City Councilor and Congressional Candidate Jake Auchinchloss begins his stump speech with an impassioned reminder about his calls the impeachment of Donald Trump from the floor of the Newton City Council. He did so at a Fourth Congressional District candidate forum that I chaired. There were smiles and nods all around from attendees.
Councilor Auchinchloss always leaves out an important part of the story–he voted ‘no’ on the actual impeachment resolution. He in fact joined the City Council’s lone Republican Jim Cote in opposition to the measure, which otherwise overwhelmingly passed the Newton City Council.
This is classic Jake Auchinchloss. Present as a progressive, obscure the truth.
Today, Councilor Auchincloss is responding to civil rights demonstrations with his own calls for racial justice. This Politico article highlights the cognitive dissonance. In 2016, Councilor Auchinchloss responded to a hate incident at Newton North High School by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the white students who displayed a racist symbol. Councilor Auchinchloss asked the full Newton City Council to protect the free speech rights of Confederate flag-waving white students by demanding that the Newton Public Schools let the hate incident go unpunished. The Councilor did not show empathy or support for the victims of the incident. His support of “free speech” in this case aligns directly with how right-wing groups use this concept as a cover for promoting white supremacy.
Democratic primary voters should know that Councilor Auchinchloss has done a great deal to help elect conservative Republicans to state offices across Massachusetts. He worked for the Massachusetts Republican Party and co-owned a Republican political consulting firm. As recently as fall, 2019, if given a do-over, he said he would still vote for Republican Charlie Baker over Democrat Martha Coakley for Massachusetts Governor. These facts are important for people to know in a crowded field of candidates who are reliable Democrats.
Councilor Auchinchloss has had a long affiliation with Congressman Seth Moulton. Democratic activists, particularly those who prioritize electing women to leadership positions in government, may recall Moulton’s attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Throughout Moulton’s campaign to unseat the nation’s most powerful woman and, I would argue, one of the most effective House Speakers in history, Auchincloss remained at Moulton’s side, even co-hosting a fundraiser for him in Newton as recently as last year.
There are many fantastic Democratic candidates for Congress in the Fourth Congressional District. I know most of them through my years as chair of the Newton Democratic Party, a position I stepped down from in April. One thing is certain for me – this district must be represented by someone Democrats can trust to be a leader on progressive issues that will define our future.
Shawn Fitzgibbons is a Democratic activist living in Newton, MA. He is the immediate past chairman of the Newton Democratic Party. Shawn served as chair for eight years and held other leadership roles since 2009 of the Newton Democratic City Committee.