This past Saturday at the DCU Center in Worcester, more than 3,500 Massachusetts Democrats gathered for their annual party convention and to vote for their candidate of choice for (among other offices) Massachusetts State Auditor.
Going into the convention, Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis was seen as having a huge advantage. Not only was he on his home court, Glodis also had more than eight times as much money in his campaign bank account than both of his opponents combined.
Despite his long and very troubling record in public service ( http://www.bluemassgroup.com/d… ), Glodis was expected by pundits and political prognosticators to dominate the convention vote, possibly shutting one of both of his rivals out from ballot access by denying them the 15% of the vote they needed to advance to a primary.
And than something funny happened. On Saturday, Glodis lost.
In an upset that almost no one, including the candidate herself was expecting, Suzanne Bump defeated Glodis by 18 votes in the very first round of voting.
So who, you might ask, is Suzanne Bump? Good question.
Suzanne Bump is a former State Labor Secretary in Governor Deval Patrick’s administration. Before that, she was an influential State Legislator who left to do a stint in the private sector before joining the Patrick administration. Suzanne is also a committed progressive activist in Massachusetts politics- she came out of political retirement in 2006 to co-chair Deval Patrick’s campaign for Governor, back when he was the longest of long shots trying to challenge the sitting State AG in the primary.
While in the legislature, Bump chaired the Commerce and Labor Committee, and authored a sweeping 1991 law reforming the state worker’s comp system. While the pre-1991 system was seen as one of the most troubled in the country, the new system that Suzanne helped create has become a model for other states looking to reform their own systems.
As Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development in Governor Deval Patrick’s administration, Suzanne led a secretariat of six agencies and more than 1,500 people. Among other things, Suzanne led the fight for more than new 11,000 summer jobs for youths, secured funding for a new, modern computerized system for administering the State’s unemployment insurance program, and managed to reduce the timeframe for settling labor disputes from 2-3 years to 2-3 months.
In the end, Glodis’ machine and his money couldn’t save him from defeat at the hands of a candidate who possessed the two things he lacks: strong progressive values, and a record of accomplishment and reform.
Still, even with this setback, Glodis received enough delegate votes to be on the ballot in September. The primary will certainly be a battle, as Glodis’ bank account will keep him competitive in a race that he otherwise shouldn’t be. The non-crazy vote will be spit two ways as well, between Bump and another candidate, Mike Lake, a former Clinton administration official who got 25% at the nominating convention this weekend. There is even some talk in the press that Glodis may have ordered some of his delegates to vote for Lake, just to make sure that he cleared the 15% hurdle needed to be on the primary ballot, according to Boston Phoenix Reporter David Bernstein ( http://twitter.com/dbernstein ).
One thing is for sure- this will be a fun primary to watch.