Tim Flaherty announced yesterday that he is not going to push for a recount but will run again for the Middlesex Suffolk and Essex seat in September primary:
â€œOver the past few days, my campaign has been reviewing reports of voting irregularities in Everett. While these reports are concerning, our campaign has decided not to pursue a recount, as it would distract from our goal of winning in September. This race has been a statistical dead heat, with my campaign winning in five out of eight communities, and separated by just over 100 votes out of more than 11,000 cast.”
â€œI believeÂ voters should have a clear opportunity to decide, between myself and Sal DiDomenico, who they want to be their state senator.Â We have different ideas about the role government should play in peopleâ€™s lives, and I believe this district needs a strong progressive voice.Â I intend to be a candidate in September and I look forward to talking with voters about issues that matter to them such as job creation,Â eliminating youth drug abuse, reforming mandatory minimum prison sentences, regulating predatory lenders and restoring respect for public service.â€
How strong his candidacy is going to be in September will depend partly on how well DiDomenico does in the next few months, and if anyone else runs. If no Cambridge based candidates run – like Denise Simmons or Marjorie Decker – then Flaherty’s candidacy will be pretty strong. He came very close to winning the special election. He almost certainly would have won if the Cambridge vote had not been split between himself and Simmons.
On the other hand, DiDomenico has six months to establish himself as an incumbent. This is going to be a challenging season. The legislature is crafting a budget which is short of resources, and with necessary budget cuts is likely to make many voters unhappy. DiDomenico will not have been long enough in the legislature to have been part of the budget problem – but long enough that he may yet take some of the blame.
He’s going to have a short time to show that he can deliver for voters.
The special election had 11,365 people turn out – lower than campaign estimates of about 13,000.
The unofficial results are:
Only one part of the district, Revere, is about even for Flaherty and DiDomenico. The other parts of the district skew strongly for one either Flaherty ( Cambridge, Charlestown, Allson, Chelsea ) or DiDomenico ( Everett, Somerville, Saugus ). But Flaherty’s section is bigger – about 65% of the voters.
If the same voters came again in September to vote between Flaherty and DiDomenico, then Flaherty would win easily. If we remove the other 4 candidates, and distribute their votes to DiDomenico and Flaherty, in the percentages they won each town by, then the results would be:
In this scenario Flaherty would win by a large margin.
There are two ways they can go. Either these candidates can work on efforts to win voters in their respective areas and improve their ability to turn out voters in their area, or they are going to have to make inroads in parts of the district where they are not well known.
That’s going to be tough for DiDomenico. To win by turnout in his strong areas, he is going to have to beat Flaherty’s turnout efforts by at least 50%. That is, if Flaherty’s areas vote at the same rate in September as they did now, DiDomenico’s areas would have to have a 50% bigger turnout. There is some potential here, as Somerville and Saugus had particularly low rate of voter turnout, but even with greatly improved turnout here, it’s unlikely DiDomenico can achieve the 50% increase necessary to win with a pure turnout strategy.
DiDomenico is going to have to improve his appeal in places where Flaherty is strong. Allston-Brighton and Cambridge vote heavily progressive, and it will be hard for DiDomenico to win here. But he could do well with a stronger effort in more socially conservative Charlestown, Chelsea and Revere.
One problem for DiDomenico in Charlestown is the strong support Flaherty is getting from the O’Brien’s of Charlestown. This long time politically connected family in Charlestown is strongly behind Flaherty.
This gerrymandered district is shaped like a snake, that winds from Allston Brighton in the south all the way to Saugus in the North, and spans three Congressional districts:
- John Tierney’s 6th Congressional
- Ed Markey’s 7th Congressional
- Mike Capuano’s 8th Congressional
One potential wild card is if there is a contested democratic primary race in one of these congressional districts. This could have a strong effect on voter turnout.
There are currently no primary challengers in these districts. A primary challenge to Mike Capuano would benefit Flaherty. A challenge to Tierney or Markey would benefit DiDomenico.