Deval Patrick Creeping Closer in MA Governor Primary

From Swing State Project, which has become a must-read for me:

Independent primary polls seem to be all too rare. Fortunately, Suffolk University has given us one for the Dems running for MA-Gov (registered voters, no trendlines):

Tom Reilly: 39<
Deval Patrick: 30
Undecided: 31
(MoE: ±4.9%)

Suffolks says that Reilly once had a forty-point lead, but that was a year ago, so I'm not including that as a trendline. Both men beat the likely GOP candidate, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, though Reilly's margin is quite a bit bigger. He wins 47-32, while Patrick wins 39-32.

However, Reilly has much higher name recognition (35-33 favorability, and an additional 25% who've heard of him but have no opinion), while Patrick is at 19-11-33. In other words, only 8% of respondents said they've never heard of Reilly, while 38% said that about Patrick. If Patrick can close that name reco gap, then Reilly is probably in trouble - something which will no doubt delight many netroots activists.

I used to live in Massachusetts, and it always struck me a state full of liberal voters with a government full of conservatives.  It took the state Supreme Court, for instance, to weigh in on civil unions/gay marriage.  As I've come to understand political machinery, this makes more and more sense.  Right-wing Democrats like the pro-lifer Tom Finneran, who would be a Republican in any other state, succeed in what should be a progressive state because of a mix of superior grassroots organization and the rapacious demands of television politics.  The internet challenges this whole model, and allows progressives like Deval Patrick to create new sources of political power.  

This is a clear example of a machine candidate, Tom Reilly, against a progressive upstart.  One thing the right-wing did well is to create models for their America before asserting a claim to national leadership - Reagan governed California by crippling the state's revenue stream and Bush governed Texas by crippling everything else, and we are now living in their America.  Our failure as progressives has to do with our failure to imagine what our country should look like, and one of the reasons there's a push to get back to the states is because we need to actually govern progressively on a local level before we can do it on a national level.  That's why I'm excited about people like Eliot Spitzer, and why I worked for Jon Corzine.  It's also why I hope Obama goes back to Illinois as Governor someday.

However much I like those political figures, however, they succeeded not through new models of generating political force but by taming the old.  Spitzer for instance is a TV creature, and he doesn't need the internet.  This is not to take anything away from him, he's awesome, it's just that politicians tend to do what works for them, not what looks neat to a bunch of bloggers.

Deval Patrick is different.  He is the first real progressive running to be a Governor of an important, rich, Blue State state using the organizational model the internet makes possible. This means that if he wins, he will see the world the way that we see it, as a political chessboard with many dimensions and many ways to communicate with the public aside from the traditional press, labor, and standard micro-issue group organized rallies.  And he will govern that way too.  We need to put candidates in office who see the world our way, and that means that they won because of what we were able to do for them.  That's why Ciro Rodriguez is so important; as a Congressman elected by the internet he will get that we are an ideologically coherent group that can bring something to the table.  Ultimately though it's people like Deval Patrick that are the key players here, because they will have the greatest impact on voters' lives and they will show that progressive governance delivers good things to the American people.  And we can't forget that this is what it's all about.

Tags: Barack Obama, Blogosphere, Ciro Rodriguez, Deval Patrick, Eliot Spitzer, Internet, Jon Corzine (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

Re: Deval Patrick

He sounds like a quality candidate, and from what I know of him he seems like a decent guy. Do you think this can be another netroots vs. establishment battle (There is Hackett v. Brown, Tester v. Morrison, and Rodriquez v. Cuellar)?The problem is we do not seem to be winning any of these fights (at this point). We have to do something, as progressives, through the blogosphere, that will legitimize our cause.

by PatMN 2006-02-07 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Deval Patrick
Careful putting Sherrod Brown in with Henry Cuellar.
It's fine if you don't like him, but he's got one of the most progressive voting records in the entire house.
by adamterando 2006-02-07 01:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Deval Patrick

The comparisons were based on establishment vs. netroots candidates. Nothing else. I would never compared Sherrod Brown with Henry Cuellar.

by PatMN 2006-02-07 05:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Deval Patrick Creeping Closer in MA Governor P

I follow Mass politics from time to time, and I don't know who to support yet, but so far I'm having a hard time seeing Patrick as being extremely progressive. The same goes for Reilly.

So Patrick supports the minimum wage. Boy that's hard. Patrick supports "...affordable quality healthcare program for every resident.".

pretty vague. You know what would be affordable? How about guaranteeing universal health care for every Mass resident.

What really irks me is that there is one thing that could really jump start Mass's economy, help it invest in technology and universities, and provide the revenue for housing and health care, and it's progressive: a truly progressive income tax. MA still has a flat income tax of 5.5%. The voters mandated that the legislature reduce the rate to 5%. So how about Patrick proposes to lower the average rate to 4% but divvy it up into 4 or 5 or 6 brackets so that the majority of the people are getting a big tax cut, while those making a lot of money in this very rich liberal state, pay their fair share.

