Well, this was pretty much inevitable: MassDems chair Gus Bickford is asking the state committee to agree that there will be no Massachusetts Democratic Convention this year; to continue with it would be unsafe and logistically nonsensical.
However, in spite of the cancellation of many town caucuses to determine delegates to the state convention, the shape of the results was already quite clear. The Kennedy campaign has conceded the party’s official endorsement to Ed Markey. Ed was ahead in the delegate count by some 70-30%.
(Nb.: For those not steeped in the mysterious inner workings of Massachusetts party politics: This does not mean that Markey has won the nomination. The primary — where you actually get to vote — is still scheduled for September 1.)
Now, the MassDems cancelled the remaining caucuses on March 10, so it’s a decidedly qualified victory. Nonetheless, up to that date we saw great organizational strength and enthusiasm for Ed’s campaign: In Arlington, I was not at all surprised that he won, even overwhelmingly; but I was surprised that he pitched a 37-0 shutout, defeating even some locally well-known and well-liked delegate candidates. This was against a candidate with the biggest name in the history of Massachusetts politics.
As far as we know, Markey is still a little behind in the polls. And the shape of campaigning over the next few months is a mystery: How much personal contact will we have with each other? We’ll be phone-banking, text-banking, and friend-banking (I did some on Sunday afternoon — fun and effective); but how effective is that in widening one’s appeal? Will old-fashioned paid media and name recognition mean that much more? Or less? Will clever social media approaches translate into votes?
An even bigger question: How did Markey and Kennedy, respectively, show leadership in this crisis? This is where experience, and knowing things, actually matters: Who has been present, informed, resourceful, and relentless — constantly applying pressure to this administration, by showing the resources available? Who was one of the first calling for the invoking of the Defense Production Act? Who has called a “Manhattan Project to fight the virus” along with MGH head Peter Slavin? Who has called for rental assistance, and a suspension of mortgage payments and evictions? Who has advocated for gig workers? To be fair, Kennedy has been visibly contributing, too, calling for cancellation of student loans and greater cash assistance than what ended up in the stimulus bill. But this is really a place where you want a knowledgeable heavyweight legislator, who knows the levers of power. That’s Ed.
Press statement from Markey campaign chief (and friend of the blog) John Walsh, below the fold:
Statement from Ed Markey’s Campaign Manager John Walsh on Democratic Party’s Convention Decision
“The health and safety of the people of Massachusetts is the top priority for Ed Markey.
“Both candidates fought hard and contested the caucuses. The vast majority of the local selections were completed, and when the votes were counted before this decision, Ed Markey won the prized endorsement of the grassroots convention and the Democratic Party by winning over 70 percent of the delegates elected at the caucuses that were held across the state.
“Our campaign saw incredible turnout by voters who came to caucus for Ed Markey because they know he is a true progressive champion who fights for the people of the Commonwealth. Ed Markey leads and delivers on the full range of issues that matter, including helping voters support themselves, their families and their livelihoods during this crisis while not losing sight of long-term issues, including protecting health care for all, attacking climate change and pushing for a cure to Alzheimer’s by 2025.
“We continue to build and grow our grassroots campaign friend-to-friend and neighbor-to-neighbor when we can’t do it face-to-face.”