When the average voter goes to the polls during local elections, he is usually not thinking of party politics.
During local races, average voters look at individual candidates and cast a vote based upon which man or woman can serve their community better. A candidate’s party affiliation rarely comes to play during local races. And when it does become a factor, it usually backfires on the partisans who try to make it an issue.
For example: in the Lawrence mayoral contest last November, candidate Marcos Devers attempted to make race an issue in the campaign. He and Democrat Party Chairman Phil Johnston held a rally for local Democrats to “get out the Democrat vote.”
Johnson made phone calls to Lawrence Democrats saying, “we have to help Marcos Devers get elected because he is a Latino.” As it turned out, the rally ended up a joke as none of the local Democrat pols showed up. Barry Finegold, Sue Tucker, David Torrisi and the majority of local Democrat activists didn’t bother to attend or show support for Devers.
Not only did local Democrats not show for the rally, many publicly supported Mayor Michael Sullivan, a Republican. Democrat state Representative Willie Lantigua, a registered Democrat, came out publicly in support of Mayor Sullivan. As did Democrat Patrick Blanchette, who is president of the Lawrence City Council.
In reading our ace-reporter Hanna’s interview with state Representative Barry Finegold (page 18), Finegold revealed that he did not show for the rally because he was “friends” with both candidates and did not want to get in the middle of a local race just because he is a Democrat.
He also stated that political party should never be a factor in municipal elections.
In democrat town like North Andover, party is definitely not a factor in local races. How else could you explain that on the School Committee there sits three Republican members and one Libertarian.
I am not the average voter, though, and party almost always plays a factor in whom I will support when it comes to local candidates running for municipal positions.
You see, local candidates and officials are the farm team, which later helps to shape the look of state and national politics.
Most national and state office holders today have made their way up the political ranks by winning local elections, establishing themselves as “insiders,” learning how to play ball with the state and national officials — and then they climb up the ladder.
Remember, both state representatives Barry Finegold and Dave Torrisi started off as selectmen.
In Lawrence, the running joke is always whether or not the mayor will stay in office for his or her full term. After winning a second term, former Mayor Kevin Sullivan left early to take a job in the Weld administration.
Former Mayor Patty Dowling left early in her first term to become a judge. Since term limits became a factor with the “new” charter in Lawrence, mayors have to think about their future and what to do when their term expires.
And, because of term limits, the job of Lawrence mayor has become a stepping stone for local politicians, which is why it was so important that Devers failed to successfully bring partisan politics into the last mayor’s race.
With Republican Mayor Mike Sullivan winning re-election by such a wide margin last November, many political players are wondering what his next move is going to be.
And, now that Romney has announced that he will not seek a second term as governor and Lieutenant Governor Healey is running for governor, the question being asked in political circles is: who would make a great running mate with Healey?
Who would help the Republican ticket to keep the governor’s office?
There aren’t many names on the Healey short list for a lieutenant governor. A few who have been mentioned as a running mate for Healey are: state senators Scott Brown and Bruce Tarr. My candidate is Mike Sullivan.
Kerry Healey and Mike Sullivan would make a great team. Sullivan has campaigned and raised lots of money for Healey and Healey has reciprocated for Mike Sullivan. She attended several fundraisers for Sullivan and many of the local polls couldn’t wait to get their picture taken with both of them. She has visited Lawrence more than two dozen times and is very well acquainted with the problems of the city.
For his part, Sullivan won his bid for re-election by a 65% – 35% margin. He won big in a Democrat dominated city running against an Hispanic who is a Democrat. But, Sullivan had the support of many Hispanic and Democrat leaders, including, as stated before, state Representative Willie Lantigua, Patrick Blanchette, and Superintendent Wilfredo Laboy.
Remember that Romney lost Lawrence when he ran for governor and the only city or town that Sheriff Cousins (a Republican) lost in all of Essex County in his bid for re-election was Lawrence.
Sullivan could help the Republicans carry Lawrence and other Democrat dominated cities and help Healey win the election.
When it comes time to vote at the Republican Convention this spring, Mike Sullivan has my vote!