As you probably know by now, Jason Lewis won today’s special election to replace Katherine Clark in the state Senate. He beat a solid opponent (Melrose alderman Monica Medeiros) in a seat that, for a long time, was held by Richard Tisei. The GOP no doubt wanted that one back, but Lewis, as a sitting state rep, was always the favorite. Also, Democrat RoseLee Vincent won a contested (though I think not all that seriously) election in the 16th Suffolk to represent Revere, Chelsea, and Saugus.
The GOP’s loss out in Westfield has to hurt a lot more. That seat, the 4th Hampden previously held by Don Humason, has been held by the GOP for many years. But today, Democrat John Velis turned it blue, beating Republican Dan Allie. It’s not like the GOP can afford to lose seats in the state legislature. I just got an email from the DC-based Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee touting Velis’s win. So the GOP’s failure to hold this seat has not gone unnoticed.
And on top of the election results comes the not-unexpected-but-still-embarrassing news that disappointed gubernatorial candidate Mark Fisher has followed through on his threat to sue the Mass. GOP over their refusal to put him on the ballot despite his apparently having obtained enough votes at the convention if you do the math correctly. Globe:
The opening of the intraparty battle could prove a distraction for the GOP, which is hoping to focus squarely on winning back the governor’s office after eight years of Democratic control. Both sides appear to be arming for battle.
On Monday, Fisher deposited $50,000 of his own money into his campaign account, which could be used to fuel his legal fight, according to his campaign manager, Debbie McCarthy.
Meanwhile, Kirsten Hughes, the party chairwoman, blasted out an e-mail on Tuesday to the party’s top activists, saying she has consulted legal experts and is preparing to launch a defense fund to fend off Fisher’s lawsuit.
This is such a bad move by Hughes. Instead of inviting Fisher onto the ballot, thus appearing magnanimous and in favor of democracy and competition (isn’t the GOP supposed to like competition?), she’s going to (a) spend a pile of money she can’t afford on a lawsuit that (b) she is probably going to lose, all the while (c) letting the media write about the lawsuit rather than Baker, even though the whole point of keeping Fisher off the ballot was supposed to be to keep the focus on Baker. If she does lose, she ends up looking ineffective and petulant. And even if she wins, what has she achieved? She avoids a primary that Charlie Baker would obviously win anyway, thereby depriving him of the ability to boost his appeal to independent/moderates by contrasting himself with the tea-partying Fisher. Yes, keeping Fisher off the ballot would make it easier to fundraise because the party can openly back him, but Baker is not going to have any trouble raising money (he did fine last time).
What a terrible start to Hughes’s tenure as Mass. GOP chair.