(Cross-posted from Blue News Tribune.)
The race for mayor is over. It ended yesterday.
There was a narrow window for Sam Yoon or Michael Flaherty to create buzz and emerge as the challenger to Menino. In 2006, a poll swung 27 points between August and September, all 27 points going to Deval Patrick. At the time, I didn’t think that was possible, but it held up through the primary results.
It is not yet August, of course, so I could be wrong, and I’d be happy to be. But in 2006 the governorship was open. With Baker’s announcement, and Cahill’s, we have, in effect, two primary races (Deval faces no Democratic opposition [yet], but can Cahill pull people away?). The Globe doesn’t really care who wins the mayor’s race; with its depleted resources, it would probably just as well keep dealing with Menino and his people. The Herald, which can probably still make hay within Boston city limits, does not seem to have picked a horse. (And sorry, Kevin McCrae, but I don’t see you gaining traction.)
In short, the governor’s race means little air in the room to be had, and the Globe and Herald are breathing through inhalers.
So, in my arrogant opinion, the options for Yoon and Flaherty are:
1. Keep campaigning in their inoffensive way, pointing out differences with Menino, and hope to emerge as the logical successor.
2. Ratchet up the negativity. Be aware that you may be “pulling an Edwards,” going after Hillary Clinton and allowing Obama to be the sunny alternative.
3. Have a meeting that results in one dropping out and supporting the other.
Here’s the risk of option three: the one who keeps running still loses. The other has the high ground of “doing the right thing” and can leverage that (and his clean slate) in 2013.
All of which adds up to the Nash equilibrium we have now.
Unless one of you wants to surprise us.