Sciortino In

Sciortino also announced via Twitter, and already has a website that is, well, as good as Ed Markey's and Steve Lynch's. - promoted by david

According to the (local and informative) blog Cambridge Day State Rep. Carl Sciortino (D-Somerville) has announced he is seeking the 5th Congressional District seat currently held by Special Senate Election candidate Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). From the article:

“I am proud to call Ed Markey my Congressman and I am dedicated to helping elect him as our next U.S. senator,” Sciortino said. “I am running to continue the strong progressive leadership that the families of the 5th District have always counted on. I look forward to bringing my record of accomplishment to Washington to fight for our progressive values.”

Sciortino, a Medford resident and graduate of Tufts University, was first elected in 2004 at age 25, beating 16-year incumbent Vincent Ciampa. As one of the state’s seven openly gay legislators, Sciortino has championed the fight for marriage equality and co-wrote the state’s 2011 Transgender Equal Rights Bill. In addition, he co-wrote a 2007 bill creating 35-foot buffer zones protecting the entrances to women’s reproductive health centers. He said he has also led the fight to close corporate tax loopholes and make the state’s minimum wage the highest in the nation.

Good for him to get out in front, and he has a solid record as a progressive legislator and grassroots campaigner. I dismissed him as a one issue candidate, and a lazy one, when he failed to get qualified for the ballot but that was a grave mistake. Like Majorie Decker he has matured in the job and shown he is ready to take on bigger challengers.


22 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Also

    Correct me if I am wrong, but were he to get elected he’d be the first openly gay man elected to Congress in MA (Studds and Frank came our after they were first elected)and the 8th in the country. Of course at the end of the day his orientation is incidental to his fantastic record on issues of concern to all people in the 5th district, but great to see the Commonwealth still make history. As Jared Polis said just four years ago, “its harder for them to say I can’t get married when their wives are friends with my partner”, and now he may be joined by 7 others who can help set that example and win over hearts and minds.

  2. Comprehensive candidate

    I’m glad you noticed, late though it was! Yes, he got a lot of press coverage for being gay and opposing Ciampa on marriage equality, but the first thing he did after getting elected was saving the Green Line extension, which was in danger of being canceled that year and losing its future federal funding. He’s always been a representative with a lot of breadth, and excellent constituent service.

    • Agreed

      That is the number 1 issue facing his district and another area where Ciampa was out of touch with his constituents, I had a geometry teacher at CRLS who lived in Ball Square who told me he was donating and campaigning for Sciortino because he wanted that extension, the gay marriage component was just a plus for him but he was really pissed Ciampa dropped the ball on the extension, and that might have been the issue that won him that race, even if the media focused on the sexier social issue.

      Avi Green took Toomey on regarding social issues and failed to beat him since Toomey had always delivered the bacon for that district, including the extension and North Point. Luckily it scared him enough to flip flop on the death penalty, choice, and marriage equality. But progressives care about government that works for everyone, and that encompasses a lot more than social issues. Very important to remember.

  3. Amazing news

    He has done a lot of great work for his district in Medford and Somerville, even if he is probably more known for the statewide legislation. Hard worker, engaged in the district, thoughtful, progressive… really an ideal candidate in my eyes. Very exciting!

  4. Needless to say,

    jconway is speaking a tad loosely when he refers to the 5th congressional district seat as “being vacated by Ed Markey.” If Markey loses either the primary or the general election, he will keep his seat in the House, and presumably Sciortino’s congressional campaign will be put on ice indefinitely.

    • that was my first reaction

      It seems awful early and presumptuous to announce now. Nothing against Carl, but I think the timing is bad. The last thing we need is assuming that Markey has the Senate race in the bag.

      • Carl is working extremely hard to get Congressman Markey elected to Senate — there is no assumption that Markey wins either the primary or the general election. Nobody has a lock on any elected office, ever. You have to earn every vote on every ballot person-by-person.

