Globe columnist Eileen McNamara, in some ways the Globe’s most predictably liberal opinionator, published a glowing column about Middlesex DA candidate Gerry Leone today. It focuses largely on the case of Louise Woodward, the British nanny who was convicted in the death of 8-month old Matthew Eappen in 1997 – a case that Gerry Leone prosecuted.
But the column goes beyond praising Leone’s role in that case to directly question the claim that Jarrett Barrios is the “progressive” candidate in this race:
Leone’s opponent, Senator Jarrett Barrios of Cambridge, has tried with little success to position himself as the more progressive candidate in this campaign, but such labels as “left” and “right” are more useful in the State House than in the courthouse.
Both Leone and Barrios support gay marriage and oppose the death penalty, but those positions are likely to be of less consequence to voters than the fact that Leone is a career prosecutor with experience in the county, state, and federal arenas, and Barrios has never prosecuted a case. That’s why Representative Michael E. Festa of Melrose endorsed Leone after deciding to drop out of the race to run for reelection. It is why he has Coakley’s support, too.
She then says it’s “too simplistic to characterize one man as a politician and the other as a prosecutor” (a point with which I agree, as explained at greater length here). And then, in the part of the column that comes closest to an explicit endorsement of Leone, she writes (emphasis mine):
The differences between Leone and Barrios are less about emphasis than experience. Both are devoted fathers who want safe streets for their children. Both understand the role in crime played by drugs, poverty, and family dysfunction. But the district attorney’s office also is about the administration of justice, and a man who has managed a Massachusetts Senate staff is in an unfair fight with a man who has run a statewide Criminal Bureau in the attorney general’s office and an office of more than 100 lawyers as the first assistant US attorney in Massachusetts.