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March 11, 2005

Splitting the progressive vote

There's a real risk that the "progressive" vote in next Tuesday's special election to fill Brian Golden's seat in the 18th Suffolk district will be split between two candidates, Tim Schofield and Michael Moran.  And the result, if that happens, could be disastrous, as it could mean victory for ex-Golden aide Greg Glennon.  Golden was a true DINO who campaigned for President Bush and now works for the Romney administration, and Glennon can be expected to carry on Golden's distinctly non-progressive ways if he wins.

The risk of a split vote increased substantially yesterday when the Boston Phoenix, one of Boston's largest progressive media voices, endorsed Moran.  Schofield has already amassed a substantial list of endorsements, including several teachers' and other unions, gay rights groups, environmental groups, D4MA, local media, and liberal/progressive voices like Robert Reich and Steve Grossman (in addition, of course, to the invaluable thumbs-up from us here at the Group).  Moran was endorsed by the Globe, and also apparently has been endorsed by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and by NARAL pro-choice MA and Steve Tolman.

So what's a progressive to do?  One obvious answer: get more info.  And that's where a clear distinction between the candidates emerges.  Schofield has a good website with lots of information about him, his views, his endorsements, etc.  I tried to learn more about Moran, but his website is a disaster - in particular, if you click on "News & Views," you bring up a blank page.  Nor does his site list his endorsements or, really, anything about him other than the fact that he is running for state rep and the most barebones biographical information.  Everything I could learn about Moran was from Googling him and coming up with media reports (mostly in the Phoenix) covering the race.

News articles suggest that a big part of Moran's campaign is his "lifelong roots in the community," and that fact figured heavily in the Phoenix's choice of him over Schofield.  And maybe that's why Moran hasn't given much attention to his website - maybe he figures that a website is for the out-of-district crowd like us who won't get to vote for or against him.  But this is the "information age," and if you want people whom you don't know personally (and I suspect there are some of those even in Moran's district) to learn about your candidacy, a website is one of the most efficient ways to make that happen.  To me, anyway, Moran's failure to set up a website with even the most basic information about his campaign doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, and it makes it much harder than it needs to be for me, or more importantly for a voter living in the Suffolk 18th, to learn anything about him.

So speaking for myself, I stick with our previous position.  Vote for Schofield.  He's got a lot going for him.  He'll bring a lot of good ideas to the State House (Moran probably would too, but only one candidate can win).  And anyone, inside the Suffolk 18th district or outside of it, can quickly and easily learn what Schofield stands for.

Posted by David at 12:59 PM in Massachusetts | Permalink


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» Will progressives elect a conservative in Brighton? from Universal Hub
David worries what will happen in Tuesday's special election to fill Brian Golden's state rep's seat in Brighton: There's a real risk that th [Read More]

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I come back from my blogging vacation to find that today's an election for several vacant State Rep. slots - including Suffolk 18th (Allston), Suffolk 12th (Mattapan, to replace Finneran) and Pittsfield. I don't feel it's my charge to tell [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 15, 2005 7:42:07 AM


It appears Moran and Schofield are both progressives with the major difference being that one is gay. Moran has a better base, organization and arguably momentum. So shouldn't progressives give their vote to Moran so as to have a better chance of preventing Glennan from winning the seat.
As for a web site, in a rep race the only people who look at it are the opponents and enimies. Like you Dave. You are a Schoenfield supporter and you are spending time looking at Moran's web site. Nothing wrong with that, I am just using you as an example. Very very very very few voters are going to web sites for informnation they can use in deciding for whom to cast their vote. Voters do not research candidates like high school students research colleges. And don't look for them to be rational when deciding.
Endorsements mean crap. Big deal who endorsed who. Who is going to deliver votes for the candidate is what is important. And that means which endorsers are going to work and get votes out for the candidate. I don't see any of the endorsements you mentioned delivering significant votes to any candidate. Including the Globe endorsement. Phoenix endorsement may deliver 20 votes, just because of uniqueness of district. Most individual endorsements don't even live in the district.
Schoenfield campaign is in danger of turning its message into "if you don't vote for me you are ignorant and only hurting yourself" campaign. Be Careful!

