MA-Auditor: Bump beats out Glodis at MassDems convention!

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 (… ), 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 ( ).

One thing is for sure- this will be a fun primary to watch.

MA State Auditor candidate thinks we should fight terror with “pig-blood bullets”

It’s a cliche to say that 2010 is shaping up to be an anti-incumbent year.

In Massachusetts politics, however, this is true for a very simple reason- more incumbents than ever before in recent memory are not standing for reelection.

One of the political veterans stepping aside this year is State Auditor Joe DeNucci, the 24-year liberal Democratic incumbent. In the race to succeed him, we see a divided three-way Democratic primary between Governor Deval Patrick’s labor secretary, Suzanne Bump, former Clinton administration aide Mike Lake, and Worcester county Sheriff Guy Glodis.

The republicans have a primary of their own between the establishment pick, former Mass Turnpike board member (and Romney appointee) Mary Z. Connaughton, and insurgent candidate Kamal Jain.

The state Auditor’s office is a vital elected post in Massachusetts, basically being responsible for making sure that waste, fraud and abuse are kept out of state programs and spending.

Unfortunately, the present frontrunner for the position, Sheriff Glodis, has a long history of deeply disturbing statements about women, muslims and LGBT individuals. In 2003, when he was a state senator, Glodis caught flack for using his state email account to forward a story to his 39 senate colleagues about U.S. soldiers during the Phillippine insurrection using bullets soaked in pig’s blood to fight Muslim insurgents, and suggesting that such an approach might be useful against Al-Queda. News coverage in the Boston Phoenix of the incident at the time is available here:…

The Phoenix, Boston’s independent alternative weekly, recently wrote about Glodis’ bid for Auditor and the reaction he has been getting from the party faithful. They also list some of Glodis’ ‘greatest hits’ from his time in the legislature, where he was one of the most conservative voices and a steadfast opponent of equal marriage.…

Unfortunately, Glodis may be tough to beat in the Democratic primary, considering that is $830,000 warchest, stockpiled high over years of running unopposed, far exceeds the less than $100,000 takes of both of his Democratic opponents.

Hopefully, though, MA Democrats will rally and reject Glodis at their upcoming convention on Saturday, June 5th, and than defeat him again in the September primary. This “Guy” would truly be an embarrassment to our party if he manages to secure the nomination for a major statewide post.

More coverage here from local MA blog Blue Mass Group:……

Help Take Back Scott Brown’s State Senate Seat- 10 days to go!

This is Dr. Peter Smulowitz, the Democratic nominee for Scott Brown’s former MA State Senate seat in the Norfolk, Bristol & Middlesex District.

In ten days, if we win, the “Scott Brown” Republican momentum that’s been sweeping the country since January comes to a screeching halt, right where it began, in Massachusetts.

Peter Smulowitz is an outstanding candidate- smart, charismatic, and possessing an incredible work ethic, so much so that he defeated a 21-year statehouse veteran and former Majority Leader in the Democratic primary.

He did this by knocking on doors of voters, day after day after day, until he reached enough of them personally to ensure victory.

Now Peter is facing off against Scott Brown’s protege in Mass politics, State Representative Richard Ross of Wrentham. Ross is a moderate Republican who has followed in Brown’s footsteps with every office he’s held for the past 15 years. Ross is by far Peter’s toughest opponent yet.

Peter Smulowitz can win this race and change the national political narrative. All the signs point to it. But this is going to be an exceptionally close race on election day, May 11th.

If you’re in the New England area, PLEASE PLEASE come help out on election day! We cannot win this race unless we turn out our vote!

If you’re not in the area, please consider making a contribution to Peter’s campaign. You can do so through ActBlue here:…

Working together we can take back this seat and hit the emergency break on the Republican party’s “Scott Brown” momentum for 2010. Please consider joining us!

Let’s fill Scott Brown’s seat with a Progressive.

Everyone knows that Scott Brown’s election to the U.S. Senate was a referendum on health care reform.

(At least, that’s what Michael Steele and the RNC would like us to believe.)

Now, we have the opportunity to provide a counterpoint to this right-wing narrative by electing a progressive, pro-health care reform Democrat to fill Scott Brown’s open seat in the Massachusetts State Legislature. Dr. Peter Smulowitz, an emergency room physician with a master’s degree in health policy, will face Republican Richard Ross in a special election being held on May 11.  

A Democratic win in this district would send a clear message that voters do, in fact, share progressives’ vision of health care reform.  If the Scott Brown win gave Republicans momentum, a Peter Smulowitz victory would be like pulling the emergency brake.

The Massachusetts Republican Party recognizes the symbolic importance of holding onto Scott Brown’s seat, and is pouring money and resources into the Ross campaign. There is no doubt that this will be a tough race for Democrats, but if anyone can win, it’s Peter. In the primary election, Peter–who has never held elected office–defeated a 21-year incumbent State Representative, a feat previously thought impossible by political insiders.

