Gerry Leone jumping into the Dem MA-Sen race?

Well, this would be interesting.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone tells the Herald he’s considering getting into the Democratic race for U.S. Senate, a move that could shock the party establishment and completely shake up the special election battle.

“I’m going to give it some thought,” Leone said in an interview, adding that he’s been besieged by calls from supporters urging him to get in the race — especially since former GOP Sen. Scott Brown announced yesterday he was not running.

I haven’t got time for further comment now, beyond saying that this would certainly shake up the race.


29 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Odd

    I thought he was quitting politics? Also it’d be bad since this is exactly how Lynch got into the House by splitting the progressive vote. I think he should run for AG or against Galvin if he wants a higher office and he is a great public servant, but te optics of this are odd and we can’t afford a Sen. Lynch.

  2. Since this is a county office...

    …will a special election be required for DA if he gets to the Senate, or can the Governor appoint? Also, I second jconway’s comment about Leone quitting politics and would add that he may have trouble finding people, at least party activists, who have not already chosen sides.

  3. Vote Rich Middlesex County

    Leone is an elected official from the largest county in the Commonwealth. He is well positioned to run in a special election against two Congressmen whose Congressional Districts I would guess are smaller than Middlesex County.Why would he take on an incumbent for AG or SOS when he can run for an open seat? If he comes up short he makes his already announced exit from politics and if he wins he’s a United States Senator with a bright future.

    • Flawed analysis

      No offense striker, and I like Leone personally, but he has never really had competitive fights for his two terms and I am sure the Markey name is more well known in the same county which has significant overlap with his district. There is also the issue that the Markey vote would split two ways now helping Lynch. He is a very personable guy and could combine the working class bonafides of Brown or Lynch without compromising the progressive politics, but its very late in the game and hard for him to make a case I’d say. We will see though.

    • Markey's district

      does encompass a fair amount of Middlesex County.

      After Leone, my DA, said he would leave politics, I’ll be quite disappointed if he enters the race and opens the door at all for Lynch.

    • Leone would be fresh air...

      compared to the Beltway bland cliche festival that will ensue if Markey has the stage to himself…his performance today confirms that…I imagine once Brown exited stage right, many others were thinking, “OMG, we will be stuck with Markey!” and considering a run.

      • Hardly a clicke festival

        In his announcement, Markey:

        - had HUGE applause lines supporting choice and supporting gun control
        - went big for legislation to stop global warming
        - brought down the house with his support for Obama
        - issued strong endorsements of internet freedom and access
        - unequivocally denounced corporate polluters

        I don’t see “Beltway cliches” here. I see a strong progressive stand.

        • not to mention women's health

          He got huge applause for that, gay rights, civil rights…And personally I really appreciated how eloquently he linked his own family’s immigrant story with that of new immigrants from Latin America and Asia etc and how he spoke of the universal timeless striving of immigrants making us the country we are. Given how fraught immigration and race are as issues in our politics, I thought the prominence he gave to that spoke volumes.

          I sincerely hope Leone thinks better of this. Lynch would be a disaster, imo, and a crowded field for the primary is his ticket it would seem.

        • Sorry to be snide...

          …but if I could be paid a nickel for every time I attended a speech made by a Democratic official / candidate that promised to:

          support a woman’s choice; supported gun control; supported legislation to stop global warming; supported Pres. Obama’s agenda; issued strong endorsements of internet freedom and access and unequivocally denounced corporate polluters…I’d be rich.

          Maybe these aren’t Beltway Cliches, but they are Democratic Activist cliches and completely unoriginal (not there is anything bad with clichés…they often–like these ones–have a lot of truth to them).

          • Those are the issues

            What are they supposed to talk about? “I like nachos but pizza leaves me queasy” doesn’t do it at a campaign event. I don’t understand what kind of “original” you want – should they invent new issues?

          • Complain to the GOP!

