There has been some discussion on the blogs as of late about special elections, and there is just something about US special senate races that get me all hot and bothered. Unlike Leland Cheung, I am honestly not sure who I will vote for in this go around, for Senate. I like Markey’s policies, but I like Lynch’s lunch pale style. (Mike Capuano, in my mind, is the best since he is both super progressive & super lunch-boxy, but I digress).
It strikes me as absurd that the defense that most people have put up for electeds who are already campaigning for the 5th CD like Carl Sciortino and now Katherine Clark have put up is: ‘Well, I disagree with everything Lynch stands for, so I want Markey to win, but Markey is too milk toast to get me excited enough to campaign for him. So I am glad that there is some candidate that I agree with out there and who I am excited about, even if they are running for an imaginary race right now’.
As I mentioned, I agree with that first premise – that Markey is a boring liberal, and lynch is a conservative Dem – but I don’t know how you can take that premise and translate it into ‘therefore I am glad I have a candidate running in a not-yet-certain race’. You enforce your own negative narrative about Markey. He is so boring that people are more excited about the prospective race to replace him than they are about getting him elected. You shoot yourselves in the foot, because Lynch can capitalize on that momentum.
If you want Markey to win, you should avoid helping write the narrative that could sink his campaign. And if you are an elected official who wants to run for his seat, then you should make sure he wins so you can run for his seat. Starting to run for his seat, while he is still in it, distracts from his own campaign, it taps his potential donors and volunteers and most importantly, it forces others who would have normally waited until the appropriate time to run, to jump in early.
Also, yes, its true, it’s a sprint to the finish for a special election. But the same is true for Markey, who is actually already in this sprint. And if your argument is ‘well I want Carl Sciortino to win so I want him to start early to get the campaign organized and begin raising money’ the same is true for the person who says ‘well I want Katherine Clark to win so she needs to start early’ And then everyone is starting early, and there is no advantage to the early start anymore anyways.
I am on the fence between Lynch and Markey, but if you do actually want Markey to win, you should want those elected to stop running their campaigns. The polls show them close. This is not a shoe in.
Those politicians who have put up websites and facebook pages and everything else should take those down for now. You all have already gotten your names out there, and have your names in the press. That should be enough. And here is a question for Carl and Katherine (and all others who are fully in the 5th CD race): will you continue your campaign for the district and primary Markey in two years? I am sure the answer is ‘no’ which makes all of the statements about ‘I’m running because X’ and ‘I will do X in Washington’ ring a bit hollow – no you aren’t.