REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: An endorsement, and another Fifth Suffolk write-in campaign

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Oct. 7, 2010

Earlier this year, Althea Garrison did not have too many nice things to say about her Democratic primary opponents when she was running for Fifth Suffolk state representative. A frequent candidate for office, she labeled them “opportunists” and said they were “ego-tripping” as they jockeyed with her to succeed former state Rep. Marie St. Fleur.

Fast forward to now, with Carlos Henriquez having emerged as the winner of the primary and Barry Lawton mounting a write-in campaign for the Nov. 2 election after earlier falling short by 41 votes: Garrison says she’s endorsing Lawton.

Asked about her past comments about him, Garrison said she is supporting him “not only 100 percent, but 150 percent. When you’re running you might say certain things; once you win or lose you get over that.”

Lawton and Garrison, who received 400 votes in the primary, recently met at Restaurant Cesaria to talk about her endorsement and the race.

Lawton isn’t the only one waging a write-in campaign. Roy Owens, like Garrison a perennial candidate, recently told Henriquez, who lives near Owens, that he, too ,will be attempting another shot at the seat in November. Owens, who could not be reached for comment, received 226 votes out of the 2,030 total votes cast. That’s down from when he faced off against St. Fleur, who took a job in the Menino administration earlier this year, in the Democratic primary in 2008: He received 711 votes, while St. Fleur garnered 1,443.

Lawton was dismissive of Owens’s write-in campaign. “Roy is always running,” he said.

There are no Republicans or independents on the ballot in that race.

Treasurer candidates trade barbs over Mattapan murders and spending bill

Steve Grossman, the Democratic candidate for treasurer, last week slammed his Republican opponent for stopping a spending bill from moving on Beacon Hill. Grossman called state Rep. Karyn Polito’s move “obstructionist” and said it was stopping the flow of funds to the State Police, who are involved in the Mattapan murder investigation. Polito shot back with an accusation that Grossman was politicizing the murders.

According to the State House News Service, Polito, a Shrewsbury Republican running for treasurer, again blocked the $400 million bill, decrying the “Beacon Hill culture” and saying the bill should be “debated, discussed, and amendable.” During informal sessions, a single lawmaker can hold up a bill.

“We’ve got four people lying on the streets of Mattapan the other day dead because of crime in our society,” Grossman told the News Service. “We need to make sure we take care of public safety and first responders. Yes, have a public debate. But don’t just stand up there and stand in the way of it as an election year, grandstanding move.”

Polito responded in a statement, accusing Grossman of politicizing the murders.

“For Steve Grossman to politicize the murders of four people for his own selfish political ends is despicable,” she said. “It’s well known that Steve Grossman supports higher spending and more taxes, but that does not mean those opposed to his tax-and-spend views are somehow complicit in the murders that took place in Mattapan this week.”

The bill moved to the Senate this week, where Senate Republicans have objected to the legislation. Polito came late to the start of the House’s Monday session, when House Democrats quickly passed the bill in her brief absence.

Endorsement Corner: The three Democrats who finished behind Nick Collins in the September primary for the Democratic nomination in the Fourth Suffolk state representative race are lining up behind their former opponent. Mark McGonagle, Jacob Bombard, and Michael McGee gathered for a “unity” meeting at Collins’s headquarters in Perkins Square to pledge their support for him as he faces off against Republican nominee Patrick Brennan. McGonagle and Bombard had both dropped by Collins’ headquarters the night of the primary.

“I want to thank my former competitors for running such strong and spirited campaigns,” Collins said in a statement. “Our community is better off because we all had the courage to run.”

Collins won the Democratic primary with 49 percent of the vote. McGonagle came in second, with 37 percent, while McGee and Bombard received 11.4 and 2.8 percent, respectively. Collins won twelve precincts to McGonagle’s eight.

The primary race turned nasty in the end, to wit: The day before the primary, the Woburn-based group Coalition for Marriage spent $2,438 on a flyer attacking McGonagle’s support for transgender rights.
McGonagle is one of four candidates so far in this election cycle who has been hit with what campaign finance regulators call an “electioneering communication,” sent out by a third party. The other four include the three major candidates for governor: Deval Patrick, Charlie Baker, and Timothy Cahill.

Quote of Note: Timothy Cahill
The state Treasurer, a former Quincy Democrat running for governor as an independent, had a message this week for his Democratic and Republican opponents: “The warning to both candidates is first of all, ‘Stay out of Quincy,’” he told WBZ-TV, after the Democratic incumbent hightailed it down to Darcy’s Village Pub. Patrick’s trip came hours after Cahill’s running mate, former Republican state Rep. Paul Loscocco, said he was dropping off the Independent ticket and endorsing Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker. Cahill’s admonition prompted WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller to quip: “Stay out of Quincy? What is this, ‘Gunsmoke’?”

Meanwhile, Cahill is staying lashed to the mast: He repeatedly rejected calls for him to drop out of the race from conservatives who say he is drawing votes away from Baker. A recent Boston Globe poll, which, like others, has Cahill mired in third place, showed Cahill drawing votes from both Patrick and Baker equally.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Check out updates to Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at dotnews.com/litdrop. Material from State House News Service was used in this report.