It’s only natural that on this blog that people would be focused on the race for Massachusetts governor. At the same time, some important, and close, elections for senate are going on right next door. Volunteer work for Mass. had an impact on turning NH blue, and I often find myself wondering if, well, an hour in Rhode Island or even Connecticut could be better for us than an hour in Massachusetts.
Control of the Senate may come down to one or two seats, including those in Rhode Island and Connecticut. What if you were to choose between a Democrat as Governor of Massachusetts, or a Democrat as Senate Majority Leader? We may have that choice ahead of us.
In this first section, I want to look at the 7 races that are for governor or senator in neighboring states, and pare away the probable blowouts. In the states bordering Massachusetts, we’re looking at 3 governor’s races (CT, RI, and NY), and 4 senate races (NY, CT, VT, RI). There are also some targeted House races particularly in NY and CT, but I’m not going to get into those.
In some races, it seems a blowout is well underway. The New York races look to be strong victories for HRC and Eliot Spitzer, two Democrats who are certainly going places. The Connecticut races will likely be blowouts too — Governor Jodi Rell is hugely popular (leading 56-31 last month) and Quinnipiac University polls that the Connecticut Senate seat will not go to the Republicans (though Lieberman would win as an Independent, but he’ll caucus with Democrats. Or so he says). In Vermont, my man Bernie is leading 58-35 as of last month.
That leaves Rhode Island. The governor’s race is a dead heat (42-41 for Democrat Charles Fogarty), but why turn away from our own governor’s race for one in Rhode Island? So I think the question comes down to the urgency of the senate races south of us.
What I’m really looking at are the Senate races in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Things will be clearer (hopefully) as the primaries resolve — the Club for
Billionaires Growth is helping Cranston mayor Steve Laffey take on incumbent Republican Lincoln Chaffee. Apparently, there’s something going on in Connecticut, too.
I anticipate that Chaffee will win his primary, and in that case we’re looking at a tight race between him and the Democratic candidate Sheldon Whitehouse — 46-41 last month, with Sheldon leading. I’ve seen other polling that marks it much closer (38-37 according to Brown University in late June). And there’s the question of keeping the Connecticut seat Democratic should Joe run as an independent.
So I come back to the question — is time better spent electing a Democratic governor in Massachusetts or a Democratic Senator in Rhode Island or Connecticut? Considering what an impact a real effort of Democrats from Massachusetts swamping the miniscule Republican party in RI could have, I think it’s a fair question. We were part of the success in New Hampshire two years ago, and could be in Rhode Island or Connecticut this year.
As passionate as we all are about this year’s gubernatorial election, Governor Patrick/Reilly/Gabrieli would not have the power to close Guantanamo, bring our troops home, enforce our constitution, or stop the selling of our country to the highest bidder.
Plus, we have a Democratic legislature that — while nobody’s favorite — does rein in the extremes of insanity a Republic governor may inflict upon us. And I realize folks in Haverhill, Fitchburg, or Truro have an easier choice than those of us who live toward the south. But if folks in the North Shore will keep the ball rolling for the Dem. candidate here, would we have a bigger impact (both on the race, and the benefits of ultimate Democratic victory) working a Senate race?
If it’s a month out, and if we’re looking at a close race in Mass. for governor, and also a close race for RI senator, what’s the priority?