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September 27, 2005

Somerville News: Jehlen wins by 1700+

Here's the link.

Jehlen 7466, White 5747, according to their source in White's campaign.

Should it have been this close? Does it reflect well on White? Or is this a statistical blip on an obscure special election? Heck, even we didn't say much about it after Jehlen won the primary.

Posted by Charley on the MTA at 09:11 PM | Permalink

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Comments

What it says is that lots of people in Somerville, including Democrats, don't like Pat Jehlen. We knew that before the election.

All the energy went into the primary election, too, which is why she barely got the same total against 1 challenger tonight that she got against 3. She could have done better. But White's strong showing has nothing to do with the timing of the election or any alignment toward the Republicans--it was mostly anti-Pat.

Posted by: Brittain33 | Sep 27, 2005 9:25:52 PM

I also have to say that nothing in the Somerville News or the Boston Herald would surprise me, but I did think the Journal's non-endorsement was pretty shocking.

Posted by: Brittain33 | Sep 27, 2005 9:26:49 PM

a recall soon?

Posted by: John Galway | Sep 27, 2005 10:19:59 PM

I think that what happenned was a result of the noncampigning by the Jehlen camp after the primary. I also agree that the votes, like the endorsements, were mostly unti-Pat not pro-Bill.

Posted by: Democrat | Sep 27, 2005 10:27:48 PM

This result isn't particularly surprising. The Jehlen campaign mapped out what they needed to do to win, executed well, and won comfortably. Obviously they didn't feel nearly as threatened by White as they did in the primary, and having been involved in both GOTV efforts, I know this one was very far scaled down from the primary effort. I can always say that it was well planned, and appropriate for the election at hand, and it delivered the desired result. 57% to 43% is not "close".

There were some interesting - but not surprising - aspects to the results when you look precinct by precint. White mounted the strongest challenge in Somerville, as expected, and his performance correlated pretty well with Mackey's. Many of us thought Mackey voters would be the ones most likely to vote for Bill White, and I think the numbers I saw bear this out. In Medford and Winchester, Pat won almost every precinct, some by a lot and some by a little. That probably reflects the fact that she campaigned hard there for the primaries, much more than White was able to do outside of his Somerville base, as well as the endorsements and support of the mayors for Pat.

One interesting aspect of this race that, while not entirely surprising, is rather said, is the way much of the Somerville Democratic establishment seemed to switch sides after they lost the primary. I'll have more to say about that in a future post.

Posted by: Cos | Sep 27, 2005 11:47:19 PM

(obviously I meant "rather sad" not "rather said". oops)

Posted by: Cos | Sep 27, 2005 11:48:35 PM

(d'oh! and "I can also say" not "I can always say". this is what happens when I try to post after a 15 hour GOTV day and an election night party!)

Posted by: Cos | Sep 27, 2005 11:51:10 PM

I finally read the Somerville Journal's editorial (it's here, for those who hadn't seen it before). Wow. Sounds like there are some fences (and bridges) that are in serious need of mending in Somerville.

Posted by: David | Sep 27, 2005 11:52:54 PM

I don't know much about the Somerville political scene, but it's worth noting that I got a ton of info about/support for Pat Jehlen from various Dem/progressive email lists leading up to the primary. I haven't heard anything about it since -- I'm out of MA right now and I only remembered that there was a Senate election when I checked Blue Mass Group the other day. Cos said that the Jehlen campaign did what it had to do to win, which is obviously borne out by the results tonight, but if the campaign had continued some of the aggressive progressive outreach efforts of the primary season, it might have done better. Then again, I can't blame anyone for assuming that the election wouldn't be particularly close (that's certainly what I assumed!)

Posted by: Patrick Hart | Sep 28, 2005 1:12:06 AM

I don't know much about the Somerville political scene, but it's worth noting that I got a ton of info about/support for Pat Jehlen from various Dem/progressive email lists leading up to the primary. I haven't heard anything about it since -- I'm out of MA right now and I only remembered that there was a Senate election when I checked Blue Mass Group the other day. Cos said that the Jehlen campaign did what it had to do to win, which is obviously borne out by the results tonight, but if the campaign had continued some of the aggressive progressive outreach efforts of the primary season, it might have done better. Then again, I can't blame anyone for assuming that the election wouldn't be particularly close (that's certainly what I assumed!)

