Should I be worried yet? Ed Markey has $3 million in his campaign account, which is nice. He’s got John Kerry, Barney Frank, and Vicki Kennedy behind him, which would seem to guarantee that at least those three people will vote for him, though I don’t know what else it gets him. And the DSCC likes him, which means … I’m not actually sure what, exactly, other than they’ll shovel some money his way. (Would they take sides in a contested primary between sitting congressmen? That would be unpleasant. But I digress.)
And yet, Markey’s campaign website remains a placeholder two weeks after he announced – the only two things it does are let you sign up for emails, and contribute money. I signed up for emails when the site went live, but I haven’t gotten any since New Year’s Day when he belatedly told his email list that he was running (the news hit the papers on Dec. 27), and asked for a donation to meet his goal of 500 donors by Friday the 4th. (Did he make it?) And I’m not aware that Markey has taken any other steps toward actually, you know, campaigning. Did I miss something?
And today, we read the following in National Journal:
For now, the only Democrat officially running is the delegation’s dean, Rep. Edward Markey, whose campaign is being guided by well-seasoned advisers including John Martilla (who held a senior role in Joe Biden’s 1972 Senate election), Larry Rasky (Jimmy Carter’s deputy campaign press secretary in 1980), and Chuck Campion (a special assistant to Vice President Walter Mondale).
Wow. When was the last time one of those guys was actively involved in a hard-fought campaign – much less one that was a winner? Chuck Campion was a senior staffer for Mondale in 1984. Larry Rasky is an ex-Markey staffer who also worked for Joe Biden’s 1988 and 2008 presidential campaigns. And John Marttila is also an old Biden guy; his website reports that he “managed strategy and advertising for Biden’s upset victory” in – wait for it – 1972. He also was apparently an “informal adviser” to Deval Patrick’s 2006 campaign, but was not deeply involved.
Let’s just say that that’s not a lineup that inspires a great deal of confidence that Markey is assembling a team equipped to run a state-of-the-art grassroots operation of the kind that recent progressive winners in MA have found to be effective.
I like Ed Markey, as I’ve said before (though I’m not as ready as Charley to declare that he’s the guy). But he hasn’t had to run in a seriously contested election for many, many years, and that lineup of advisers suggests to me that he may not be entirely in tune with what has worked well in Massachusetts recently (or, worse, that he may not be up to it or interested in doing it). And, just as a reminder, a poll taken in mid-December shows Scott Brown still holding astronomical (58/28) fav/unfav ratings despite his recent crappy campaign and loss to Elizabeth Warren, and shows him beating Markey by a whopping 48-30, probably in large part because 60% of MA voters either have never heard of Markey, or have heard of him but have no particular opinion about him. Assuming that Scott Brown runs, I don’t think we can count on him to run as lousy a campaign as he ran against Warren. And if he doesn’t, the Democrat will really have to win it, rather than hoping that Brown loses it. (To be clear: overall I think Warren ran a very good campaign. But Brown assuredly helped her out.)
Don’t get me wrong, I think Markey could win. But he’s got a lot of work to do before he gets there, and he needs the right philosophy and the right team in place to do it. So far, I can’t say I’m impressed.