Bonifaz hits new low with “Where’s Galvin” commercials.

UPDATE (by David): In a classy move, the Bonifaz campaign has replaced the July 19 episode of “Where’s Galvin” on their website with a note of condolence to Secretary Galvin and his family.  Also, nobody thinks the Bonifaz campaign was intentionally trying to take advantage of this situation – it appears that they simply did not know.  Finally, to clarify the reference in RenMan’s post: the vacant parking lot on a Sunday stunt is a famous one from years ago – it has nothing to do with the 2006 campaign.

The Boston Phoenix is complaining about Bonifaz Campaign’s fatal technological flaws in the  “Where’s Galvin?” commercials. 

But nobody in the press has picked up the real story of how Bonifaz has taken political advertising to new lows. I’m NOT talking about going up to the state house on a Sunday and filming a vacant parking spot for Secretary of State and asking “Where’s the SOS?”

It’s worse than that. I’m talking about sending a crew up to the state house and the campaign headquarters the week that the Secretary’s mother was on her death bed, met her maker, and she was waked and buried.

I know when I attended the wake in Brighton, was when I first heard the disturbing rumors. Confirmation came when I saw the newly posted ads on Bonifaz’s web site. 

Initial text of Boston Globe Obituary for Bill Galvin’s Mother:

Galvin, Mary E. (McDermott)

Of Brighton, formerly of Williamstown, Galway, Ireland July 18, 2006. Beloved wife of Thomas F. Galvin. Devoted mother of William F. Galvin and his wife Eileen of Brighton,….

Globe Obituary Searches Search for “Galvin” or view last week’s list if you doubt the text above.

Maybe Bonifaz should consider a public apology for the behavior of his campaign staff?  Maybe Bonifaz should apologize to the Secretary for bringing politics into a time that should be reserved for family grieving?  I don’t know, but I know he

should do something soon before this news hits the mainstream.  Is this the kind of compassion he plans on bringing to the Secretary of State’s Office?

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36 Comments . Leave a comment below.

    At his mother's funeral.

    Ugh, it doesn’t got any worse than that.  Worse than Jack E. Robinson crashing his car while on talk radio.

    • How to push Secy of State debates?

      Political tradition dictates that incumbents only debate when they feel threatened -- either because their opponent might win, or because the press embarrasses them into debating. So I'd like to make Secretary of State Galvin feel threatened, by all of us writing to the Boston papers to try to embarass him into debating.

      During the Reich for Governor campaign, we encountered this same intransigence about debating from the establishment frontrunner, Shannon O'Brien. We therefore made a trivial website, and wrote to the press about it. I've done the same this time around with another trivial website, -- I'm asking everyone to email it to the press, to try to get them to run a piece about why Galvin won't debate. It worked in 2002 -- the Boston papers ran a couple of pieces, and Shannon then debated.

      The Boston Phoenix today carried a kowtow-to-incumbency article about John Bonifaz' videos entitled "Where's Galvin?" The author, Adam Reilly, is actually a strong progressive -- I suggest we all write to him at and tell him that we expect better from him. He says in the article that the video doesn't work, and that Bonifaz has little momentum. The Phoenix's duty SHOULD be to embarrass the incumbent mercilessly until he debatess -- that's what progressive newspapers DO.

      The Herald should do the same, just on grounds of their strong record of incumbent-bashing. We should encourage them to bash THIS incumbent too -- he's as much a "hack" as any of the Herald's normal victims. Galvin's moniker, "The Prince of Darkness," is just custom-made for a Howie Carr column. Let's all write him at and say so. His political-writer colleague Margery Eagan is at -- she might run a column too.

      At the Globe, perhaps the best strategy is to all write letters-to-the-editor. That's -- their usual rule is, if they get a dozen letters about one topic, they print the best one.

      -- Jesse Gordon,  

      • To set the record straight . . .