        But we can’t wait. If Markey does win, then there’s yet another special election. And as everybody working hard for Markey knows, that’s really a short timeframe to get your name out there. People need to know now, not later, that Carl Sciortino is a progressive champion who has fought for better public transit and equality for the LGBT community. People need to know now, not later, that Carl is the champion of the buffer-zone law. People need to know now, not later, that Carl is the person who led the charge to close corporate tax loop holes and has fought to invest in the things that matter to our communities — our schools, health care, and our environment. We can’t wait to get that message out, and I can’t wait for Carl.

        • We can wait

          The Senate race is more important, and anything that takes away time, money, or energy from the Senate race is a bad thing.

          • He’s announced now because he’s a great campaigner and will use the time to raise money and build a campaign. He’s helping the Markey people and I am sure wouldn’t do anything that folks thought would undermine those efforts. Besides, other than Markey and his inner-most circle, I’d wager nobody has a bigger stake in a Markey win than Carl right now.

            It’s reinforcing – Carl will no doubt want to help out all across MA5th, which will help with turnout for an essential piece of MA for Markey.

          • backwards

            You might be thinking of the pitfalls of having two great candidates running for the *same* office in a first-past-the-post system: In that case, each one takes away from the other. Here in Cambridge the single transferable vote system fixes that, to the point that when my friend ran for city council a while ago, he actually recruited an allied candidate to enter the race, knowing that this would increase his chances.

            But when you have candidates running for different offices in the same or overlapping districts, at the same time, that appeal to the same people, you don’t need STV or choice voting to reap the benefits. Campaigns that appeal to the same people combine really well, and each one adds to the other. Having people working on this early will be to Markey’s benefit.

            Also I bet there are plenty of people with campaign experience and organizing skills who want Markey to win, but get truly excited for Sciortino in a way that they don’t for Markey. A prospect of Sciortino in Congress is going to get more effort from such people, earlier.

            • That assumes the same election day

              I’m combining responses to cos and sleeples in one comment, just so we’re clear.

              Since we’re talking different election days, Sciortino’s supporters won’t come out to vote Markey at a significantly higher rate than they would anyway. Meanwhile, every dollar that goes to Sciortino is a dollar that could have gone to Markey. Every volunteer that’s busy with his campaign is one who can’t help with the Markey campaign. If he really was focused on helping Markey, he would go to his supporters, tell him he’s interested in higher office, and tell them to go work for/donate to Markey. He wouldn’t do this strategy. Either he’s trying to get a free ride, counting on Markey to win and open up the seat without having to do the work himself and/or ask his potentially exhausted/tapped out supporters for even more help, or he’s a bad campaigner. If it’s #1, it’s incredibly arrogant and is a strong reason not to vote for him. Even if he does have the right views (and I think he generally does), politics is about give and take. Someone who is this arrogant can’t get much done in office because they’re just going to piss of their colleagues. He’d be nothing but a figurehead if he won.

              If this is a matter of bad campaign strategy, that’s more forgivable. I’d still be inclined to support someone else who had his good attributes but better campaign skills, but that all depends on how the race shapes up. He could demonstrate that the problem is just tactical incompetence by firing whoever advised him to do it this way, and focusing on the Markey campaign until that’s over.

          • True, The senate race is very important

            …but I dont think this move detracts at all. If anything, i’d say it helps Markey by adding that extra push of energy for the Markey campaign from Sciortino’s supporters.

            Step one of Carl’s campaign will have to be helping Markey win. If that doesn’t happen (and I’m sure he’ll let all his supporters know it), there is no step two. Anybody who witnessed his groundswell of support on the stickers campaign knows he has energetic supporters.

      • He just lost my potential support

        If he wants this seat, he should be focused on campaigning for Markey right now, not presuming a win. This makes it look to me like he’s just in it for himself.