Peter is dynamic, smart, and a great campaigner. If he loses, it will be because he is outspent. Richard Ross ran unopposed in the primary, and has amassed a considerable war chest. Having never run for office, Peter lacks the big donors who come with being entrenched in the political scene.

Can we come together to support Peter?…

Progressive Smulowitz wins primary upset for Scott Brown’s old State Senate seat

Dr. Peter Smulowitz, a political newcomer who ran as a progressive outsider and spent months knocking on doors across the district, pulled off a stunning upset victory over 21-year incumbent State Representative Lida Harkins yesterday in Massachusetts’ Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex Senate district, the former seat of U.S. Senator Scott Brown.…

This is the first time in recent Massachusetts history that a State Representative has been defeated by a lower office holder in a State Senate primary.

With just four weeks until the May 11th general election, Smulowitz now faces off against Republican State Rep Richard Ross, an outspoken moderate in the party and a protege of Scott Brown. It will be an uphill climb in this conservative-leaning district, but Dr. Smulowitz has already proven that he can beat the odds.

Both state parties will probably become heavily involved in this race in the coming days, not just because of the symbolic importance of winning this seat, but also because this is one of the few genuinely competitive districts in Massachusetts.

Let’s all rally behind Dr. Peter and see if we can take back Scott Brown’s The People’s State Senate seat!

You can donate for volunteer here at Peter’s campaign site:

Fundraising Update: The Race for Scott Brown’s Seat

Today thanks to OCPF (the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance) we got a first look at the fundraising prowess of the three candidates for Scott Brown’s The People’s state senate seat. Political newcomer and Emergency Room Physician Dr. Peter Smulowitz of Needham handily outraised his opponents, both of whom are sitting State Reps. This is very unusual, as incumbent elected officials almost always have the advantage when it comes to fundraising.

Democratic State Rep. Lida Harkins of Needham raised a little over $48,000, and has spent about $27,000 so far.…

Republican State Rep. Richard Ross of Wrentham raised over $55,000 and spent almost $31,000…

Smulowitz, on the other hand, has raised more than $69,000 so far, although he has already burned through more than $66,000, about half of it on direct mail by the looks of it.…

How doe this alter the race? Well, money doesn’t vote, but that said it’s obviously better to have more than your opponent rather than less. I think it’s important to notice that while Rep. Harkins seems to be saving some of her haul for after the Democratic Primary, Smulowitz appears to be spending everything he’s got on the primary itself.

For a political newcomer who is facing off against a well-known local official, this is probably wise.

It’s probably also important to note that a sizable chunk of Rep. Harkins’ money came from registered lobbyists and her own colleagues in the legislature. These individuals have a much lower limit on how much money they can give to individual candidates each cycle in Massachusetts, so that could make her fundraising more complicated going forward. Smulowitz and Ross will probably be able to go back to their non-lobbyist/elected official donors and hit them up for more money later- Harkins won’t have that option.

Update on the Race for Scott Brown’s State Senate Seat

The Democratic primary for Scott Brown’s former Massachusetts State Senate seat is just 13 days away, on Tuesday, April 13th.

Two strong candidates are facing off for the nomination.

-Needham Town Meeting member Dr. Peter Smulowitz


-Needham, Dover and Medfield State Representative Lida Harkins

Over the last few months, the race for the Democratic nomination, which many had expected to be a cakewalk for Harkins, has turned into an almost toss-up due to unexpectedly strong fundraising by Smulowitz and the strong grassroots campaign he has put together. Harkins still has to be considered the slight favorite though, because of her 21 years of service as State Representative to the largest voting town in the District.

So far, Smulowitz has been courting progressive voters and independents (who can vote in the D primary in MA) with his message as a left-leaning, reform-minded outsider who can take on the culture of corruption that permeates Beacon Hill.

Harkins, for her part, has been wooing the traditional Democratic constituencies like organized labor, and has gained a number of high-profile endorsements from unions and women’s groups.

The biggest issues thus far in the campaign have been the candidate’s differing positions on the issue of bringing legalized gambling to Massachusetts in the form of numerous resort-style casinos (Harkins is in favor, Smulowitz opposes), and Harkins’ history as a member of the House leadership on Beacon Hill where three consecutive speakers have been indicted on Federal charges.

Waiting in the wings for whoever emerges from the Democratic primary is State Rep. Richard Ross, R-Wrentham.

Ross has to be seen as the favorite in this Republican-leaning District, although the fact that Scott Brown’s predecessor as State Senator was a liberal, openly lesbian Democrat has to give the Democrats some hope.

Campaign finance reports must be filed with the State by the end of business on April 5th (Monday), so at that time we will have a little more information available to see which campaigns are humming along and which are sputtering.

Regardless of who wins the Democratic Primary here, expect to see the State Parties and perhaps even national organizations get involved here. This seat has a symbolic value for both parties that can’t be underestimated.