Posted by: The Troll | Mar 11, 2005 9:48:19 PM

"Moran has a better base, organization and arguably momentum."

Where are you getting your information from? Not an attack, just curious.

Posted by: Charley on the MTA | Mar 12, 2005 9:38:31 AM

Moran and his supporters make much of his native, community roots, and that certainly is a strong point of his campaign. However this measure cuts both ways. It is worth pointing out that Moran has run for this seat twice before in the Democratic primary, and the community chose someone else.

Posted by: Frederick Clarkson | Mar 12, 2005 1:15:32 PM

Moran has significantly stronger roots, more contacts, and more relationships with people in the district then schoenfield. This is where his vote comes from. He has a base that will stay with him. Glennon will get a good chunk of Golden's base, but by no means all. Incestuous relationships (figuratively) allow past Golden votes to go right to Moran without consideration given to Glennon or Schoenfield. But will they show up to vote?

This is special election and Glennon has experience in getting vote out and getting his base out. The dynamics of this race make Schoienfield a long shot. He may do it, but i can't see him mobilizing that many people to vote for him.
Based on my far away observations, and not knowing the personalities and what the "coffee shop talk" is i would say that there is a solid block of about 300 progressive voters, mostly gay, who will turn out and vote for Schoenfield. At best he should receive another 400 to 500 votes for his efforts. A turnout of about 3500 means the other two split about 27 to 2800 hundred votes. I think the turnout will be smaller.
The Globe endorsement gives his supporters and campaign workers momentum. A campaign has to believe the candidate can win and this endorsement from the god of progressive endorsements gave the workers and campaign a psychological push and did the opposite for Schoenfield;s. It deligitamizes Schoenfield as the true "progressive" and subtly tells progressives not to waste their vote. This is what Schoenfield has based his campaign on. Not a big effect on the vote, but a big effect on the mindset of the campaign workers and supporters on both sides going into the last week. If supporters don't think there candidate will win they are less likely to go vote, especially in a special election.
If Glennon wins, what will be the margin? Is there a spoiler in the race? We shall see.
Communty roots is not an issue, so please stop yapping about it. People will not vote for Moran because he has strong roots in the district. They will vote for him because they know him or know someone who knows himand Moran reached out toi them. The longer you live there the more people you know. There is a differnce.

Posted by: The Troll | Mar 12, 2005 2:06:45 PM

Actually, the web site difference you noted in this post is representative of a bigger distinction between Moran and Schofield.

There's more to being a good progressive, than just promising to vote to the left on issues. Here in MA, one of the biggest challenges facing the state Democratic party is not ideology, it is style, process, and technology. Our state party has been a large but fairly consistent clique for decades. Many people who have been part of that clique for a long time have simply fallen out of the habit of being accessible to new members, activists, or ways of doing things. Moran represents that.

Schofield brings new people into the party (see Howie Carr's recent rant about the substantial number of BU students that a Schofield supporter registered to vote), Moran does not.

Schofield has significant support from grassroots volunteers, canvassing and phonebanking and pledged for GOTV activities. Moran is relying on the same people he's worked with in the past, and has no support that I know of from any grassroots groups who actually field volunteers. I also don't think he's interested.

Schofield understands that we need to use technology more effectively in this party, and his campaign shows it. Moran doesn't understand the priority.

At the most basic level, Schofield is a candidate who will edge the party further away from cliquishness, and make it more accessible to new people, new ideas, and new technology. That's deeply progressive in a way that Moran doesn't touch.

Make no mistake, the candidates ARE DIFFERENT. And that is a key difference. Moran may be generally liberal in his politics, but Schofield is the clear progressive choice.

Posted by: Cos | Mar 12, 2005 11:10:21 PM

The Troll writes: Endorsements mean crap. Big deal who endorsed who. Who is going to deliver votes for the candidate is what is important. Actually, in a race like this, that's exactly what some endorsements do mean.

Groups like MassEquality and Democracy for America aren't just media or blog posts, they're active volunteers. Endorsements from groups like these means more hours of phonebanking and canvassing, and more GOTV volunteers.

MassEquality just scheduled two more volunteer times for their members to phonebank and GOTV for Schofield, in an email they sent to their lists today. DfA just sent an email yesterday to all 20,000 people on their list in MA. As someone active in several DfA meetups in the area, I know we've been sending volunteers over on a regular basis.