            To the extent that the GOP has any political agenda beyond dismantling government and cutting taxes, it is:

            1. Deny a woman’s right to choose — to choose both abortion and birth control (not mention to choose a same-sex spouse).
            2. Block gun control and arm everybody
            3. Deny the very existence of global warming
            4. Destroy the Presidency of Barack Obama
            5. Aggressively enable corporate polluters (see “dismantling government”, (3) above, and (4) above).

            I found statements about internet freedom and access needed because so many politicians of BOTH parties work so hard to abridge them (see Martha Coakley).

            I agree with you that having these “issues” — which are supported by an overwhelming majority of Massachusetts voters — constantly rehashed is wearying. Nevertheless, so long as the GOP continues to flog them, surely you agree that good governance demands that Democratic candidates address them.

      • Do you have anything good to say

        about any of the candidates?

        Because all this heavy negative stuff is not very convincing.

        • There are many excellent Massachusetts Democrats...

          There are many Massachusetts Democrats who have talent, intelligence, compassion and political skill who should be entering these contests…however, when we let the party grand poobahs preselect the candidates they want to win and push others off the field the rank and file Dem. voters never get to know them or choose for themselves. It may have short term benefits to the party, but long term it is a failed strategy.

          • sure

            I agree there are many good Democrats but this is not a normal contest, it is a compressed timeline situation for statewide office…People who dither in that scenario don’t impress me very much…As an activist I appreciate people who get moving so we can actually try to win this…For example how long will Leone give his assumed volunteers to gather signatures?

            Also this notion that the MA Democratic party consists only of poobahs is not accurate in my view, there are a lot of us at the grassroots level who volunteer who feel ownership of the party…and the notion that a candidate is inherently better or fresher regardless of where they stand on the issues just by virtue of not having the party leadership or establishment behind them, I don’t buy it. Where does Leone stand on the issues of the day that are being contested in the US Senate? As a volunteer and a voter, that’s what I need to know.

  4. how do we evaluate him?

    With two Representatives running, it’s easy to compare their votes and sponsorship of legislation and make a case one way or the other. But what would we have to go on for Leone?

    • Not much

      A “tough on crime” stance? No thanks. On all the really important issues facing the Senate (except perhaps gun control), Leone hasn’t done much. He may be able to say the right things on issues, but I’ll take the guy who has voted the right way and been an advocate for the right issues for years.

      • Who would that be?

        Voting the right way is laudable, getting something done is better. Congressional favorability is in single digits because Congress is filled with people who vote “the right way” for their respective parties, but don’t get much done for their country. They vote as they are told/expected to by Party leadership or special interest lobbyists who write the checks. Cong. McGovern in the Mass. delegation is probably a notable exception…he is a leader and a champion of causes, not just a party line voter.

        • um voting is important

          A huge part of being an elected is in fact voting. Voting the right way is very important and it is a reliable way for volunteers and voters to evaluate you asp a candidate. It’s not the only one but its important…What do you mean by getting things done rather than “just” voting the right way? I assume you mean to imply that Markey hasnt gotten anything done in contrast with Leone? If so could you please provide some specifics about Leone rather than just making general statements?

          I attended the Markey kickoff in Malden and I for one heard not only a lot about his votes and his positions on the issues that are front and center in the US Senate, but also his accomplishments ie standing up to British Petroleum, putting the climate crisis at the top of our agenda here in Mass especially after Hurricane Sandy, getting a law passed that he authored to get Chinese assault rifles banned, and getting landmark pollution regulations enacted ie Superfund law. These are significant accomplishments in addition to an excellent voting record.

          You laud Congressman McGovern as a champion of causes and a leader. I wholeheartedly agree, but I think one can say the same for Congressman Markey and his leadership over decades championing environmental protection broadly and most specifically and recently the cause of climate change.

