WHAT’S THE VALUE of an endorsement?
That question is getting tested in races up and down the primary ballot as candidates jockey for advantage leading up the September 6 vote. But nowhere are the powers of persuasion through endorsements more consequential than in the Democratic primary for Suffolk County district attorney.
The contest has been rocked by a Boston Globe report that Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, who is running against sitting DA Kevin Hayden, was the subject of two separate allegations of sexual assault, when he was 18 and 19 years old. Arroyo not only denies the allegations, he says he was never even informed that he was under investigation, a claim that the Globe says is contradicted by police reports the paper has obtained.
When the news broke last week, former congressman Joe Kennedy III and City Council President Ed Flynn quickly rescinded their endorsements of Arroyo.
If there was a firewall keeping his campaign from going up in flames, it has been the continued backing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Michelle Wu, and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.
The Globe reports today that the woman behind one of the allegations has come forward to tell the paper she stands by her account and that Arroyo’s denial “makes me feel sick.”
Wu said last week that the allegations were “troubling,” but she wanted to see how the “story evolves.” In the wake of the new Globe report, Wu, Warren, and Sen. Ed Markey pulled their endorsements of Arroyo on Wednesday morning.
Endorsements don’t matter a lot in high-profile match-ups of Democrats against Republicans, “where the battle lines are clear,” said Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC Polling Group. “But in low-information contests they may serve as a signal to voters who don’t have any other way to make up their mind.”
That may also be true in the Democratic primary for attorney general, which has become the marquee statewide contest now that the party’s choice for governor is clear. The AG’s race is now a one-on-one face-off between Andrea Campbell and Shannon Liss-Riordan following yesterday’s announcement by Quentin Palfrey that he’s dropping out of the race.
Palfrey is throwing his support behind Campbell, a move that led Liss-Riordan’s campaign to issue a harsh statement accusing him of playing “petty politics” to “curry favor with political elites.”
Palfrey may sway some voters toward Campbell; the blistering statement from Liss-Riordan’s camp suggests the move will carry some weight. But with a recent poll showing that 77 percent of likely Democratic primary voters had never heard of Palfrey, it’s not clear how much of a punch his endorsement will pack.
Newspaper endorsements can also make a difference in races where voters are looking for signals. But huge cuts at newspapers in recent years have seen many of them give up on endorsements with no one staffing editorial pages.
In the state’s second largest city, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette is no longer offering endorsements. Michael McDermott, who took the reins last month as the paper’s executive editor, said there is no opinion editor and he is doing double duty and handling op-ed submissions. The Boston Herald has made no endorsements in the primary. Editorial page editor Sandra Kent didn’t respond to a message asking about the paper’s policy on endorsements.
The Boston Globe, by far the most influential editorial page in the state, is weighing in with endorsements. On Monday, media critic Dan Kennedy pointed out that Globe endorsements have been slow to be rolled out, given that mail-in voting started in late July. The paper’s latest endorsement came that day when it gave its nod in the AG’s race to Campbell, whom the Globe also endorsed in last year’s Boston mayoral race.
Jim Dao, a veteran New York Times journalist who took the helm in early July as the paper’s new editorial page editor, said that transition is part of the reason for endorsements not coming sooner, along with some delays in scheduling candidates for interviews. “We would have liked to have started the process a bit sooner to reach early voters,” he said in an email.
The Globe has yet to make an endorsement in the Suffolk DA’s race, but Dao said that has been a conscious decision. “We decided to hold off until the last minute making an endorsement in the Suffolk DA race because of the major news developments,” he said.
Back from the dead: The Maine Supreme Judicial Court breathed new life into a Massachusetts-financed transmission line carrying hydroelectricity from Canada, ruling that a law passed by 59 percent of voters last year retroactively shutting down the project was unconstitutional.
– A key finding was that Avangrid, the company building the transmission line, legitimately moved ahead with construction on the belief that a key permit was valid. But the court left it to a lower court to decide whether Avangrid moved forward in good faith, meaning that it did not push ahead merely to vest its rights in the project.
– The project is a key part of Massachusetts efforts to combat climate change and is particularly important because the hydroelectricity would be firm power, meaning it would be steady and reliable and not subject to wind or sun conditions. Read more.