There's momentum from these, as well. Organizations with many members locally, can create more of a person-to-person buzz in this kind of election, than big name endorsements do in state and national races.

Posted by: Cos | Mar 12, 2005 11:17:49 PM

Regarding endorsements: they matter only insomuch as they contribute to what really matters - votes.

As simple as this may sound, it's worth repeating: this election will be won by the candidate who receives the most votes. Right now, Tim Schofield is doing very strongly in terms of garnering promised votes, and the endorsements he's received DO matter, in a very real way. I can't say how much the Globe or the Phoenix will actually change people's minds. But I can say that groups like Democracy for Massachusetts, the 2020 Dems, Mass Equality and others have been driving serious numbers of volunteers to Tim's campaign, and these volunteers have been out in the district talking to voters and winning their support for Schofield.

The campaign keeps a "thermometer" on the wall in the office where voter support progress is tracked. Let's just say the mercury boiled over.

If you truly want a strong progressive representing the district, Schofield is the clear choice. He's solidly pro-choice, solidly against the death penalty, and solidly in support of gay rights.

And yes, splitting the vote is a concern for progressive Democrats who don't want to see Greg Glennon continue the DINO tradition in the district. Putting aside the fact that Tim Schofield is simply THE only true progressive in the race, and Mike Moran isn't, Schofield is ahead right now and the huge amount of volunteer support behind his campaign is likely to keep him there in the final days. Voters who want to keep Glennon out of this seat and are undecided between Schofield and Moran should vote for Schofield for that reason alone.

Posted by: Mike | Mar 12, 2005 11:43:25 PM

I just don't see this momentum towards Scofield, Mike. Plus, what is this "true progressive" stuff? People do not vote this way, only zealots. There are many more voters then zealots.

Posted by: The Troll | Mar 13, 2005 10:22:26 AM

I live in the district and have been volunteering for Tim Schofield since day 1, before Golden even announced his resignation. While Moran and Schofield have taken similar positions on many issues, what differentiates them in my mind is the skill sets that they would actually bring to the job. Moran's argument all through his campaign has been "I should represent the district because I've lived here all my life." That just doesn't cut it for me. He's done nothing to show me that he's actually capable of performing the job. Schofield, on the other hand, is not only passionate about his political beliefs but has a long background in law and legislative affairs. And to be blunt, I think Schofield is simply smarter than Moran. Vote splitting is not that much of a concern, because we have an escape route if Glennon manages to win the primary. Whoever wins the primary will face opposition a month from now. There is an unenrolled candidate who shares many of the Moran/Walsh/Schofield positions and is not eligible for the Democratic primary. (He works for the Attorney General's office and dropped his party affiliation to demonstrate a lack of bias.) If Glennon wins, I believe that the progressives will rally around this other guy to keep Glennon out. But if Moran or Schofield wins, I think they'll probably carry the general election too. So Democrats should vote for their preferred candidate on Tuesday, not for who they think has the better chance of beating Glennon. And if they want to be represented by the most qualified candidate, they should vote for Tim Schofield.

Posted by: District Resident | Mar 13, 2005 1:35:13 PM

Don't kid yourself, the winner of the primary wins the election. I don't understand. Keep from being bias because he works for AG office. Doesn't make sense here.

Posted by: The Troll | Mar 13, 2005 4:26:22 PM

I spent this afternoon canvassing for Schofield near Cleveland Circle. I was out for about 4-5 hours, hit about 60-70 doors, and had conversations with 25+ people. Everywhere I went, I saw Schofield literature. In almost every apartment building I entered, there were multiple Schofield flyers on the table or the ledge or in the discard bin, and I lost count of how many times I found a Schofield flyer with a handwritten note, meaning another canvasser had stopped at the same door within the past day or two, before the resident had a chance to pick it up.

All afternoon, I encountered exactly *one* piece of Mike Moran literature.

The last time I canvassed for Schofield, I had a similar impression - loads of Schofield, very little sign of Moran.