Posted by: Patrick Hart | Sep 28, 2005 1:17:46 AM

A couple of points. First, a 14 point victory is not close. Yes, the raw vote total seems close since the turnout was extremely low, but the margin was substantial and pretty much met expectations.

Second, it's clear the Jehlen campaign was on autopilot after the primary - and justifiably so given the voter registration in the district. I received constant mailings from the Democratic candidates during the primary, and many pieces from organizations supporting Jehlen. During the general campaign, I received 4 pieces from the White campaign, and absolutely nothing from Jehlen or endorsers. I think most Jehlen supporters thought the whole thing was over after the primary and considering the primary turnout was about 5k higher, they didn't bother to come out for the general.

Still, a win is a win.

Posted by: Sean | Sep 28, 2005 1:29:42 AM

I'm still waiting for a Thank You note for a $250 contribution to Jehlen end of July/beginning of August. I guess I'm old-fashioned.

Posted by: Margie | Sep 28, 2005 4:32:43 AM

If Joe Mackey had won the primary, I think we would have seen a resounding defeat of White. Apparently, Mackey is very well thought of in Somerville, but didn't bridge out beyond his core supporters.

White, for what I have seen and heard, seems to have the same positive image in the public, but he had the wrong letter after his name to get elected in this district.

Posted by: BelmontStreetBen | Sep 28, 2005 8:08:35 AM

Cos

You are in denial man. This result is a shock.

Bill White’s half hearted run at the senate seat should have collected 25% of the total vote at best. If Patricia Jehlen doesn’t take this as a serious sign of weakness and work hard in the next 6 months to correct it she will be toast in next years democratic primary.

Watch for a number of Somerville pols to make serious inroads/outreach into Medford in the next couple of months and as always “follow the money”.

Posted by: the sound of one hand clapping | Sep 28, 2005 9:21:59 AM

Jehelen won so I say goodbye.
Thank you all. I will now have to pay for therapy.
Goodbye and Godd Luck.

Posted by: The troll | Sep 28, 2005 9:52:19 AM

onehand -
I'll just quote from my comment here last week: Bill White is is likely running a good campaign, and will get a respectable number of votes. Pat Jehlen is running a better campaign, will get more votes, and will win.

I didn't think White made a "half-hearted run", I thought he was running a good, serious campaign, and would get a respectable result. Sounds like reality matched my expectations pretty well. Why should I be shocked?

If this were a regular election, with candidates for governor and congress on the ballot, and large numbers of voters coming to the polls with little clue who their state legislators are, then the D next to Pat's name on the ballot would have been a big advantage. If Bill White had managed to get 43% in such an election, that could've been a shock. In a special election, the Dem advantage in the district just means you have a lot more potential supporters to work with, but you still have to pull your own vote. The White campaign pulled as much as it was able to. The Jehlen campaign pulled what it needed to, with a comfortable margin.

Posted by: Cos | Sep 28, 2005 1:56:44 PM

The results, while not close, were closer than i would have liked. I think this points to a few things:
1- a backlash, primarily in Somerville, against progressive candidates. Sciortino beating Ciampa last year was a shock to the "old somerville" dems and they're reacting to what they see as a influx of people who don't represent their vision of Somerville.
2- a less energetic month than the one leading up to the primary. The jehlen campaign lost a lot of volunteers and donors after the primary was over, largely because the race was seen as a lock for the dems. Had there been as much activity as before the primary, I think the margin would have been significantly larger.

I didn't think White's campaign was particularly well run, nor do I think he had a coherent message. But for the above two reasons he did better (statistically, not in number of votes) than was expected.

It was in some ways another example of how dems in mass keep losing gubernatorial races; left exhausted by a tough primary they have a difficult time pulling together the resources for the general. Fortunately this was a very tough district for any republican, even a socially liberal one.

I'll be interested to see how this effects White's re-election bid for Alderman at large.

Posted by: eury13 | Sep 29, 2005 2:10:43 PM

I think White will be re-elected Alderman, but I have heard from several people who have traditionally voted for White who are ticked off at him now for some things from the past few weeks, and may not vote for him this time. A lot of progressive voters in 2003 voted for White along with Denise Provost. This year, some of them will, and some of them won't.

The more interesting question, I think, is how well some of the new progressive challengers will fare, given PDS's apparent ability to pull votes. As a PDS member myself, I very much hope to see Rebekah Gewirtz elected ward 6 alderman.

Posted by: Cos | Sep 29, 2005 7:20:17 PM

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