        Shannon O'Brien participated in every Democratic gubernatorial forum and debate in 2002.  At one point in the campaign, Robert Reich attempted to gain some traction by challenging the other candidates, including O'Brien, to one-on-one debates.  As this was transparently an attempt by Reich to get some badly needed publicity, O'Brien, along with the other Democratic candidates, refused to take Reich's bait.  O'Brien went on to win the Primary, despite  I doubt that will have any more impact on the 2006 election, but, hey, I've been wrong before.

      • Writing to Howie Carr?

        I have to guess that he'd be more likely to write a column mocking the e-mails he got...

    • As someone who

      voted for Bonifaz at the convention, I'm sorry that I did.  His campaign had best apologize and quick.

  2. Wow.

    Embarrassing for the Bonifaz campaign, I'd say.  Good reporting by RenMan.  The most recent "episode" of "Where's Galvin" was apparently filmed on July 19, the day after Mrs. Galvin died.

    Here's the obituary for Mrs. Galvin. 

    On the technical point, I didn't have any trouble viewing the "episode" - Adam must be using antiquated technology up there at the Phoenix.  Gotta say, though, they're really boring.  Way too long - Mr. Scissors needs to pay "Where's Galvin" a visit.

    • How long does it take to make a video?

      Videos take several days, at least, to produce and release. Bonifaz' 3rd video was released the morning before Galvin announced his mother's illness. We all feel for Mr. Galvin in his moment of grief. I do not believe th Bonifaz campaign would have released that 3rd video at that time if they had learned the news earlier.

  3. I think they pulled it down...

    ...or at least I didn't find it there tonight.  But I did play it over at the Phoenix site and as of July 21 (last Friday) I heard a Bonifaz campaign volunteer talking it up at a political event.

  4. how would he have known?

    [Just back from being away for a month, sorry I haven't been posting]

    Where's Galvin is a weekly series meant to highlight our efforts to invite Galvin to debate John Bonifaz so that voters can hear what the candidates have to say about the issues.  The series started on July 5th.  How would any of us have known Galvin's mother was going to die two weeks later?  It wasn't in the news.

    The most recent episode happened to be on the same day as the obituary notice announcing she had died the night before, so the only "misstep" here is in not reading the obituary section of the Globe every morning before working on the day's planned activities.

    Galvin's mother's death is a sad event, and I send my condolences, as does John (and I understand there will be no new episode of "Where's Galvin" this week). 

    This post, on the other hand, is a farce, and unworthy of being promoted to the front page.  Seriously, did any of you think it through?  It's sillier than going chasing after phantom affairs, or all that other dumb stuff the press loves to do to distract people.  Can we stop being pointlessly titillating and go back to actual issues?

    • Another side

      I see your point, but I think there was more to David's original post. It is more than a little misleading to film an empty parking space on a Sunday as evidence of an elected official not doing his/her job. It smacks of desperation to me.

      • well, ads aren't usually meant to be taken literally

        most ads are meant to make a point through symbolism.  you know, the car drives fast on a super-curvy mountain course, therefore it's a fun, exhilirating car to drive - even though most of its owners will nudge it along on the highway for 95% of its life.

        it's a similar point here: galvin is just not doing a great job, and the empty parking spot is a graphic symbol of that.  i'm sorry his mother died, and it's a really unfortunate coincidence that the ad was filmed at just the wrong time.  Galvin deserves our condolences, but not a blank check.

        • I'm not a fan

          of Galvin either but lets not make excuses for the Bonifaz campaign.  Bonifaz' campaign was wrong and misleading to film Galvin's parking space on a Sunday.  And even if I give Bonifaz the benefit of the doubt, his campaign should now apologize for running their latest installment of Where's Galvin during the week of his mother's death.

          You lose all credibility whether you are a candidate or supporter of a candidate when you cannot apologize and admit that you were wrong. 

          • Dude, read before you post...

            1.  The parking spot was not filmed on a Sunday. 2.  The Bonifaz campaign has already pulled the film from their site. 3.  The Bonifaz campaign has made it clear that they didn't know of Galvin's situation when they filmed.

