Bass Talks Mass: July 17th 2020
Welcome back to "Bass Talks Mass" now on our new website! I am very pleased to get this operation finally up and running here on basstalksmass.com and I hope to share more Massachusetts Political and Election news with all of you this year and beyond.
So, with the formalities out of the way, let's talk Mass.
1: Last week, Congressman Joe Kennedy III visited Western Massachusetts to promote his new post COVID-19 plan. The western counties of the state have demographics that are more favorable to Senator Ed Markey, but with reports that the incumbent senator is trailing in these areas, Kennedy sees an opening to win over voters in this area. Now, Senator Markey is making a play in an area that is favorable to Kennedy, that being South Eastern Massachusetts. Many white and colored working class voters occupy this part of the state, in towns and cities such as New Bedford and Fall River, the latter being a part of Kennedy's district. Making such a move is logical, as if Markey wants to prevent any Kennedy victory, shoring up support from areas that are friendly to the congressman would prove beneficial.
2: Speaking of counties, the Ed Markey Team released a nifty gadget known as, "The Markey Map" today. This virtual map lets viewers select one of the fourteen counties in Massachusetts as well as a city or a town in said county. When prompted, the site will list what the Senator has done for said town or city and how he has helped the area's growth and/or people. Senator Markey has made his experience and his legacy the argument for why voters should choose him on September 1st, and with this tool, it helps amplify said argument by showing people directly what he has done for them personally.
3: Second Quarter numbers have been released for the Massachusetts 1st congressional district democratic primary between incumbent Richard Neal and challenger, Mayor Alex Morse. Neal, the chairman of the Ways and Means committee and current favorite to win, still has the advantage with cash on and and television ad spending, with him having $4.2 million and spending $300,000 respectively. Morse has $315,000 cash on hand and is starting ad spending on TV next Monday with a $30,000 buy. In terms of actual Q2 fundraising however, it is rather close, with Neal raising $337,000 to Morse's $332,000. The Neal camp noted that the Congressman did stop most fundraising activity due to the focus on COVID-19 relief, causing a significant drop in terms of money earned during the quarter.
4: In terms of fundraising in the Massachusetts 4th congressional district Democratic Primary, there is a bit of controversy regarding self funding campaigns. Ihssane Leckey, a wall street regulator and progressive candidate, has come under fire over the past week from several voters on twitter for putting in $800,000 into her campaign, despite her saying she had invested $650,000. The $800,000 makes up 84% of her entire Q2 fundraising. Many have criticized this move as being hypocritical to Leckey's message about being a campaign built by ordinary people. Rachel Craig, the former finance director of the Leckey campaign made clear of her feelings on social media, saying that this would be considered, "buying a seat" and that the candidate was using the progressive title as merely a tag. It should be noted that while candidates, Chris Zannetos, Becky Grossman, Natalia Linos, and Dave Cavell have self funded, Leckey, perhaps due to the large amount of money she put it, has received the most scrutiny.
5: In terms of other fundraising news in the 4th district, Newton City Councilman Jake Auchincloss currently leads in donations from within the district with $130,000 and still leads the pack with $1.17m cash on hand. Despite only raising around $288,000 in the quarter, Auchincloss still finds himself comfortably on top in terms of finance. In second place is CityYear co-founder Alan Khazei, with $1.15m cash on hand and has even bested Auchincloss in Q2 funding with a sum of around $540,000. It should be noted however that Khazei only comes in 5th in regards to in-district fundraising with $63,995, falling behind Chris Zannetos, Jesse Mermell, and Becky Grossman in that order.
6: On Wednesday, all nine candidates participated in a zoom forum with the Needham and Wellesley Democratic town committees, in which they got a chance to share their ideas and platforms to potential voters. Questions regarding foreign policy, environmental plans, and even universal basic income were asked to the candidates, with each giving different answers. Lawyer and activist Ben Sigel noted that despite UBI being needed for a pandemic, it lacks means testing. Alan Khazei said that while he supports UBI it needs to be higher than $1,000 dollars. In terms of climate change, former Brookline select board member Jesse Mermell promoted the South Coast Rail project for a healthy means of transport that could benefit the areas of Fall River and other south coast communities. Former Obama speech writer Dave Cavell even took a shot at Jake Auchincloss during the forum, noting his support for Governor Charlie Baker back in 2014, a rare thing to see in such an under reported race. The candidates will have two opportunities to debate each other in the last week of July on the 26th and 29th respectively.
7: Finally Newton City Councilwoman Becky Grossman sat down with me on WCCS Wheaton College Radio for an interview. Grossman, who has recently earned her 7th endorsement in the crucial area of Fall River, discussed that she believes that we need more mothers in congress, as they would understand what is best for children in America as well as the compassion that they are capable of. When pressed upon how she can relate to different mothers facing different problems, Grossman points out the need to understand the systemic oppression facing mothers and families, acknowledging, in her own words, the privilege that she has and that she will do the best to understand how other mothers face realities. She also came out in support for Joe Biden's new climate policy as well as support for the South Coast Rail project. The full interview can be found on the Bass Talks Mass Youtube page.