• Adam Bass

Bass Talks Mass: June 26th 2020

Welcome to “Bass talks Mass” — a new weekly series by Wheaton College Radio’s political correspondent, Adam Bass. Here, we dive into all the Massachusetts election news that has taken place over the past week and highlight the standout stories of Bay State politics.

With that being said; let’s talk Mass.

1: On June 25th, a column in the Boston Herald written by Joe Battenfeld discussed a possible situation where the incumbent in the Massachusetts Senate race, Ed Markey, is facing an uphill battle against fellow Democrat, Representative Joe Kennedy III. Two anonymous sources in the article detail two internal polls showing Kennedy leading Markey in Massachusetts 4th, Kennedy’s home district, and Massachusetts 1st, home district of Congressman Richard Neal. It should be noted that these polls have not been released to the public eye, and that both campaigns have not acknowledged these polls as of yet, so skepticism is understandably warranted. That said, if these polls are in fact true, it would go without saying that Markey is in trouble. There is a sound argument for Markey not doing as well as Kennedy in the 4th district, as that is the congressman’s home turf, but the idea of Markey trailing in MA01 is quite startling. The first district of the Commonwealth contains all of Berkshire and Hampden County with parts of Franklin, Hampshire, and Worcester County as well. The district contains 71.19% White residents and 59.7% who’s jobs are “White Collar,” both demographics which are favorable to Markey, so one would assume that he would have a moderate advantage in this area. That said, this district is also the home of Springfield, a city that is home to a minority base of voters, a group that has been strong for Kennedy, so there is an argument that Kennedy can do well in the first district. Again, these polls are internals and should be taken with caution, but if the report by Mr. Battenfeld is true, Markey needs to act quickly in his re-election efforts.

2. Speaking of the 1st district, Alex Morse, the Holyoke Mayor who is challenging Richard Neal’s re-election bid in a primary has received new attention. Morse, a vocal progressive candidate has recently been endorsed by Jamaal Brown, who is poised to unseat Representative Elliot Engel of New York’s 16th district. With this upset of a longtime congressman gaining national attention, it is reasonable for many progressive voters becoming more excited for these candidates. Of course, it should be noted that no public polling has come out for this race, and Morse is very behind Neal in terms of fundraising, so it is hard to gauge where this primary race is at right now. In a twitter video, Bowman expressed a strong support for Morse, saying that “ He don’t stop, he won’t stop, he puts the people first.”

3. In the hotly contested Massachusetts 4th Democratic primary, Newton City Councilwoman Becky Grossman and former Brookline Select Board Member Jesse Mermell received two big endorsements this week. Grossman earned the endorsement of The Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts Union, a group with 12,000 members strong and influential in the blue collar areas of Massachusetts. The group also endorsed Joe Kennedy III for senate. The President of the Union, Rich MacKinnon says that, “The PFFM appreciates Becky’s ambition and drive, and we look forward to her continued leadership on firefighter and labor issues.” Mermell meanwhile received endorsements from several select board members of multiple Massachusetts towns such as Dighton and Hopkinton, as well as State Senator Julian Cyr of the Cape and Islands. In a statement Cyr states that, “Jesse will stand up to the relentless hate coming out of Donald Trump’s White House.”

4: Mermell this week also released her plan for a recovery response for the COVID-19 pandemic, which would call for a fully operational response team, providing frontline workers with the proper PPE, and giving them the ability to be the leading voices in regards to the pandemic. But Mermell was not the only candidate to release plans this week. CityYear CEO Alan Khazei released his plan for a a “Truth, Reconcile and Reconciliation Commission”, tech entrepreneur Chris Zannetos released his “New Collar Jobs” plan, and former Obama Administration speech writer Dave Cavell proposed three different plans as of Friday, ranging from Climate Change to universal Pre-K. It is clear that in order to gain attention in this race, candidates will need to release as much policy as they can in these last 2 months.

5: Finally, me and my co-hosts of the Massachusetts Political Podcast, “The Cod Cabin” sat down with Newton City Council member Jake Auchincloss to discuss policy and recent issues in the Massachusetts 4th congressional district race. Auchincloss discussed his plan to increase science manufacturing, stating support for “small molecule manufacturing” in the southern area of the district, believing that it can provide good paying jobs. When pressed on the report about the decision to not cut police spending by a larger amount, Auchincloss pushed back on these claims, stating a need for a police oversight commission and more accountability in the police. The interview can be found on Spotify and Soundcloud.

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