As a public service, I thought I’d set up a collection of the voluminous reporting and commentary on the Reilly/St. Fleur fiasco that showed up in today’s papers, with some money quotes as appropriate. The consensus from reporters and commentators alike: Reilly’s campaign is in something approaching a crisis, and he needs to seriously rethink how he approaches major decisions. Sounds about right to me.
Attorney General Tom Reillyâs campaign for governor is in crisis today after his newly anointed running mate, state Rep. Marie St. Fleur, dropped out of the race amid embarrassing financial disclosures that threatened to sink Reillyâs faltering candidacy.
Political consultants yesterday guffawed at Attorney General Tom Reillyâs stunning failure to review his gubernatorial running mateâs troubled finances before putting her in the harsh spotlight of a statewide campaign…. Reilly had gone to great lengths to expose possible skeletons in his background, even owning up to a 1962 arrest for public drunkenness when he was 20. Consultants are shocked he didnât apply the same scrutiny to his partner on the campaign trail.
Reilly’s decision to back off Gabrieli and shift to St. Fleur was made without consulting or even informing a number of his key advisers, most of whom are much more experienced than he is in high-level political campaigns, according to the individuals interviewed for this article. It is not the first time he has ignored political advice and paid a price…. But after the St. Fleur development, many of Reilly’s closest supporters and advisers were stunned by his behavior. One called it a “knee-jerk decision,” reflecting complaints among several Democrats yesterday that Reilly acted rashly without conducting a diligent check of his choice. Another supporter said it is ironic that Reilly, so disciplined in so many aspects of his life and work, made such an ill-considered decision. Others said it is consistent with Reilly’s makeup, a natural aversion to the cold calculations of politics and a desire to seem independent of them.
But within 24 hours the team was unraveling. Reilly advisers were insisting that St. Fleur had to step down, campaign sources said. At first, St. Fleur’s confidants said she was intent on toughing it out, but relented as details emerged about her finances yesterday…. As Reilly pondered what to do in face of the revelations about St. Fleur, leading Democrats yesterday expressed concern that St. Fleur’s tax problem were particularly troublesome for Reilly because his office is pursuing a civil case against state Senator Dianne Wilkerson concerning campaign-finance allegations.
St. Fleur’s legislative salary is projected to be about $70,570 for 2006, the same as 2005. In 2003 and 2004, she earned $68,381, according to the state Treasurer’s office. In addition to her pay as a legislator, she reported modest income from two law firms on her 2004 financial statement, the most recent that she was required to file with the state as a public official. Those show her taking home up to $5,000 from the Dorchester firm of Guerrier and Associates and $5,000 to $10,000 from the Boston firm of Sessa, Glick, Quiroga & Hibbard.
I have a great respect for Marie St. Fleur. I appreciate that her primary interest is in protecting her family and, as a result, she’s decided not to run a campaign for Lieutenant Governor. Marie is going to continue to work with me as I campaign on the values we both share: That Massachusetts must get moving again, that change at the top is required to do so and that ordinary working people need a voice in the Corner Office. I will keep working to bring change to Massachusetts but will do so without a formal running mate. As I said before, there are many qualified Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor and I will be happy to serve with any of them.
… I saw the opportunity to speak to the struggles of the many families throughout Massachusetts who work so hard each day to make ends meet – families like mine who recognize their obligations to meet their financial obligations but most often rob Peter to pay Paul. This year the race for the governor’s office is more important than any one individual. I am withdrawing from the race for lieutenant governor…. My family is the most important part of my life. They have not been prepared for this….
Reilly needs to rehabilitate his candidacy. There has always been a question about whether Reilly is too dull to win the governor’s race. Until recently, few thought he might be too rash.
Does Tom Reilly really want to be governor of Massachusetts? Lapses in judgment call his desire into question — and his fitness for the job of chief executive…. A decision that was supposed to make Reilly look bold reduced him, again, to bumbling…. Reilly may be one of those candidates who simply cannot grow beyond the office he currently holds. Or, maybe it’s a matter of desire. Maybe Bay State Democrats covet the governor’s office more than he does. Maybe Reilly should be the next candidate to drop out.
It boggles the mind that a prosecutor, spurred on by two other former prosecutors, Ralph Martin and Wayne Budd, would nominate anyone for the sewer commission without thoroughly checking them out…. Four weeks ago, even four days ago, the Democratic primary looked as if it was [Reilly’s] to lose. Suddenly, he looks as if he might do exactly that.
Reillyâs campaign for governor is hurting today, and rightfully so. What could he possibly have been thinking? His campaign had already suffered a few early blows â that ill-advised call to Worcester County District Attorney John Conte, for one â and he could hardly afford this kind of embarrassment…. Heâs a smart man
, but he is either getting bad counsel from incompetent advisers, or heâs ignoring sound advice from the good ones. If itâs the former, he can recover with a few changes to his inner circle. If itâs the latter â well, it makes you wonder if he can recover at all.
The same people who came out of the woodwork Monday to praise Marie St. Fleur are all but mum today, including her chief supporters, ex-Suffolk D.A. Ralph Martin and Mayor Thomas Menino. Coming out of the woodwork instead yesterday were people saying things like, “very compelling life story, gives an exciting speech and gets people riled up … but everybody in the business knows thereâs something off with Marie.” This begs the question: If everybody does know this, why not Reilly? … Needless to say this, is a horrible day as well for Reilly, the once apparent frontrunner. You have to ask yourself, whatâs going on?
Reilly has huge political problems of his own. His sloppy handling of lâaffaire St. Fleur and his earlier courtship of Chris Gabrieli has catapulted rival Deval Patrick into a commanding position in Saturdayâs Democratic caucuses which choose delegates for the endorsement convention in May. “The caucuses will be a rout” for Patrick, predicted one top Democrat. That would trigger more troubling headlines for Reilly…. The AG has badly hurt his candidacy during this whole chaotic episode.
Whew. Got that?