This tells me that one of two things is true: Either the two campaigns have completely different contact universes - in which case we're not splitting the vote - or the Moran campaign doesn't have anything even close to Schofield's level of field organization. If we really are going after the same voters, there's no question in my mind that Schofield is the one to unify behind, to win.

Posted by: Cos | Mar 13, 2005 8:29:27 PM

Still not convinced. Schofield finishes a distant third.

Posted by: The Troll | Mar 13, 2005 9:58:54 PM

CLeveland Circle is what you are basing Schofield win. Lit left in the hall of apt houses. Means that the people he has targeted have moved. His lit is not going to do him any good unless a voter actually reads it. I agree with the troll.

Posted by: sam | Mar 14, 2005 11:01:25 AM

I've spent a lot of time canvassing and phonebanking this district. From my perch, things look very, very good for Schofield. Everyone I talk to says that "our people" are all over the place, and they're happy to see us. Responses on the phonebanks and on the canvasses have been exceptional - former undecideds are becoming Schofield supporters in droves.

As for Moran, the best "evidence" I could see for his support was a string of lawn signs in Oak Square. I talked to some of the people living in those houses (since they were on my walksheet) and they didn't have a clue how those signs got there, since they hadn't asked for them.

It's a nice effort, but lawn signs don't vote! The lion's share of progressive votes in this race is behind Tim Schofield.

Posted by: Shai Sachs | Mar 14, 2005 2:32:08 PM

When a campaign tries a little too hard to make people believe they are the front runner its usually a smoke screen. I give both camps credit for getting people involved but lets just call this what it is. Schofield has some good grassroots organization but give Moran's people their due. This race is going to come down to who gets their vote out. exactly what the Troll has been saying. I will be voting for Moran I made my mind up this weekend when my neighbor who previously was with Golden was talking about the race she is supporting Moran. Someone from your campaign came by the house and when I asked him where he lived I was told i don't live in the district. I trust my neighbor more that a paided staffer. Sorry

Posted by: sam | Mar 14, 2005 3:22:06 PM

I trust my neighbor more that a paided staffer.

You're certainly welcome to value your neighbor's opinion above others, but honestly, if you've been involved with a campaign you know full well that almost no one is getting paid for their efforts. Certainly not anyone who's canvassing.

Posted by: Brittain33 | Mar 14, 2005 4:22:06 PM

Sam: Your comments puzzle me.

First of all, obviously as a canvasser I know who has moved and who has not, since I get a list with names and addresses, look at mailboxes, and (gasp!) talk to people. I've canvassed in a few different areas, and as I said, seen very little evidence of Moran canvassers having been anywhere. I did find a small number of people who had moved, but a much much larger number who had no, and talked to many of them.

Second, what's this about paid staffers? Hardly anyone out there canvassing is being paid. I expect each campaign has maybe 3-5 paid people, and those people (campaign manager, field director, political consultant) are spending most of their time at the office coordinating other people. The ones who come to your door, in a race like this, are volunteering because they believe in the candidate. They're not paid.

BTW, take a look at this candidate survey in the Allston-Brighton TAB:

It's clear that Schofield is in fact the most progressive (for example, he supports instant runoff voting, Moran does not; he supports nonpartisan redistricting, Moran does not - and look at how the 17th and 18th Suffolk districts got gerrymandered!). I also think that, on balance, he gives the most well thought out answers to more questions.

Posted by: Cos | Mar 14, 2005 5:44:48 PM

I should add that this district is a poster-child for why we need instant runoff voting. Here we are talking about how splitting the progressive vote can lead a conservative with minority support to win elections, and that's exactly how Golden got this seat to begin with. IRV would eliminate that issue. And a non-partisan redistricting commission wouldn't draw nonsensical districts like the 17th and 18th Suffolk. So, support the candidate who is good on both of these issues - that's Schofield, and not Moran.

Posted by: Cos | Mar 14, 2005 5:57:59 PM

rep race should have no paid staffers. Never mind 2 or 3.

Posted by: The Troll | Mar 14, 2005 7:13:56 PM

This item could wind up outside of Democrat control.

Call to Action!

ALL Democrats will want to see www.EBAY.COM Item Nu. 5803549574 or EBAY keyword DEMOCRAT.

Thank you,

Posted by: tommy | Aug 30, 2005 1:44:12 AM

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