Massachusetts Governor’s Race Takes Bizarre Twist

by Michael Graham

I am the luckiest person in American media. Why? Because I’m a conservative talk host in Massachusetts.

Let me explain. In just the past 24 hours, we’ve had the following stories break: An incumbent Democrat congressman accompanied his wife to federal court where she pled guilty to laundering $7 million in illegal gambling money for her fugitive brother; the Democratic candidate for state auditor — and former state secretary of Labor — admitted she’d been claimnig two different homes as her primary residence in order to take advantage of  $6,000 in property tax breaks she wasn’t entitled to; the Democratic candidate for Bill Delahunt’s old Congressional seat, prosecutor William Keating, took campaign donations from an attorney representing a defendant Keating was prosecuting — one of them the day before the defendant was to be formally charged.  

And none of those stories is even getting any coverage today, overshadowed by the antics in the governor’s race. Two weeks ago, Democrat-turned-independent Tim Cahill, the state treasurer, lost his top political consultants, McCain cronies John Weaver and John Yob. Shortly afterward, his running mate, Republican state Rep. Paul Loscocco, quit the ticket and endorsed Republican Charlie Baker.

Yesterday, Cahill filed a lawsuit asking a judge to stop his former staffers from giving information to the Baker campaign. Cahill says they have voter lists and message information that would be devastating to his campaign. He’s alleging a secret conspiracy between Baker and his former staffers. His lawsuit includes a raft of embarrassing e-mails between his staffers leading up to his running mate’s defection.

Baker’s staff responded by saying, in effect, we had nothing to do with any of this, but we’re more than happy to have any dirt on Cahill his former employees might have. In fact, they’re claiming Cahill’s suing to stop the release of evidence showing that he’s been illegally using the resources of the treasurer’s office to promote his campaign.Voters watching the sudden surge of state-funded “The lottery’s doing great thanks to Tim Cahill!” ads on TV know what Baker’s talking about.

The big winner in all this is Gov. Deval Patrick. Cahill — who’s been polling in the single digits — is launching a kamikaze campaign designed to take Baker down with him. He’s been angry for months over ads that the Republican Governors’ Association ran attacking him. It appears he’s prepared to do what he can to blow up the Baker campaign, including blowing up his own. This story is so messy it might just work.

Interestingly, Gov. Patrick called Cahill with a personal message of encouragement after his running mate dumped him. Calls of encouragement from the guy you’re running against are unusual, to say the least.  But given what Cahill’s doing for Patrick’s campaign, the governor ought to send him flowers and candy, too.

– Michael Graham is an NRO contributor and author of the book That’s No Angry Mob, That’s My Mom (Regnery, 2010).