Reporter's Notebook: Menino fundraiser mixes power show with nostalgia

Nostalgia permeated the fundraiser last Thursday night in which a few hundred members of Menino administrations past and present turned out to catch up and celebrate 20 years of dominance in City Hall. But there was also a strong 2013 undercurrent at play, with talk of unfinished work and allusions to upcoming elections, according to people who were in the Wharf Room of the Boston Harbor Hotel that night. They reported that Mayor Thomas Menino was introduced by two longtime City Hall aides, Martha Pierce and Annette Gales.

The Democratic candidate for the US Senate seat, Elizabeth Warren, dropped by the event, mingling with the crowd of Menino supporters. State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz and District 1 City Councillor Sal LaMattina were also in attendance. Menino, who was elected in 1993, reportedly became emotional at points, talking about people’s loyalty and support, as well as remembering two administration officials who have passed away, including Ed Collins, the former chief financial officer, and Justine Liff, the former parks commissioner. Liff died in 2002 and Collins in January 2007. The room fell silent as he spoke.
The fundraiser was held days before Menino’s scheduled trip to Italy for a two-week vacation with his wife.

The conventional wisdom now is that Menino will run for another four-year term, and the question of who is seriously thinking of throwing their hats into the ring in 2013 remains a question privately debated among the city’s chattering class.

One long shot bid is apparently moving forward: Charles Clemons, the co-founder of TOUCH 106.1 FM. He filed papers with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance setting up his campaign committee.
Clemons, a Fields Corner resident, announced that he was running at his 50th birthday party in August 2011. He was once a Boston Police officer and also a correctional officer.

Baker looking to reelection with kick-off in Lower Mills

Frank Baker is getting an early start in the 2013 municipal election. The freshman city councillor has scheduled a fundraiser and a reelection campaign kick-off for Mon., Oct. 22, at 6 p.m. at The Ledge in Lower Mills. An invitation notes that donations, with a suggested donation range from $25 to $100, can be mailed to “The Committee to Re-Elect Frank Baker.” The Savin Hill resident was elected to the District 3 post in November 2011, after besting Cedar Grove’s John O’Toole with 56 percent of the vote. The seat opened up after Maureen Feeney decided against running for reelection and pursued the city clerkship.

GOP’s Baker, Dems’ Grossman will talk politics on NECN Friday

Could this be a preview of the gubernatorial race in 2014? The GOP’s nominee in 2010, Charlie Baker, is scheduled to appear with State Treasurer Steve Grossman, a Democrat and past candidate for governor, tomorrow on New England Cable News’s “Broadside with Jim Braude” show. Both are frequently mentioned in local political circles as potential candidates for the Corner Office in 2014 with Gov. Deval Patrick not running for a third term.

The political chat show airs at 6 p.m. and will come after a busy week in politics, with the presidential debate on Tuesday night and plenty of tough races in Massachusetts.

The former CEO of Grossman Marketing Group in Somerville, Grossman was elected treasurer in 2010. He has served as Democratic Party chair at both the state and national level. Since losing the 2010 gubernatorial election, Baker, a Swampscott Republican, has been making the rounds, appearing at GOP events across the state. State House News Service noted on Tuesday that he will be at a fundraiser tonight for a state representative candidate in Marshfield. In September, he swung by a state Senate candidate’s fall kick-off event at the Plymouth Yacht Club.

Other oft-mentioned candidates for governor include Attorney General Martha Coakley, Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, Congressman Michael Capuano, Obama campaign aide (and former Patrick aide) David Simas, former New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang, and State Auditor Suzanne Bump.

Brown and Warren sign-holders face off in Grove Hall standouts

Supporters of Republican US Sen. Scott Brown and backers of Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren faced off at the intersection of Washington Street and Blue Hill Avenue last Friday morning, brandishing signs as commuters rolled through the Grove Hall neighborhood.

The standouts took place a few feet away from the Warren campaign’s office on Washington Street
The people holding Brown signs, numbering between 25 and 30, wore blue t-shirts saying, “Obama Supporters for Brown.” Warren supporters showed up after a call for bodies went out on Grove Hall-based radio station TOUCH 106.1 FM.

“You can vote Obama and vote for Scott Brown,” said Dave Eastmond, who was at the standout. Eastmond is an active campaigner for Democratic candidates, including US Rep. Stephen Lynch.“It was a healthy debate,” he said of the competing stand-outs. “It’s a big wake-up spot for the community.”
The Boston Herald reported this week that the state GOP’s MassVictory program paid homeless people to appear in a similar standout in Dudley Square on Monday. Asked by the Reporter on Friday if any people were paid to be at his standout, Eastmond referred questions to Robert Lewis, who organized it. In a text message, Lewis denied that anybody was paid.

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