What If They Had an Election and No (Republicans) Came

The list of Massachusetts GOP luminaries heading for the exits as potential candidates for U.S. Senate seems to grow by the hour. We had Scott Brown, batting lead-off, shocking the Party (but not me) by announcing he would not run. He was followed, in no particular order, by former Lt. Governor Kerry Healey, former Governor Bill Weld, former State Senator Richard Tisei, Tagg Romney, and Charlie Baker.

The Republicans taking a pass must be thinking of the risk vs reward equation, with the lack of a full six year term, and the prospect of victory, followed by defeat in a year, all factored into that consideration. I happen to agree with their political calculation. This is a race best suited for a Republican who sees the reward of victory as a huge upside to his or her career. The two names that seem to correspond to that are State Rep. Dan Winslow, and Gabriel Gomez. Winslow will announce this morning, with a run looking very likely.

The Democratic side, for a day or so, entertained the possibility of a three way race, with Middlesex District Attorney Gerald Leone briefly contemplating a run. But at this point it is still a two man race between Ed Markey and Steve Lynch. The handicap on this race still favors Markey, who starts with a financial advantage, and an institutional advantage over Lynch. I make Markey a 3 to 1 favorite for those going to Las Vegas. Let us see how Lynch does from an operational point of view, including the collection of 10,000 signatures state wide. I have not seen evidence of much organization by Lynch in the Merrimack Valley, a potentially fertile ground for him. But there is time, just not much time.

My final observation is that the Democrat would be a heavy favorite in the final, but a Lynch-Winslow final would likely feature Winslow trying to get to the left rail against Lynch on social issues, and making his best efforts to flank Lynch with some key Democratic constituencies. But that race is a long way off, with no guarantee that Lynch or Winslow will be in the final.

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