Yes, it may very well be too late to make any difference in this race, but Kerry Healey seems to have finally gotten the upper hand against Deval Patrick in one of the debates. This is the first time that press coverage of her performance has been positive.
Yours truly remains one of the few people maintaining that Healey still has a chance at winning, even if it's a small one. But it does exist: Patrick peaked too early and much of the sentiment has really been about sticking it to Governor Romney rather than any real dislike of Healey, his Lt Governor.
As for Patrick himself, only a small percentage of voters actually seem enthusiastic about him. Far more Bay Staters are registered Unenrolled (independent) than as Democrats or Republicans and they hold the key to any late Healey comeback.
In addition, Patrick's campaign effort really did begin to assume it had won the race two or three weeks ago, which sent his effort into auto- pilot mode.
To have a shot at winning, however tiny at this point, Healey had to not only hit a home run, but convince the press of it as well. And at least from the standpoint of the Boston Herald, she's done it:
Red-hot Healey scores vs. Deval in debate...finally By Kimberly Atkins and Dave Wedge Thursday, November 2, 2006
Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey battled to pin down rival Deval Patrick on taxes, crime and immigration last night, demanding that he “tell the truth” as she saved her strongest debate performance for their final prime-time clash.
Throwing barbs and often ignoring the rigid rules limiting back-and-forth exchanges, Healey pointedly challenged Patrick’s criticism of her as a mere “criminologist” while touting his own prosecutorial experience.
“I’d like you to please name for us a case in which you were a criminal prosecutor in a court where you put away a criminal,” Healey demanded.
Patrick, who recently said he has never personally tried a criminal case in court, fired back: “Let me tell you what a prosecutor does.
“I’ve had to make judgments about whom to charge and with what,” Patrick, a former assistant attorney general in the Justice Department, said as Healey gave him a fixed stare from across the podium at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall. “Those hard cases, about what the evidence is and what is firm and fair. I had to make hard judgments about sentencing, including the death penalty, when I was with the Justice Department.”
“I will not have you trivialize the other part of the work that I have done, which is on occasion represent the unsavory defendant,” Patrick added.
But Healey - fighting against Patrick’s double-digit lead in the polls - shot back. “Deval, this isn’t about whether or not you were a prosecutor. It’s about telling the truth. That is something a governor must do.”
“A governor must be able to look the people of the commonwealth in the eye and tell the truth even when it isn’t convenient,” Healey added. “Like you were just asking me about the Big Dig. It wasn’t convenient, but I answered that question. And I will always tell the truth.”
Patrick, allowed by moderator and ABC News commentator Cokie Roberts to rebut, called Healey’s assail “extraordinary.”
“You spent all this time trying to distract us all from a record of failed leadership on the economy, on education and health care, and then you come here and talk to me and preach to me about telling the truth,” he said as Roberts cut him off.
Based on several polls that showed her up to 25 points behind Patrick, Healey was written off too early by the pundits. But with Healey finally showing the side that voters needed to see all along, she may have a shot at this yet.
With just days to go, what's critical for Healey will be the ability to pump up television ad spending to record levels.
In any other election contest, if I were to tell you that a candidate down in the polls by 25 points just eight days out had a decent chance of winning, you'd think I was nuts, right?
So why is it that I still think GOP Lt Gov Kerry Healey has at least a small chance of being elected governor of Massachusetts next Tuesday?
--- First, the polls: it's not just the Bay State surveys that show Healey miles behind Democrat Deval Patrick, I simply don't trust the accuracy of any of them, even nationally, at this point.
Who answers their phone these days? Between caller ID, machine screening, unlisted numbers, mobile phones and the Internet, it's difficult to imagine how many attempts it must take to reach a credible sample. And even then, it's hard to know how well that's really been achieved, especially considering the wild swings we've seen from week to week in this contest.
--- There's a difference in this case between what a person might tell a pollster and how they will actually vote once in the booth. Massachusetts citizens have been conditioned to sound as "progressive" as possible when asked, but in more private settings are often as far from those positions as one can imagine.
--- Healey has been unfairly hurt by an association with Mitt Romney, who's been busy burning every bridge in Massachusetts in order to boost his image nationally, where the Bay State is about as popular as North Korea. Even if a bit late, Healey has been working overtime to compensate for this severe handicap.
Until now, this has been the real issue turning off voters, not her anti- Deval negative television ads that ran for several weeks. Since those have a historical pattern of working well for candidates, it's hard to believe that voters were really offended enough by Kerry's attacks on Patrick's crime and punishment record to move into the latter's camp.
--- It truly seems hard to fathom that Bay State voters are ready to abandon their longstanding habit of voting in Republican governors to watch over the Democrats on Beacon Hill. There has to be at least some unease at the idea of Dems having free reign. No Democrat has been elected governor of Massachusetts in 20 years. There's a comfort level in this that should give overconfident "progressives" pause.
--- Deval Patrick is a lackluster candidate. Sure, many have said the same thing about Kerry Healey, but Deval's support appears to be a mile wide and an inch deep.
He's incredibly vague on the issues, often uttering meaningless slogans and does little to inspire real loyalty. When you see him on television, it's hard to believe he's doing this well in the polls. As a result, it doesn't seem as though it would take much to erase his lead.
When voters do hear of his positions, past and present alike, they are shockingly extreme, even for Massachusetts. Deval's often compared to Senator Obama, but they actually seem to have very little in common on the issues. Patrick is considerably to the left of Mike Dukakis, John Kerry or even Ted Kennedy.
