The Massachusetts Democratic State Committee will be meeting next week to decide what actions to take regarding the State Nominating Convention scheduled to convene in Lowell’s Tsongas Center in late May. Given the current worsening medical crisis, it stands to reason that the convention should and will be canceled. Democratic leaders will not draw thousands of people together for no compelling reason.
If common sense prevails, the Democratic State Committee will also vote to temporarily scrap its 15% rule requiring a vote of all convention delegates to determine Democratic Primary election candidates. DSC members can vote to give State Chair Gus Bickford the authority to cancel the convention and to approve any candidate that fulfills all state and federal submission requirements to be on the MA Democratic Primary ballot.
The nominating convention does NOT choose the Democratic Party’s standard bearer for US Senate. The convention only determines which candidates can cross a 15% threshold of delegate support to get on the Primary ballot. Democrats who vote in. the September Primary decide with their votes which candidate will face a Republican challenger in November.
Candidates for US Senate must fulfill all of the Federal and State filing regulations and required certified signature submissions to get on the ballot. There is no doubt that both Ed Markey and Joseph Kennedy will certainly comply and qualify for the ballot placement. All Democratic voters across the state will decide the outcome of that election.
The State Committee is trying to figure out a way to cancel the convention but keep the nomination process going via mail-in balloting by convention delegates. About 2/3rds of the convention delegates were already elected. The caucuses for the other 1/3 were canceled/ postponed. So remaining caucuses would have to be conducted by a multi-step mail-in process. THEN an all-delegate nominating mail-in vote system must be implemented. What’s a quorum? Who counts the ballots? Are elected delegates and alternates still being charged $75 convention registration fee when all they will be doing is sending in a vote? Will the registration fees be returned? (They should.)
Seems like a needless and convoluted process to undertake when a simple vote next week by State Committee members to cancel the convention and temporarily scrap the 15% rule for this election season makes every kind of sense. We can count on all Democratic Primary voters to make their decision in September as they always do.
In these anxious times, people would rather use their resources and energy to help their families and communities make it through this terrible covid-19 health crisis.