So who really won, and who really lost, in the last election cycle? Here is my take, with no locals (for now).
Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair John Walsh. Republicans bemoan a statistical disadvantage in Massachusetts, but that has not stopped them from winning major elections in the past in the Bay State. John Walsh has brought a tremendous ability to mobilize and turnout Democrats to the benefit of ALL candidates running under the Democratic banner in this state. He deserves great credit for out-organizing, out-working, and out-smarting his counterpart at the Massachusetts Republican Party.
Organized Labor. From the depths of Wisconsin organized labor has fought back, and has to be considered a major reason for Democratic victories, in Massachusetts and nationally. Their agenda will be near the top of the list. Look for more and larger public projects to be done on a PLA basis.
Doug Rubin. The consultant architect of the Elizabeth Warren victory, as well as of the Governor Patrick victory, Rubin continues to sit in the cat bird’s seat in Boston. Look for him to just keep making money.
Governor Deval Patrick.With the problems of the past few months some have speculated that the Governor may have become tarnished. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Governor was a top surrogate for his friend, President Barack Obama, and may be the leading candidate for Attorney General of the United States if and when Eric Holder leaves.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Chair Patty Murray. Barack Obama was not the only winner on Tuesday. Democrats held and widened their Senate majority despite starting this season as the Party with more seats to defend, and after a rough 2010 mid-term. Patty Murray was the QB of the effort, and will have plenty of grateful Senators, including more women, that will be in her debt.
David Axelrod and David Plouffe. They have been listening to folks denigrate their voter modeling for months. Who is laughing now? They deployed 21st Century tactics to turn back a 20th century campaign. Mitt Romney is the management consultant, but he did not have the best management team in the field. Barack Obama did. These guys are the gold standard in political modeling. Axelrod just took Joe Scarborough over the hurdles with his mustache bet, as Scarborough bit for the “fools gold” of MI and PA.
Mayor Tom Menino. My last entry. Menino held his endorsement back, and unleashed it at the right time, providing his turnout machine to the Warren campaign, helping to bring a big victory in Boston for Elizabeth Warren. Mayor Menino still means a lot in Massachusetts politics, and he proved it yet again. Mayor for Life if he chooses to be.
Former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. Raybo was on the wrong side of the Brown-Warren fight, and delivered nothing in Boston. His endorsement of Brown may have galvanized a hesitant Tom Menino into the Warren endorsement. Ray was at the end of the road anyway, but his brand is effectively shot.
Republican Senate Campaign Chair John Cornyn. Went into the cycle with a big edge, and managed to squander opportunity. Republican primary voters bear plenty of responsibility, and have given away five Senate seats in the last two cycles, but Cornyn is at the top and must take the hit. Not getting nut job Tod Akin out of the race in Missouri, and effectively allowing Claire McCaskill to pick her own opponent in that state showed that Cornyn was badly out-maneuvered.
Mary Ellen Manning. The soon to be ex Governor’s Councilor not only came out for the Republican candidate in the race to succeed her, but endorsed the entire Republican ticket after running as a Democrat in the primary to replace Senator Fred Berry. Her endorsements included Richard Tisei. They all lost.
Eric Fehrnstrom. Fehrnstrom had a large hand in both the Scott Brown campaign, and the Mitt Romney campaign. Neither ended well. Major Romney contributors are up in arms over the private “briefings” that the campaign arranged that showed Romney as on his way to victory. Some pretty important and powerful people are pretty pissed off right now. Fehrnstrom is at the bottom of that hill.
Karl Rove. Rove had a bad night, and his on air meltdown on Fox after Ohio was called for the President certainly did nothing to improve the tarnish of his incorrect voter modeling, and his incorrect predictions of Romney victory based on his faulty models. You could add Dick Morris here, but he is too insignificant to warrant anything but honorable mention. Rove has lost a lot off his fastball, and may begin to lose the confidence of some of the Republican donor class as a result. His wasting millions of their dollars in Maine against Angus King is but one example of Rove squandering resources in a way that cannot make those donors happy.
Independent Candidates for Office. I agree that all have a right to run for office, and choice is a good thing for voters. But the delusional idea that in major races independents have any shot at actually winning has always been ridiculous. Before you begin pointing to successful independent candidacies please spare me. Most, if not all, were tactical decisions that were based on PARTY considerations. When Joe Moakley ran as an independent everyone knew he was a Democrat trying to get around a party problem. Yes Angus King won as a true independent in Maine, but the Democrats, in a tactical decision, laid down their arms for a FORMER GOVERNOR. Independent candidacies, if the goal is spoiling, sure do meet that criteria. If it is a desire to win then you have to question their sanity.
A Merrimack Valley winners and losers list? Yup, that is coming soon.