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Common Wealth: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Mass Politics?

Friday, February 15, 2013


Every Friday, GoLocalWorcester takes a look at who's rising and falling in the Massachusetts political world.


Ed Markey: The progressive congressman scored two big endorsements this week from the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) and the National Education Association (NEA). The MTA is the largest union in the state, with 110,000 members, and is the state affiliate of the NEA, which boasts 3 million members nationally. With U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch widely seen as the union candidate, the nod from the Bay State's teachers will likely prove valuable for Markey as the primary contest heats up.

Gabriel Gomez: The Cohasset businessman and former Navy SEAL was the first to jump in the ring this week after state Rep. Dan Winslow for the Republican nod in the special U.S. Senate election. Gomez is a fresh face in the MassGOP, and his newcomer status on the political scene could help him as much as it could hurt him. As the son of Colombian immigrants, Gomez has the potential to help broaden the party's base, and his entrance into the Senate race means a contested Republican primary, which may yet encourage more candidates to jump in.

Chris Rich: Another political newcomer is stepping up on the local level. Worcester native Chris Rich is challenging City Councilor Tony Economou for his District 1 seat. A fresh face and a new perspective would be an always-welcome addition to City Hall, but Economou is relatively new himself. Hopefully some additional candidates will emerge for some of the other seats in the Council chamber if for no other reason than to refresh debate among the all-Democrat body.

Sean Bielat: The two-time Republican Congressional candidate in Massachusetts' 4th District filed papers to create the Sean Bielat for Senate committee with the Federal Election Commission this week, though he has yet to formally announce whether or not he will run. One former aide says no, his current treasurer says yes; it all may just be to see how the winds are blowing and how receptive voters would be to the former Marine who lost to Barney Frank in 2010 and Joseph Kennedy III in 2012.

Michael Sullivan: Three's company, four's a crowd. The former U.S. Attorney is said to be taking a very serious look at the Senate race as well, bumping the number of likely Republican candidates up to four after so recently being a zero. At this point, the GOP has proven they can field candidates, but the question remains as to whether those candidates can be competitive against Markey or Lynch in the June election.


Dan Winslow: The former Romney aide and current GOP state Rep. from Norfolk said he would not sign on to the "People's Pledge" being pushed by his Democratic counterparts in the special U.S. Senate election to succeed John Kerry. Markey and Lynch signed the agreement, which expands upon the 2012 pledge of the Brown-Warren Senate race to include direct mail advertisements, on Wednesday. Observers have said outside money is the only way a Republican candidate will stand a chance in the special election, but the SuperPAC stigma it carries may do more harm than good.

Scott Brown: The former Republican Senator sounded a little bit sour on electoral politics in his first appearance at his new gig as Fox News contributor. But appearing on the conservative cable news network is likely to turn Bay State voters, who tend to like their Republicans moderate, sour on him as well. Unless he's being groomed for national office, a return to Massachusetts politics for Brown seems like it may be longer off than many had originally thought. In any case, appearing regularly alongside Sean Hannity and other Fox pundits is going to provide plenty of fodder for negative campaign advertising if and when he does decided to enter the political arena again.

Gary Gemme: Worcester's chief of police is none too popular with the gun-toting crowd. Last week, with support from the NRA, the gun rights group Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A) and six Mass. residents filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of restrictions placed on the Licenses to Carry issued by Gemme and his counterparts in the towns of Weymouth, Danvers and Peabody. In the suit, the plaintiffs allege that they were were denied their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms because the police chiefs imposed unreasonable and unlawful licensing restrictions on them. Gemme's firearm license policies have earned him a lot of praise in other corners of the city and state.

Medical Marijuana Restrictions: The Department of Public Health held the first two of three "listening sessions," including one in Worcester, to collect public input before the drafting of regulations for the implementation of the state's new medical marijuana law. Several individuals, including local officials, called for the ability of municipalities to impose additional or stricter regulations on the local level. Still others called for restrictions on the eligible conditions for medical marijuana. If the DPH decides to pursue either measure in its regulations, it may risk straying too far from the law that voters approved with over 60 percent of the vote last November.


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