DiDomenico and Flaherty Looking to Demonstrate Strength to Political Power Brokers
The race for Middlesex Suffolk and Essex isn’t over. The major contest was supposed to be the Democratic Primary on April 13th, which DiDomenico won by a narrow 135 vote margin. Tim Flaherty has announced he will run again in the Fall. So the race is back on. Both campaigns need to start gathering support for November’s Election.
DiDomenico hasn’t quite yet won the Senate seat. He now faces the Special Election, May 11th. He has only token opposition in John Cesan, an independent.
Cesan has been running a stealth campaign – he has raised no money, has no web site and has made few appearances. Turnout for the general election is expected to be very low. The winner in the primary got only about 4,000 votes. For the general turnout it is expected to be lower. The winner may get as few as 2,000 votes. It’s not impossible for an invisible candidate, like Cesan, to have organized a get out the vote effort without a traditional politicalÂ campaign reaching out to voters. Unlikely – but it still means that Sal has to get his supporters out to vote on May 11th.
But the race has an important new dimension. Tim Flaherty lost to DiDomenico largely because support in areas where Flaherty has strong hold, Cambridge and Allston-Brighton, split the vote between him and Denise Simmons of Cambridge. If no strong candidates from the southern end of the district appear – then Flaherty is in a good position for November.
But for this to work Flaherty has to go back to his political backers. Both he and DiDomenico will need more campaign contributions, more endorsements and more volunteers. These political power brokers are going to be looking at the relative strength both of them show to decide how much support to give them.
Flaherty has run for this Senate district and lost three times, always by a narrow margin. On the one hand – his campaigns have been well organized and stronger each time. On the other, after failing three times now, his donors and supporters are getting fatigued. How many times can you Â tap the same donors and volunteers before they give up on you?
Democratic Unity Event, May 3rd 10:15am – Dante Alighieri Society, 41 Hampshire St. Cambridge
The next big showdown between DiDomenico and Flaherty comes this coming Monday, May 3rd. The Democractic Party is holding a ‘Unity Event’ in support of DiDomenico. The major players in Democractic politics will be there in support of DiDomenico – Governor Patrick, Lt. Governor Tim Murray, Senate President Therese Murray – and many other elected officials. And both DiDomenico and Flaherty will be turning out as many supporters as they can.
Political watchers will beÂ gaugingÂ support for both of these candidates with an eye toward November. This is happening in the middle of the day, on a Monday, months before the next electoral contest. Only the hardcore supporters for each candidate will make the time to be there.
This is where the skin and feathers comes off of a campaign and you get to see just the muscle and bone.
The stronger the support is for DiDomenico, the harder it will be for Flaherty to finance himself for the Fall. If turnout for DiDomenico is poor, or if Flaherty can turn out supporters en masse, then Flaherty’s donors will be encouraged.
It’s no co-incidence that DiDomenico has chosen Cambridge, where Flaherty’s power base is located, to hold his unity event. He needs to show that he can turn out supporters right in Flaherty’s back yard.
The Democratic party will be looking to see ifÂ DiDomenico is a strong Senator with lasting support. If so, then they will line up behind him and hope to have that seat locked for years to come. Eyes will be on DiDomenico to show strength.
DiDomenico’s campaign Â in turn will be looking to see which of his supporters turn out. Many different constituencies have gotten behind DiDomenico. The largest is the political class in Everett. They have gotten behind DiDomenico in a big way. It’ has been 30 years since the Senator in this district has been from Everett and every Everett political interest wants to see DiDomenico succeed. Then, there are the various unions that endorsed DiDomenico. A source tells me that on election dayÂ while they turned out significant numbers of volunteers – they weren’t as many as were expected.
Late in the campaign DiDomenico put support behind Shared Parenting and Alimony Reform, two bills currently in the legislature with very active groups behind them. They turned out in larger than expected numbers on election day. Supporters of these groups would like to keep a senator who has taken political risk to support them, and eyes will be on them to show up on May 3rd as well.
Of course not only will DiDomenico be watching which of his constituencies turn out, but all the elected officials who appear will be looking for which organizations are able to turn out hard core activists. It helps them decide in their own districts where are the untapped wells of political support.
At its core, politics is about building constituencies. Each group and each candidate has a limited amount of money, people and time. Everyone wants to invest their political capital where it will give them theÂ best return. Events like this, when most voters are not paying attention, is where candidates, parties, and activist groups make decisions about where their best prospects lie.