            • Dude,

              Read the prior posts.....I said that Bonifaz should APOLOGIZE for this huge political blunder.  I do not care that the Bonifaz campaign did not know of Galvin's mothers death when they filmed their latest "Where's Galvin" piece.  The point is that once the campaign discovered  that Galvin was not at the Statehouse because his mother died the campaign not only should have pulled the ad but more importantly should have been issued an immediate apology. Moreover,there are many allegations re the filming of Galvin's parking space on Sunday. Your candidate has lost a lot of credibility by not publicly acknowledging an obvious and insensitive mistake no matter his ignorance re Galvin's mother's death. 

      • will he debate?

        The point of the video isn't that Galvin isn't doing his job, it's whether he will ever accept an invitation to debate.

        Bonifaz tried hand delivering a letter, the campaign manager tried calling his office...  this has been going on for a while now.  There's nothing misleading about it.

        Calling July 19th a Sunday is misleading (the 19th was a Wednesday), but that's beside the point: Will Galvin ever agree to a debate, or respond to the invitation at all (even if only to say "no, I will not debate") ?

        • Never said Sunday was the 19th

          I said I was "NOT talking about going up on a Sunday to film a vacant parking spot."  That was done in a different campaign years ago. A reference I guess you missed.

          Sounds like the Bonifaz campaign had a lack of judgment trying to deliver a campaign letter to an official "State Office at the State House". And this guy wants to be Secretary of State, and doesn't understand recent State Ethics rulings about the use of the State House for Political purposes? And you guys are filming political ads on state property? Wow. Talk about not getting either the Office for Campaign and Political Finance or State Ethics Commission rules???

          This story keeps getting better all the time. Open mouth, insert foot. Instead of taking the ad down, you leave it up? 

          Have you watched the video?

          Even after it was explained to your operative from Salem that delievering a "campaign related letter" to an office at the State House was improper, she implies Galvin is shirking his responsibilties as Secretary of State? The "Office" and the "Candidate" are two separtate entities with two legally separate responsibilities. If Bonifaz doesn't understand that, he doesn't deserve to be considered for SOS.

          Speaking of answering questions, when is Bonifaz going to answer the question about if he wrote "Green Party" on his voter registration card in Jamaica Plain when he tried to change his party affiliation?

        • Apologies

          Yes, that is my mistake. One of many in my post. I should be banned from posting on days when I've worked too hard.

    • Not the way it works in Politics

      You have your answer to "Where's Galvin", he was dealing with the death on his mother.

      When you pick a strategy like a "Where's Galvin" series you win some and you lose some.  Your camera crews were informed where he was, and apparently they could care less or even worse failed to report back to HQ a critical piece of information that might backfire on their own campaign.

      Guess what, it backfired, big time. Suck it up and move on. The stuff politcal legends are made of. But a farce it is not. Your guys were up there, and apparently so out of touch, that they were oblivious to the whole thing until tonight!!!

      And you want to run a constitutional office?

      • How do you know?

        I am not a huge Bonifaz supporter so I am not trying to defend the ads but in your two comments above you make a lot of assertions with no facts.  Were you part of the camera crew that was informed?  I am just trying to see where you got your info because you certainly just throw it out there with no evidence that it just made up.  I am with David though (see his comment below), now that Bonifaz's campaign does know of the sad death the July 19 edition should be taken down.

        • Yes I made an $quot;assertion$quot;

          that the camera crew was informed. That was what I was told. I see a lot of other people making "assertions" here not being called on it.  SO for the time being, we'll call it an unconfirmed assertion. Or call it "heresay" if you prefer. Question:

          For the record then, why doesn't the Bonifaz Campaign go on the record when the first time they knew was? That is the date they knew?

          1) Filming at the State House? 2) When the obituary was printed in the Globe and Herald and Bonifaz workers in the field called campaign HQ and said, guess what? Your opponent's mother just passed away? It's public record in the obituaries! 3) Through word of mouth in political circles? What date? 4) When this was posted on BMG and brought to your attention?

          by: Renaissance Man [edit diary] Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 18:42:38 PM EDT (An embarrassing misstep by the Bonifaz campaign. - promoted by David)

          5) They still don't know, because the described political ad is still playing on the web site as of this morning 7/26/2006, 7:00AM.

