It’s looking like there will be three Republicans vying to be our junior Senator. The Globe reports that Mike Sullivan – the former state rep from Abington, former Plymouth County district attorney, former US Attorney for Massachusetts, and former acting head of the ATF – has gathered enough signatures to make the ballot.
Is this important? Yes, actually, I think it is, for a couple of reasons. First, Mike Sullivan, as his résumé indicates, is an accomplished guy whose qualifications for the Senate can’t really be questioned (unlike the two other Republicans running). He’s held elective office in Massachusetts, he’s been a top-level state and federal prosecutor, and he’s been the head of an important federal agency in Washington – and, interestingly, one of the reasons he could never get confirmed by the Senate as head of ATF is that he managed to piss off a lot of gun rights groups, a fact that should play pretty well here. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that he has the most wide-ranging set of qualifications of any of the candidates in the race, of whatever party.
Second, also unlike the two other Republicans, Sullivan did not pay to gather his signatures. It was an all-volunteer effort. Given how late he got that effort up and running and how feeble the Mass. GOP’s infrastructure is, it’s actually fairly impressive that he seems to have pulled it off, and it bodes well for his ability to assemble a decent grassroots campaign.
Third, Sullivan is an affable guy with a gentle Boston accent. He hasn’t forgotten how to connect with the regular folks who sent him to Beacon Hill for the first time all those years ago. He’s sorta like Scott Brown, except with some actual accomplishments. Don’t underestimate him.