Palfrey drops out: With a week left before the Democratic primary, Quentin Palfrey dropped out of the race for attorney general and threw his support behind Andrea Campbell, whom he criticized repeatedly during the campaign. It’s now a two-person race between Campbell and Shannon Liss-Riordan. Read more.
Legislature calls shots on voting: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which had already rejected a challenge to early, no-excuse voting with a brief ruling, released its full decision, saying the Legislature has broad powers to regulate voting. Read more.
O’Brien to head CCC: Shannon O’Brien, the former state treasurer and candidate for governor, is named the new chair of the Cannabis Control Commission by Treasurer Deborah Goldberg. Read more.
More fuel aid needed: Joseph P. Kennedy III of Citizens Energy and Larry Goldstein of the Energy Policy Research Foundation say an increase in federal fuel aid is needed as prices soar. Read more.
Getting to yes: Attorney John Smolak outlines how municipalities and online retailers can get to yes on building new distribution facilities. Read more.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
The state fire marshal says a fire at the Old Forge Restaurant in Lanesborough was set by an employee. (Berkshire Eagle)
Sarah Iselin is named the new CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. (Boston Globe)
Life expectancy in the United States fell in 2021 for the second year in a row. (NPR)
Mikhail Gorbachev, the reformer who served as the last leader of the Soviet Union and who was instrumental in ending the Cold War, died at age 91. (New York Times)
The US Office of the Special Counsel has opened an investigation into whether Massachusetts US Attorney Rachael Rollins violated the federal Hatch Act by attending a Democratic fundraising event in July that featured an appearance by first lady Jill Biden. (Reuters)
The woman who went to police in 2005 alleging that Ricardo Arroyo sexually assaulted her has come forward and told the Boston Globe she stands by her account. “It makes me sick, sick to my stomach,” she said. Arroyo filed suit yesterday to try to get the records of the 2005 incident released. (Boston Herald)
WBUR revisits the state’s recurring problem of democracy gone flabby, saying only 10 percent of Beacon Hill lawmakers face a primary challenge.
Amid a tight race for state Senate between Worcester Mayor Joe Petty and Robyn Kennedy, a PAC sends out a mailer charging that the city councilor who would succeed Petty as mayor should he win the Senate race is too radical for the job – a charge the councilor is pushing back on. (Telegram & Gazette)
The two candidates for Berkshire County DA – incumbent Andrea Harrington and challenger Timothy Shugrue – debate their case histories. (Berkshire Eagle)
Democrats Joel McAuliffe and Shirley Arriaga, both of whom have experience working for elected officials, face off for the state House seat from the 8th Hampden District, to replace retiring Rep. Joe Wagner. (MassLive)
The Springfield Republican editorial board opts not to endorse in the race between Springfield State Rep. Bud Williams and his challenger, Jynai McDonald, saying Williams has not been an energetic enough leader in the district and McDonald has focused on personal attacks against Williams rather than issues.
The state Board of Higher Education selected Noe Ortega as the higher education commissioner. Ortega previously held top education posts in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Texas. (State House News Service)
The Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden keeps finding itself in trouble over issues related to racial diversity and religious tolerance. (Boston Globe)
Harvard education professor Susan Dynarksi lays out how she changed her views and became a supporter of debt relief for college loans. (New York Times)
The world’s most expensive baseball card – a 1952 card of Mickey Mantle that sold for $12.6 million – has Quincy roots. (Patriot Ledger)
The Federal Transit Administration report on the MBTA to be released today concludes that the agency prioritized long-term projects at the expense of attention to day-to-day operations and safety, the Globe reports.
A new report from the Mass Budget and Policy Center says Massachusetts has nearly 650 structurally deficient bridges. (MassLive)
A teenage girl accused of punching and knocking out her principal at the Henderson School in November 2021 is arraigned on upgraded charges as a youthful offender, which means she can be identified in court and be sentenced as an adult if convicted. Suffolk County DA Kevin Hayden made the decision to upgrade the charges. (Dorchester Reporter)
With digital subscriptions and advertising sluggish, the Washington Post is on pace to lose money this year and may have to lay off employees. (New York Times)
Boston.com enters into a partnership with a sports betting media company to provide data useful for placing bets. (Media Nation)