MA-9: Lynch Draws a Primary Challenger over Healthcare Vote

US Congressman Stephen Lynch, D-South Boston, has already announced his intention to vote “no” on Health Care Reform today.…

Luckily, a primary challenger emerged today. Needham Town Meeting member Harmony Wu is a former professor at Emerson College in Boston, and was the Needham town coordinator for the Obama campaign. Wu has said she will challenge Lynch if he follows through on his pledge to vote against Health Care Reform.

A Facebook page set up for Wu has drawn more than 400 followers within a few hours of being posted. Many are experienced organizers and campaign staffers from throughout the Boston area.….

This is only the begining.

If Representative Lynch votes against Health Care today, he will have a fight on his hands for the Democratic nomination.

Let this be a message to all Democratic members who are thinking of throwing their values out the window for the sake of political expediency in today’s vote.

We, the base, are watching.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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Scott Brown goes to Washington- Who will take his place?

One of the things that I value about the netroots in general, and about SSP in particular, is the ease with which it allows me to find information on specific elections and and races that the MSM would never dream of covering (I guess us nerds are just too few to be a profitable marketing demographic).

As an MA resident and Democratic activist, I’d like to dedicate this, my very first SSP diary, to developing race to succeed State Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts’ Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex State Senate District. I think that this is a vital race for political nerds across the country to watch, because it has the opportunity to change the narrative here in New England, where conventional wisdom is that we Democrats are about to be the victims of a 1990/1994 style Republican wave this November.

The race for Scott Brown’s former State Senate seat is relevent across the region because it is traditionally one of the swingiest of swing districts in the Commonwealth.

A little history:

The Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex seat was held by the former Republican floor leader in the MA Senate right up until 1992, when it was won by a young, charismatic and openly lesbian county prosecutor named Cheryl Jacques. Jacques was (and is) a national figure in the LGBT rights movement, and is a former president of Human Rights Campaign (she resigned from the Senate to take that position and move her family to Washington in March of 2004). Jacques was also the progressive standard-bearer in the 2001 special election for US congress that was eventually won by the less-than-liberal US Rep. Steve Lynch of South Boston.

Scott Brown, than a little-known State Rep. from his native Wrentham, went on to win the special election caused by Jacques’ resignation over her CoS in a massive upset, winning by only a handful of votes despite the fact that the special election was scheduled for the day of the 2004 Presidential Primary, which was unopposed by President Bush on the Republican side.…

The Candidates:

There are three currently declared candidates in the race for Scott Brown’s Senate seat, two Democrats and one Republican.

The Republican is formidable. He is Wrentham State Rep. Richard Ross, a Scott Brown protege who succeeded Brown in the State House when Brown moved up to the Senate. Unlike Brown, Ross has a moderate reputation, having been one of only a handful of Republican supporters of gay marriage during the key votes on the Constitutional Amendment in 2007. Ross, like Brown, is charismatic and a strong campaigner.

On the Democratic side, we have a two candidates who probably could not be in sharper contrast with one another. State Rep. Lida Harkins is a 21-year veteran of the State Legislature, and was a trusted lieutenant to both of our most recently previous Speakers of the House, Tom Finneran and Sal DiMasi, both of whom are currently facing federal corruption charges. Harkins is also a conservative on some social issues, such as choice. But she is a proven vote-getter in her hometown of Needham, the biggest D-leaning town in the district, and a close-in suburb of Boston.

Needham Town Meeting member Dr. Peter Smulowitz is young- 33- and has only two years in elected office under his belt. Smulowitz, however, has the advantage of having been in this race the longest- he declared his candidacy against than-incumbent Scott Brown last November- and the organizational and fundraising advantages that go along with it. Smulowitz has almost double the CoH than Ross does, and almost seven times as much as Harkins, and he also already has a campaign organization in place, with a top-notch staff, open campaign office and in-place volunteer network. Smulowitz also benefits from not being associated with the taint of Beacon Hill (We Massholes are very, very annoyed at our state legislature right now), and of being the pro-choice progressive in a primary race where liberal voters will almost certainly dominate.

I’m supporting Dr. Smulowitz because I believe he will not only be a better progressive legislator in office, but I also believe he would be our party’s strongest nominee against the formidable Rep. Ross. While Ross could paint Harkins as the out-of-touch insider from Beacon Hill, since she has been there 21 years to his 6, Smulowitz, who is not currently serving in the legislature, could do the same to Ross. I believe it’s also vital not to underestimate the power of an already-assembled organization in the short time frame of a special election.

Candidate websites can be found here:

Ross (R) :

Smulowitz (D) :

Harkins (D) : No campaign website up yet, legislative website here…

As I mentioned earlier in this post, this will be a vital race for Democrats to win, not because we need another seat in the MA State Senate (although that’s always nice…) but because a win here can change the narrative about Democratic doom and Republican ascendency in our state. Check out the candidates, and if you’re in the area, come help out!


Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray announced today that she is scheduling the special election for Scott Brown’s former State Senate seat for April 13th (primary) and May 11th (general). That means that it’s just a little more than two months before we find out who our nominees are!