour at least $1 million of his own money into his campaign — adds another voice to this field. He seems to know he needs to fight for elbow room, too. In his interview with the Globe’s Frank Phillips, McCormick threw a sharp jab at Baker, saying, “He’s not an innovator. We need broad solutions. We can no longer take incremental steps.’’

McCormick joins two other independents in the gubernatorial race: Evan Falchuk, who has already pushed roughly $500,000 of his own money into his campaign, and Scott Lively, a conservative minister whose campaign literature talks about spreading “Biblical values without fear or compromise.”

While McCormick positions himself as a new version of Romney, the state’s political history indicates that he’ll be lucky to become the new Tim Cahill. Unenrolled voters now comprise a strong majority of the state’s electorate. They account for roughly 53 percent belong to no party, compared with the Democrats’ hold on 36 percent of voters, and the Republicans’ 11 percent.

Still, the rise of voters who shun party labels hasn’t translated to any electoral success for political outsiders.

Cahill made history by capturing 8 percent of the vote as an independent in 2010; he trailed Baker by 34 points, and lagged 40 points behind Gov. Deval Patrick. Cahill bested the performance of Christy Mihos, who lost to Patrick by 49 points in 2006. And until Cahill came along, Mihos’s middling 2006 performance counted as a high-water mark for third-party gubernatorial hopefuls in Massachusetts. Like McCormick, Mihos made good money as a businessman, and devoted large sums to his campaign. He found it takes more than millions of dollars to turn unenrolled voters into independent votes.



House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s gun control committeemakes 44 recommendations to reduce violence, but ignores some of the eye-catching proposals that had surfaced on Beacon Hill in the wake of the Newtown massacre, CommonWealth reports. WBUR has the full task force report.

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera asks the state Ethics Commission to train city employees on conflict of interest laws, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

The Lowell City Council names City Clerk Michael Geary as the acting city manager to take over when Bernie Lynch retires in early March, the Sun reports.

The Berkshire Eagle argues that the medical marijuana licensing process was stacked against the smaller groups that would have served the Berkshires.


The head of a city watchdog agency says Mayor Marty Walsh’s pick as interim fire commissioner is sending things “backwards in a department that definitely needs reform.”

State officials made 38 recommendations to Pembroke selectmen urging the town to adopt a charter, beef up the executive power, modernize its financial procedures, and put its policies and regulations into writing.

Hanover conservation officials are mulling a proposal to expand bow hunting on the town’s conservation land.

Mansfield tries again to redevelop an abandoned chocolate factory; housing developers have been unable to get new zoning for the factory past Mansfield’s Town Meeting for years.


Governing explores what’s fueling fairly significant population growth in about 15 states.

A key aide in the New Jersey bridge scandal will refuse to respond to a subpoena, citing her right against self-incrimination. The Atlantic argues that what separates famed bully Lyndon Johnson from Chris Christie is each politician’s choice of victims.


Former Lawrence mayor William Lantigua was so anxious to have streets repaved in the runup to the November election that he ignored warnings from the city’s contractor that it was too late in the year to do the work. The contractor says Lantigua waived guarantees on the work and now some streets are already starting to buckle, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Elizabeth Warren is proving to be a fundraising powerhouse for Democrats across the country.

Back to the future? Mitt in 2016.

David Bernstein ’s political insiders predict a crowded Democratic primary ballot. Democratic activist Kate Donaghue posts on Blue Mass Group the results of her unscientific straw poll (n=128) on Democratic statewide races.

Democrats in swing districts try to put some distance between themselves and President Obama.

Keller@Large says a push in the New Hampshire legislature to make the state only the second in the country to allow “none of the above” on the ballot gives apathetic and uninformed voters a lazy way to vent.


Revere religious leaders lead a last-ditch attempt to defeat a casino proposal, WBUR reports.


The Salem Waterfront Hotel files expansion plans to host meetings and conferences that would typically end up in Boston, the Salem News reports.

The last installment of the Patriot Ledger’s three-part series on the housing crisis finds the state is shelling out $1 million a week to house 2,000 homeless families in motels.


State education officials praise the efforts of the Salem school system, which is in the second year of a three-year turnaround effort, the Salem News reports.

Boston public school parents are organizing to protest possible school budget cuts.

The US House passes legislation requiring public universities across the country to charge veterans in-state tuition rates, the Associated Press reports.

Many US students are paying full tuition to study abroadat universities that charge their students nothing to attend, CommonWealth reports.

The New York Times spotlights the national pre-K expansion movement. Slate urges American policymakers to look to France’s preschool system.


The UMass Memorial Health Center is closing one imaging center to consolidate operations and cut costs, the Telegram & Gazette reports.


A State Department report suggesting the Keystone XL pipeline would have little impact on climate change creates a political headache for President Obama, NPR reports.

Geochemist and former college president James Lawrence Powell, writing in The Nation, says the presidents of Brown and Harvard universities were wrong to reject calls for their institutions to divest from fossil fuel companies.


Attorneys for former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez file a motion to block prosecutors from getting recordings of the accused murderers jailhouse calls, calling the effort a “fishing expedition.”


New Boston Globe CEO Mike Sheehan tells the Boston Business Journal he wants editor Brian McGrory to stay on the job.


Joan Mondale, wife of Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter’s vice president, and a champion of the arts, dies at age 83.