Local Winners and Losers

Elections always have some winners and losers that extend beyond the candidates themselves. I already posted about those bigger stage winners and losers. How about another run at it, with a more local flavor.

Winners:

Diana Fay DiZoglio. We have concentrated on more behind the scenes “winners and losers”, and we generally don’t include candidates on that basis. But DiZoglio got into the Democratic primary (14th Essex State Representative race) against long term incumbent David Torissi, and managed to run an underfunded campaign that relied heavily on door to door campaigning, and on the still golden DiZoglio name in Methuen. Geography played a big role in her victory, but she simply overwhelmed the incumbent with a street level campaign. While DiZoglio had a Republican opponent her real political challenge was in the primary. The re-districting process, which was thought to be favorable to Rep. Torissi when passed, turns out to have not been so advantageous for him.

The local Democratic Coordinated Campaign. I have already extolled the virtues of Democratic Chair John Walsh. The locals, who ran the coordinated campaign, turned out some big vote numbers, and did so in areas that have traditionally been difficult for some Democrats (Methuen, North Andover, Dracut) But they also ginned up some big numbers in Lawrence, where we have always seen a big Democratic registration edge. The elephant in this room? It is obviously the role, if any, of Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua in that City’s Democratic turnout operation. Local Republican operatives have tried for some time to taint that effort by associating it with Lantigua. The truth is that Lantigua, due to his political problems, was essentially shut out of the Democratic operation. That factoid has been assiduously avoided by Democratic operatives, who dodge the subject in the hopes of not insulting the Mayor. Obviously the Mayor still has a following, but his non-participation, to a large degree, has been a two way street. He has other matters of concern. The Rep. Marcos Devers operation, and the participation in the coordinated campaign of City Councilor Dan Rivera, were two of the factors that were of significant import in the Democratic operation in Lawrence. Both have had their issues with Mayor Lantigua.

Senator Elect Kathleen O’Connor Ives. I have tried to avoid discussion of this race, since I was involved as one of the unsuccessful Democratic candidates. But it is over now. Ives has some similarity to DiZoglio, in that she was considered to be a big underdog at the beginning of her run. She took the plunge anyway, and emerged victorious. But there are some notable differences as well. Ives, had she not been successful, was well positioned to be a major player in Newburyport politics, and a potential successor to Mayor Holaday. She placed herself, through clever political positioning, into a win-win situation. And she won.

Mayor James Fiorentini of Haverhill. Thrust into a difficult position in light of all of the Haverhill candidacies for State Senate the Mayor managed to balance a whole bunch of sharply divergent political interests banging on his door without appearing to alienate any. Despite some grumbling he is well positioned to win re-election next year.

Local Organized Labor. There are still some intractable financial issues, but organized labor, at the local level, is poised to do better than they have for a few years. Public sector unions will have a stronger voice in local government, and will look to make up ground lost during the worst of the downturn.

Independent Candidate for Senate Paul Magliocchetti. The Haverhill independent won the endorsement of the Boston Globe and the Eagle Tribune, and while not successful managed to get some positive attention paid to him and his campaign. Would have been a significantly stronger candidate if affiliated with the Democratic Party.

Losers:

Methuen City Councilor Jeanne Pappalardo: Pappalardo invested heavily in the Shaun Toohey campaign for State Senate, along with her husband, former Councilor Joseph Pappalardo. They brought along all the usual suspects in Methuen but got skunked pretty good.

Haverhill City Councilor Bill Ryan. Bill Ryan is Mr. Republican in Haverhill, and has shown a dynamic political resiliency, serving as Mayor and State Representative, and now Councilor. He was obviously invested heavily in son-in-law Shaun Toohey’s campaign for State Senate, and in daughter Maura Ciardello’s campaign for Governor’s Council. His influence and political acumen helped both, but both lost. Tough year to run as a Republican in Massachusetts.

Independent Candidate for State Senate Jim Kelcourse. Attorney Kelcourse is a smart and engaging City Councilor, who has a terrific resume. But he did not get any campaign traction, and underestimated what was needed to run a State Senate race. He got a good dose of reality on election day.

Ok, ok. I know I ran and lost. So finally:

Former Methuen Mayor Bill Manzi. Despite the imbecilic notion that I was the “heir apparent” in the race it was indeed winnable. When I study losing campaigns who are looking to assess blame I have always said that the candidate should always first go to a mirror. That is the case here.

And that is all (for now).

This entry was posted in Merrimack Valley Politics, Methuen and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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