Is Deval Patrick progressive enough to propose something so.....progressive?

by adamterando 2006-02-07 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Deval Patrick Creeping Closer in MA Governor P

Just for the record, Patrick supports the Health Care for All plan (www.hcfama.org), which has a ton of union and religious support.  It'd be pretty difficult and risky to oppose a strongly progressive plan (which expands MassHealth coverage and imposes a Fair Share tax, among other things) that has a lot of organized backing, in order to come up with your own counterproposal.

by DanM 2006-02-07 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Deval Patrick Creeping Closer in MA Governor P

There is one aspect of this not mentioned - Kerry Healey has a ton, TON of money.  I see Deval at this point going the same way as Shannon O'Brien four years ago.  The traditional democrats will back off completely if Reilly doesn't get it.  And if they back off, the independents (I'm independent) will be the deciders, and they are very susceptible to ad definition, which Kerry Healey will have the money for and Patrick will not because he's turned off the traditional Dems who have the money.  Two things I question is that Patrick is such a netroots candidate.  And that the legislature is so Conservative.  Living here my whole life, i don't see anything for Patrick online and the legislature did eventually kill referenda on S-S marriage and they may do it again.  But for taking care of the less fortunate, very broadly construed, the legislature is very liberal.  Indeed even while the legislature is very fiscally cautious.

by Andre 2006-02-07 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Deval Patrick Creeping Closer in MA Governor P

Patrick has raised a lot of $$ online.  He's not exclusively netroots, of course.

by Matt Stoller 2006-02-07 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Deval Patrick Creeping Closer in MA Governor P

The Massachusetts legislature is substantially less progressive than it could, or should, be given the demographics of this state, but much more liberal than your average "red" state.  The biggest roadblock to real progressive change in Massachusetts, and the real dividing line, is the division between solidly entrenched hack incumbents and those more willing to buck the special interests(except for 2004, when Romney funded challengers throughout the state, Massachusetts has had the lowest or next lowest number of challengers to incumbents of any state).  Finneran, a DINO if there ever was one, was the king of the hack incumbents.  Reilly seems to have aligned himself with that faction of the party (even starting to sound like Lieberman, running against his own party), Deval with the insurgent/progressives.  It's what someone said -- there's an inside-the-beltway in every state, even Massachusetts.

by Jimbob Kinnikin 2006-02-07 03:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Deval Patrick Creeping Closer in MA Governor P

Yes, there's that, and the constant barrage of Republican Governors.

by Matt Stoller 2006-02-07 04:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Deval Patrick

I've posted a few diaries on this race at my MYDD homepage.  Note that Matt did not say that netroots money was going to make the difference for Patrick -- he said that the model of campaigning made possible by the netroots could make the difference.  Patrick has raised a couple of million so far, and says he's putting it all into campaign organization rather than saving it for a TV campaign at the end.

I think the key to the general election will be which candidate can seem least like a politician, because the mass of the electorate hate politicians*.  Since the mass of the electorate are also shockingly uninformed, ideological positions shouldn't matter so much.  If I'm right, this is not good for Reilly's "run away from the liberal base" strategy.  If Patrick can convey the same straight-talking persona in a mass campaign that has impressed so many people in small appearances, he can win.

The pols seem to have been impressed by Patrick's caucus organization, although the caucus win itself was relatively meaningless.  There were ten or twenty people at the Amherst caucus actively campaigning for Patrick, for example.   We could see a door-to-door operation on a scale not seen in decades.  And if it works, it would provide a real model for grassroots and netroots campaigns elsewhere.

*in the post-Dukakis era:

  1. Neither Weld nor Silber are like pols but the people vote for Weld because Silber appears to be a lunatic
  2. The non-pol Weld wins
  3. Cellucci is a pol, but he wins because the Dems nominate the reincarnation of Dukakis in the form of Harshbarger
  4. Romney, the businessman who may be from Utah but is certainly not from Beacon Hill, beats the pol O'Brien

My optimistic fancy is that being black will actually help Patrick because it will emphasize that he's not part of the Beacon Hill establishment...

by DaveMB 2006-02-07 06:28PM | 0 recs
MA Governor Primary

As a Patrick town level coordinator/precinct captain let me make something tremendously clear to all of you on the national stage here.  Deval Patrick is highly intelligent, charismatic and has recruited a diverse mix of characters for his campaign from white male college students to white haired female community activists to black muslim preachers to committed athiests like myself.  As the Democratic establishment it has weakened from a being tremendously powerful to becoming very weak giving the power to those who have creativity and lack fear.  

by strrbr 2006-02-07 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Deval Patrick Creeping Closer in MA Governor P

Something not mentioned here is that last week, Tom Reilly had basically the worst week ever.  After initially claiming he was not going to choose a running mate, he leaked that he was going to choose Chris Gabrielli, an extremely rich dude who ran with Shannon O'Brien against Willard Romney and Kerry Healey in 2002.

Except that on the day, he instead announced that his running mate was going to be Marie St. Fleur, a Haitian-born local Boston politician who many thought was a cynical response to Deval Patrick's ethnic roots.

Exactly 27 hours later -- possibly a new record -- Marie St. Fleur withdrew from the race after the Boston Globe revealed that she had some pretty serious tax liability issues.  Reilly's response to this black eye was the statement "I'm really not very good at politics."  At that moment, he lost forever any chance of being the governor of Massachusetts.  See, we LIKE for our politicians to be good at politics.

The delegate primary was this last weekend: Deval Patrick beat Tom Reilly by a margin of 2 to 1.  Reilly is toast.

Kerry Healey has buttloads of money, but she's the most inept politician in MA state politics since Jane Swift: the only time she's ever in the news is when she's said or done something incredibly stupid.  She's also roughly as warm and likeable as Leona Helmsley.  

Deval Patrick is going to be the next governor of Massachusetts, and will be seen by the mainstream press as the next Barack Obama.

by BarmyFotheringayPhipps 2006-02-07 09:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Deval Patrick Creeping Closer in MA Governor P

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by nekanelop 2007-04-07 04:37AM | 0 recs

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