        • Not Leone

          I think Markey is less the party-line voter than you give him credit for. His record is much more similar to McGovern’s, and other members of the Progressive Caucus. He has also been a strong leader on a number of issues, especially the environment, as others have noted, in the same way that McGovern has been a leader on civil rights and genocide.

          But since this a Leone thread – on what important issues before the Senate is he a demonstrated, “get things done” leader? I can’t think of any. And frankly, except for the Middlesex DA’s office DV approach, nothing about that office is that impressive, especially on progressive issues.

          Moreover, placing equal blame for Congress’ poor favorability on Democrats (at least over the last decade or so) is ridiculous.

        • "he is a leader and champion of causes"

          See also Markey, Ed – and climate change.

      • John Kerry was Assistant DA...

        Factoid; John Kerry was Assistant District Atty before a very brief stint as Lt. Gov. when he ran and won his Senate seat… seems to have worked out well for him.

        • Fact not factoid

          Assistant DA compared to DA is not a good comparison, it’s a different job. Most importantly, though, Kerry went from ADA (he had also run for Congress previously) to Lt. Gov., not straight to the Senate. Lt. Gov is not that important of a job. If Leone wants to go that route, fine, but his experience has not been nearly enough to warrant a Senate promotion in my view.

          I don’t think Kerry was all that great. If you don’t like the party-line guys, why do you like him? He was the epitome of that.

          Also, Kerry’s career arch means absolutely nothing for Leone’s.

        • Factoid

          By the time Kerry was hired as ADA in 1977, he had already served his country with distinction in Vietnam and gone on to be a prominent antiwar activist. He had already won his party’s nomination for Congress and been the head of a statewide organization.

          His two-year tenure as Lt Gov in the second Dukakis administration lasted as long as his stint as ADA.

          The ADA job was at most a minor credential in the race to fill Tsongas’s senate seat.

          A “factoid” is a junk-food fact, divorced from its context and processed and packaged for uncritical consumption by the lazy and gullible. I resent your implication that we at BMG are either.

          • Don't get resentful over simple misuse of a word...

            I miswrote…should have been fact not factoid…don’t have a resentment attack over it. I was responding to a statement that a person from “public safety’ could not be qualified to handle other issues…which was and is not trie, then or now, as Sen. kerry proved.

  5. Just from a logistical POV: Tough hill to climb...

    All candidates face a task of getting 15,000 to 20,000 sigs (for the certified 10,000 needed) in 30 days. Given that tight timeline, Markey and Lynch will wind up paying for a bulk of it.

    Which brings me to the big hurdle Leone has: Federal cash. Leone has proven to be a great fundraiser–that’s how he cleared the field of major opponent 6 years ago by putting up eye=popping fundraising #s. But he now has to start at zero and raise and spend (on the very low side) 2 million dollars. At the same time he has to be campaigning and building a campaign organization.

    Sure Lynch and Markey have the same challenges, but Lynch at least has several hundred grand of seed money and Markey has something approaching a war-chest. And both have a fundraising network comparable to being long-time Congressmen.

    I like Leone, he really is a candidate out of central casting. But Special elections are made for entrenched / established candidates. If it were a special election for AG (which we won’t have in MA) Leone would be the front-runner. But his job and the circumstances of this election make it a long-shot.

    • Anything can happen day...

      if “special elections are made for entrenched/established candidates” Brown would not have won a special election…no one ever heard of the Wrentham Senator. Special elections are “anything can happen day”…all of the regular rules don’t apply because of the tight time frame.

      • Sure there are plenty of "anything can happen" victories...

        Kerry crawling back to win New Hampshire primary (and ultimately the nomination) in 2004; Carol Shea Porter in 2006, Scott Brown in 2010. But it is the last hope. Not based on objective measures or past experience. It is based on the reality that unknown factors can swoop on and overwhelms. There is no controlling it and you just ride the wave and see where it takes you. If the pros are telling Leone, “hey, anything can happen” it means they have no clue how it can happen.

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