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Gaffney is Leaving Worcester Politics

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Councilman Michael Gaffney

Michael Gaffney, the once Mayoral candidate and conservative member of the Worcester City Council, has announced he is leaving Worcester politics. He had previously announced he would not run for Mayor this cycle. Now. it looks like the Gaffney era is over.


This morning, we received very good news concerning an opportunity that we intend to pursue. It has been years in the making and we are so happy at our good fortune, but our celebration is dampened as we will no longer have the time needed to devote to city council.

Our new endeavors will result in significant time away from the area and will not allow us to focus on the demands of city council. Therefore, we have made the decision to withdraw from our respective campaigns. It is our understanding that our names will remain on the ballot, but as we cannot fulfill the obligations of the office it would not be prudent to cast a vote for either of us.

We have appreciated the support we have received from so many. As the second highest vote-getter last cycle, we’ve enjoyed the overwhelming support of the good people of Worcester. Every campaign that we have helped manage has been successful. In just four years, we have really shaped the politics in Worcester and Worcester County.

As to our future endeavors, we’d love to disclose. Unfortunately, the local hate groups and media make it unwise for us to reveal our plans.

We thank you very much!

Michael and Coreen Gaffney


Related Slideshow: 10 Issues That Will Separate Gaffney and Petty in Worcester’s Mayoral Election

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#10 Transparency

As part of his political platform, Gaffney is pushing for transparency at all levels in the city's government.

In the past few weeks alone, Gaffney has requested an audit of Mosaic Cultural Complex, an organization that calls itself a nonprofit, but is a business and who runs their company out of a building owned by the City - the same building that the Kelley Square protesters organized in back in January.

Gaffney's request for an audit read: "Request an audit of the grants and other monies received by the Mosaic Cultural Complex and all documentation relative to the services the Mosaic Cultural Complex provides, to include, but not limited to documentation of the services that are supposed to be provided pursuant to the grant from the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund for the past five years. Said audit to include a review of the Mosaic Cultural Complex’s legal status as a non-profit or otherwise. And said documentation to include the lease information for the city property being occupied by the Mosaic Cultural Complex."

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#9 Social Media

In this year's elections, and in every election that follows, social media will play an active role in promoting candidates and issues.

In Worcester's mayoral election, Gaffney's new mayoral Facebook page already has more "likes" than Mayor Petty's.


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#8 Visibility

Both Petty and Gaffney have been actively hosting stand-outs all over the city.

In the next two weeks, Petty has four standouts scheduled

Gaffney continues to do stand-outs during the mornings and he and his wife, Coreen, have been going door-to-door for the past few weeks now.

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#7 Race Relations

Monday night marked the closing of Worcester's Community Race Discussions. Mayor Joe Petty spoke at length regarding the work that still needs to be done to improve relationships between all races in the city.

Addressing the needs of Worcester's minority groups has been a strong suit of Petty and it has earned him solid support from said groups.

Gaffney will need to address how he will improve these relations within in the city if he wants to defeat Petty in this race.

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#6 Congressman Jim McGovern

As reported on previously, Gaffney and Petty have both accepted substantial campaign contributions from outside the city.

Dr. David Schaeffer, Political Science professor at the College of the Holy Cross, believes the candidates are gearing up with large war chests with an eye on a larger elected position.

"The likeliest reason for it is a report that (Congressman) Jim McGovern, who has close ties with Petty, is worried about Gaffney's candidacy for mayor. Gaffney, unusual for a Worcester city council member, is not a registered Democrat, and hence, in McGovern's eyes, a potential threat to his control over the City and his Congressional seat," said Dr.Schaeffer.

Schaeffer notes that although McGovern has been running unopposed and winning re-election, the number of Republican or Independent voters outside of Worcester, but within the district, has been increasing. 

"Whether or not Gaffney himself would choose, if elected mayor, to challenge McGovern for the seat by running as a Republican, even McGovern's loss of direct influence over the mayoral office might signal a weakening of his power and an invitation for a serious Republican candidate like Lew Evangelidis to run against him," said Schaeffer. "For this reason, I can well understand McGovern's wanting to help Petty raise more money from outside the city, as well as Gaffney's doing so, either seeing it as essential to mounting a serious challenge to the McGovern machine or as a defense against Petty's outside funding."

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#5 School Safety

On Gaffney's campaign site, he writes "Safety begins in our schools. When teachers, students, and vice principals are physically attacked on multiple occasions and the School Committee along with the Mayor as the Chair thereof refused to take action, I demanded that the police be placed in our high schools. The next day, an unplanned emergency meeting was held and the police were placed in our high schools."

Gaffney continued, "While the School Committee and Mayor continued to chant "the schools are safe" after a high school student brought a hand gun to school with the stated intention of shooting a police officer, I along with others, called for further safety protocols."

Petty has been a strong supporter of Superintendent Melinda Boone and has routinely been against a police presence in Worcester's schools. 

It will be interesting to watch the steps to ensure safety taken by Petty and the School Committee when school opens in August.

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#4 Police Force

Following this month's rise in shootings across the city, Petty, along with City Manager Ed Augustus released a statement regarding what the city's plans were to attempt to put an end to gang activity in Worcester.

According to the statement, Petty and Augustus are "gravely concerned" about the shootings and the city "continues to be affected by unacceptable levels of gun violence."

In response to the shootings, Gaffney requested emergency funding to help WPD's efforts. Gaffney's request read: "Due to the continuing violence that appears to be escalading from last year’s high number of shootings in our city, request an oral report from the City Manager and/or Chief of Police on the plan to combat this increasing public safety issue. Further, request that City Council authorize any emergency funds needed be immediately transferred to battle the threat. Such funds to be used as deemed necessary by law enforcement and to include the authorization of additional resources or personnel required to fulfill the mission to restore public safety."

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#3 Experience

Petty will be attempting to secure his third term as Mayor of Worcester. Petty is also in the midst of his ninth term as City Councilor At-Large.

Gaffney is serving his first term as a City Councilor At-Large. 

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#2 Political Party Support

Gaffney, who is not enrolled in a political party, is being supported by several individuals who have backed Republican candidates across Massachusetts - including Carl Copeland, Mass Fiscal Alliance’s Political Director and Senator Ryan Fattman’s campaign manager.

Other members of Mass Fiscal Alliance including Executive Director Paul Craney and former finance committee chairman John Esler, and Republican State Committee Chair Member Chanel Prunier have also supported Gaffney.

Gaffney announced his candidacy for mayor back in February. He kicked off his campaign in March with an event at O’Connor’s Restaurant in Worcester. The event was hosted by State Representative Kate Campanale and Fattman's wife, Worcester County Register of Probate Stephanie Fattman - both of whom were backed by the same group of people in last year's election.

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#1 Money

As of July 4, 2015, Petty had twice as much campaign money as Gaffney. According to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Petty has nearly $10,000 (down from $20,000 on June 18) in campaign cash, while Gaffney has $4,357.

With all of the above issues playing a factor in fundraising, and with Petty's previous experience in fundraising, Gaffney has his work cut out for him to catch Petty's campaign contributions.


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