          Take your pick, either "they didn't know and were clueless for eight days" or they "knew in 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, or 8 days and let the ad keep running".  Not a very good choice in my opinion...

          As that famous witness in the  McCarthy hearings said to McCarthy, "At long last, Have you no decency, Sir ?"

          I mean you're still running a commercial asking "Where's Galvin" and now that you know his mother died the day before, it's still up on the web page?

      • what camera crews?

        Clearly you weren't there, and I don't know where you're getting these claims - they make no sense.

        Janet went into the State House alone, with no "camera crews".  Nobody told her about it, they just told her Galvin wasn't in.  She got filmed after leaving the State House - not by a crew, but by an individual with a portable camera, who had not entered the State House and couldn't have been told anything by the people there.

        Anyone who says to you that they "told our camera crews", very obviously wasn't there either.  Your anger is misplaced.  Stop for a moment to question whether your assumptions about this event are warranted, before you bluster blindly onward...  I can see you're angry, but it's not us you should be angry at.

        • I never said $quot;Crews$quot; I said crew....

          And I stand by it because the ad was produced by at least two people.

          At a minimum the "crew" consisted of the camera person and the "on air" person.

          Seems like the Bonafaz Crew can "dish it out" but they can't "take it".

          And I'm not angry at Bonafaz, I just was pointing out what I thought was an injustice....

    • He knows now.

      So the appropriate thing to do is to remove the July 19 installment (which is PAINFULLY boring anyway - doesn't anyone edit these things?) from the site.  No one can possibly expect Galvin to have been in his State House or campaign office the day after his mother died.

  5. So....

    So now we know.  Back to making elections fair.  Where was Galvin July 5th... btw? 

  6. Explanation

    Just wanted to chime in for a second on this discussion. This is Juan Martinez, John Bonifaz's campaign manager. I can assure you that had any of us known that the Secretary's mother was ill or had just passed away, we NEVER would have moved forward with the Where's Galvin? episode. To accuse us of doing so intentially is irresponsible.

    As someone who has lost a parent to cancer and knows how painful the grief is, I NEVER would have approved filming the episode. The minute I heard about it, which wasn't until well after the episode was filmed and released, the decision was made to hold off on any further videos in the near future out of respect to the Secretary.

    No one on our staff was ever told about the Secretary's mother. And why would we be? This is a very personal situation and, frankly, when my father was dying, I didn't tell many people either. As a result, the vast majority of the people who knew me had no idea. When our volunteer went to the State House, she was never told about the Secretary's mother. If she had been, the episode would have been nixed.

    A discussion as to the quality of the video series is one thing, but to accuse any of us of such heartless, inappropriate activities without even knowing the full story simply isn't accurate.

    • So why not

      take David's suggestion further up the page:

      a) Remove that weekly episode from circulation, and b) continue stirring the pot next week?

      I eagerly await your response Mr. Martinez.

      • Site updated

        Out of respect to the Secretary and his family, we have pulled down the July 19 episode and, as I mentioned before, have decided to hold off on new episodes for the near future.

    • There's a lot of that going around here ...

      accusations of inappropriate activities without a shred of evidence.  I'm glad you posted and know that the campaign will take appropriate steps.  I wish some posters would take the time to wonder why Galvin will not debate Bonifaz.  Is it because he is successfully entrenched and therefore feels it to be a waste of time (what about giving the voters a chance to hear both views)?  There's so much talk here about incumbency and the lack of challengers.  I kind of thought a majority of readers at BMG would like to see more challenges, if for no other reason than to increase discussion and debate.  Hmm.

  7. I'm Hurt

    No link to the state House Parking Lot Post, RenMan? If you reference it you should link to it, my man.

    You can always edit your post. I would link to it here for you, but i am lazy. And it is not my post. How will you learn if I do it for you?

    eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
  8. Overheard in Brighton Center

    "I Didin't Kbow Galvin's Mother a McDermott."

    eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
  9. Thanks

    Thanks for the clarification, David.  From reading RenMan's initial post, I thought that the bit about filming a parking spot on a Sunday was about this race.  Seems that others did, too.

    When DID that happen?

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