A 16-YEAR INCUMBENT looking for another four-year term. An at-large councilor seeking to harness the votes of young progressives in a bid for the top job. The 2009 showdown between Tom Menino and Michael Flaherty ended as the longtime mayor’s closest race, and his last. Menino won with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
If publicly available campaign finance filings are anything to go by, a similar situation appears to be playing out south of Boston’s border. Quincy Mayor Tom Koch, first elected in 2007 and already the city’s longest serving mayor, is facing off against Anne Mahoney, who has previously waged two unsuccessful mayoral campaigns.
Koch, 60, is spending like he is in a close race. As of September, he’s raised $463,782 in campaign donations this year, and spent nearly $600,000, with the money going to senior luncheons, polling, and consulting work by Dewey Square Group. In just September, he pulled in nearly $144,000, the top fundraiser statewide, outpacing all other elected officials. Meanwhile, Mahoney has collected $74,643 for the year, as of the end of September, and spent $38,280. Voters’ doorsteps are getting bombarded with mailers touting both candidates.
The election, scheduled for November 7, comes as the city continues to see construction cranes in Quincy Center, and its population has reached just over 100,000 and become increasingly diverse. Young progressives are part of the mix.
Mahoney, 58, is taking a less critical tone with her campaign this time around. “It’s less about the current administration,” she said. “People are ready for a change.”
While Koch is unenrolled — he left the Democratic Party in 2018 over its pro-abortion stance — he can tout the bipartisan support from Democratic Gov. Maura Healey and her Republican predecessor, Charlie Baker.
But this is the first time Koch is running without support from the teachers union, and a super PAC aligned with the statewide Massachusetts Teachers Association (whose headquarters is in Quincy) is backing Mahoney through mailers. (The statewide firefighters union has stepped in to help Koch, with digital advertising.)
Koch, for his part, is pointing to the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
“The success we’ve had over the last several years doesn’t happen by accident,” said Chris Walker, Koch’s spokesman. “It takes this kind of mayor. And that’s the case he’s out making every single day.”
Super PAC goes silent
The Massachusetts Majority super PAC, which tends to support political centrists and is closely aligned with former governor Charlie Baker, seems to be on hiatus. The super PAC hasn’t reported raising or spending any money for close to a year and seems to be taking a pass on this year’s election. Maybe it’s because Baker has gone off to run the NCAA. Leominster developer Gregg Lisciott, who chairs the PAC, didn’t respond to an email.
Heads are still being scratched over the MBTA’s decision to pull down its new podcast, “Spilling the T,” after just one episode featuring a conversation recorded more than a month ago with General Manager Phillip Eng. The MBTA told the State House News Service, and reiterated this week, that the reason for its removal is that it was simply posted prematurely and they hope to repost it soon before continuing with future episodes.
Its removal is somewhat of a mystery, not just for the “why” but also the “what.” Most of the disappeared podcast, which was downloaded and posted by StreetsblogMASS, involves Eng expressing sympathy for T riders’ frustrations with the system’s performance and leadership’s communication. But there was some policy content included, with reference to a “100-day plan” that seems to involve a number of initiatives, including upgrading the 292 grade crossings on the commuter rail, continuing “to make sure we have a really good handle on our infrastructure maintenance plan,” and hiring a chief of stations. Some of these are ongoing efforts, but the new chief of stations, Dennis Varley, began his job in September.
The T did not clarify what 100-day window was being discussed, or if it referred to a specific plan that has already been completed or scrapped. In an email, an MBTA spokesperson said Eng “was speaking in general terms about everything he is trying to accomplish with respect to changing the culture at the T, being more pro-active in addressing issues before they turn into bigger problems, identifying opportunities for getting more work done,” and so forth.