One Step Closer To 60
Yesterday the Massachusetts House passed a bill that would allow Deval Patrick to appoint a temporary successor for Ted Kennedy until the outcome of a special election in January. The bill now moves to the State Senate, where Democrats have an enormous advantage as well. Republicans could hold up the bill through some procedural maneuvers, but they cannot stop it. The expectation would be that final passage could happen by the middle of next week. This would obviously be a huge boost to Democrats to have a consistent voting partner and a 60-vote majority in the Senate once again.
Regardless of the appointment process, there will be a special election, with a primary in December and a general election in January. With some of the big names on the Republican side begging off the race, the winner of the Democratic primary is highly likely to win the general. Right now the field on the Democratic side includes Attorney General Martha Coakley, Rep. Michael Capuano, and co-owner of the Celtics Stephen Pagliuca. Coakley, a statewide officer, has higher name recognition and thus a big lead. But Capuano is a pretty strong progressive.
By contrast, her main rival, MA-8 congressman Mike Capuano, has a ten year record on national issues. Basically it’s a record of being really, really liberal. He’s member 18.5 in the 111th House, he was 30.5 in the 110th House, 40.5 in the 109th, 10 in the 108th, and 8 in the 107th—firmly on the left side of the Democratic caucus. He’s the former mayor of Somerville, a dense walkable urban area, who likes to talk about mass transit, he’s pushing from the left on Afghanistan and Iraq, he favors single payer health care but says he won’t “let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
Capuano, recognizing that he needs to introduce himself to voters outside his district, has already put up an ad on statewide TV, and it's striking how hard he pushes his progressive credentials.
A Senator from Massachusetts needs to be as far to the left as possible - there aren't many states out there as blue, if any. Capuano looks pretty good to me; Coakley may be great, but she needs to reveal herself on the issues she hasn't faced as Attorney General.