        • Agreed

          Seamus, agreed. As one of Sciortino’s constituents, I’m not super impressed with him. He’s not nearly as present in the district as some might believe, and his campaign operation (when he had a real opponent, had lost his nom papers) was NOT district-based. The only folks who lit-dropped for him were from out of the district and I believe were the GOTV operation of Mass Equality.

          That being said, even if I were a big supporter, I think this is an absolutely arrogant move on his part. First, Markey hasn’t won the primary, let alone the general. I’m honestly split between Markey and Lynch – and I’m a pretty progressive person. If that’s the case for me, I can only imagine that the Senate primary will be more competitive if Lynch and some of his union supporters have their GOTV efforts in full gear.

          Second, this is incredibly bush league by Sciortino. An announcement for a congressional run in the middle of the biggest snowstorm in years? On a Friday? Via Facebook? You couldn’t do a press conference, on a Wednesday, after everyone got their power back and it was 45 degrees? Whoever is running his campaign needs a head check.

          Anyway, if Markey DOES win, and if Sciortino DOES win, there will be another special election for his seat. I know of a couple of great progressives in his district, including Mike Capuano Jr. and some local activists, that would be great in this seat.

          • Sorry but you are wrong

            As one of the people who volunteered on Carl’s Rep race almost every day canvassing door to door, lit dropping and doing GOTV, AND as someone who does live in Carl’s Rep district I can assure you that you are not correct that his supporters all come from out of his district. The majority of the day to day volunteers lived in his district in Somerville or Medford.

            Carl has held regular office hours in the district throughout his time in office. Carl turns up at public hearings on the green line and many other issues important to his district and his constituents.

            He worked to elect Elizabeth Warren to the Senate and I can guarantee you that his number 1 priority right now is to help elect Ed Markey to the Senate. That is also the number 1 priority for his regular volunteers. His announcement takes nothing away from that and will only energize people more to help the Markey campaign.

            No one is presuming a win in either the the Primary or the General Election. Who is Dan Winslow? People were asking who is Scott Brown in 2010 so nobody is taking anything for granted.

            • Well I Stand Corrected

              I”m glad to see that my impressions as to his volunteers are incorrect; I hope that will help him districtwide. That being said, I still find it arrogant and presumptuous to begin a race for a seat that is months away from being vacated, if it is at all. Brownsberger may have a website, but as far as I know, it’s a placeholder until and unless the seat actually opens up.

    • Duly noted, and duly fixed


  5. Am I the only one

    That finds the timing of this strange? I can’t understand why he would announce this on a Friday during a blizzard. Seems likely that it would get buried under all the news about the snowpocalypse. Why not wait until early next week when he could be the lead story?

    • Agree there

      He and Winslow can feel free to enlighten us as to that strategy.

    • one possiblity

      You seem to assume that “be the lead story” should be a priority for him, but the fact that he went ahead and announced it today suggests that perhaps he does not hold that view. So why do you think it should’ve been his priority to make this announcement a lead story? I personally don’t see why.

    • On the timing

      My sense is that he wants to start raising money for a federal account. Whether Markey wins or loses, he can do that. While announcing in the midst of the storm completely silences the local effect, it might get carried through relevant fundraising circles, which is the only non-Markey race that matters until Markey actually vacates his seat. With this announcement he could start getting that Victory Fund seed money to be read. For that reason, this is probably a rare example of a candidate forming an exploratory committee without explicitly saying so since there is, in fact, no race for Sciortino to run in other than the regularly scheduled 2014 races.

      To be fair, it appears that Will Brownsberger is doing the exact same thing (h/t David Bernstein). Bernstein tweeted out what appears to be Brownsberger’s website for the Mass 5th.

  6. Oh boy

    Good thing I don’t live in the 5th, Will was my State Senator and Rep before that and has an amazing record. I was expecting him to focus on a statewide race but maybe he hopes to at least get his name out. For what it’s worth Sciortinos district covers more of the 5th, though Will’s used to cover a decent chunk of it.

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Thu 27 Apr 7:06 AM