--- Healey's doing a lot more to let voters get to know her better, even if this should have occurred months ago. Yes, it's late in the game, but this week is also when voters are paying the most attention. This is the time to treble the television buys, especially with the kind of ads Kerry is running this week. She should remind them of her very moderate positions as well.
--- Independent sorehead Christy Mihos has revealed himself to be such an unhinged nutcase that it's hard to believe many people will waste votes on him. Polls showing him with five to nine percent support seem hard to fathom, compared with the almost total lack of support out on the streets. I'll bet he gets two percent on election day at most. As a result, he isn't nearly the threat to Healey as was once thought.
--- It's hard to attack a 25- point underdog without looking downright cruel. Even the rabidly- pro- Deval Globe will have to cool it a bit now. That paves the way for a last minute surge, fueled by heavy media spending this week.
If Kerry Healey pumps up the media spending this week to record levels, she still has a shot at this and even Deval knows it. It's up to her, if she backs off for even a moment, it will be all over for good.
After the release of a series of polls showing fringe Democrat Deval Patrick well ahead of GOP Lt Governor Kerry Healey, one could be forgiven for assuming the race is over.
But it doesn't have to be, as long as Healey refuses to allow it to happen.
Some thoughts on what Healey must do, NOW:
--- Despite polls showing that previous negative ads against Patrick have backfired, this is no time to go soft on his extremist track record. Kerry, please continue to point out the profoundly negative consequences of Dangerous Deval as governor, just find a more effective manner in which to do it.
We still have no way of knowing how accurate these surveys really are and turning into a softy will remove all hope of pulling this off.
Furthermore, if there is something else from Deval's crazy past that voters should know about, bring it forward, NOW! Don't hold it back or you will be sorry on election day.
--- Work harder to relate to the average voter just how much damage Deval as governor will do to their sense of public safety, financial outlook and family life. Once Patrick has destroyed the Bay State for good, where will their children live? Young people are already leaving Massachusetts in droves and it will only get far worse under Patrick.
--- Show some real passion, even to the point of getting a bit angry once in awhile. Look what's at stake! With Patrick, it's over for Massachusetts, can we afford to see this fringe extremist elected?
--- Double up on the television airtime, loan yourself more money if needed, but ramp it WAY, WAY up, NOW!
Patrick may very well cut back on spending, assuming he has won this race. In the ads, stick to one simple message: that voters can't afford to take away the one check they've had on an already out- of- control legislature.
Don't let a fringe lunatic win this election. Everything's at stake, Kerry, don't let us down!
Throughout this gubernatorial race, the Boston- area media has worked to constantly reinforce the idea that Deval Patrick is the second coming of Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill). Both are said to represent the "new face" of the Democrat Party: younger, energetic and passionate.
While Obama's (seen in photo) been able to maintain a squeaky- clean image, however, Patrick has an awful lot of unpleasant baggage. And in a weird convergence between the two, they were on opposite sides over the issue of whether a sleazy corporate executive should be appointed ambassador to The Netherlands.
While raking in a $360,000 salary as an Ameriquest board member, Deval Patrick wrote a letter supporting an ambassadorship for the embattled mortgage lender’s top executive, a move that was strongly fought by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
Obama, a rising star in the Democratic party who is in Boston today to support Patrick’s bid for governor, opposed Ameriquest CEO Roland Arnall’s October 2005 appointment as ambassador to the Netherlands, citing the company’s record of predatory lending.
In 1996, Ameriquest paid $4 million in fines after Patrick, then a top attorney in the United States Justice Department, leveled charges that the California-based firm ripped off minority, elderly and low-income homeowners. In January - while Patrick was on the company’s board - Ameriquest agreed to a landmark $325 million payout to settle similar complaints in 49 states, including Massachusetts.
“I don’t think it sends a good message that an ambassador to an important ally like the Netherlands has a cloud hanging over him,” Obama testified in October 2005 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
But Patrick, in an Oct. 19, 2005 letter to the committee, praised Arnall as a “good man” who would be a “fine ambassador.” In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Herald, Patrick details how he worked closely with Arnall to settle the 1996 dispute and says he joined the Ameriquest board at Arnall’s urging.
“He wanted me to become a member of the board to help the company use this latest crisis as a platform for change,” Patrick wrote.
Despite opposition from Obama and other Democrats, Arnall, a billionaire who donated $5 million in soft money to President Bush’s re-election campaign, was named ambassador to the Netherlands in February.
So much for the Obama - Patrick image the Boston media would like to you to believe.
For Struggling Patrick Campaign, Clinton Brings Help
Sure, we know Bill Clinton is great for liberal fundraising, but can he deliver votes for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick?
Especially given Clinton's lack of Bay State ties, it's truly unknown whether a Clinton visit to Massachusetts yesterday will succeed in propping up his now- troubled campaign.
Bubba can say what he likes, but it's clear that voters are increasingly alarmed as they learn of Patrick's extreme positions regarding the rights of prisoners, to the point of obsessing over the quality of tuna sandwiches and other minute aspects of life behind bars.
Comparing Kerry Healey to Newt Gingrich really isn't going to undo the damage to his campaign caused by Patrick's bizarre crusade on behalf of rapists, murderers and thugs.
“(Republicans say), ‘You still gotta vote for us because if you vote for the Democrats, they’ll tax you into the poor house, and on the way to the poor house you’ll meet a terrorist on every street corner,’ ” he said. “And that is one mangy old dog - they’ve been saying that now for a long time.”
On Thursday, another Democratic star - U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois - will hit the Massachusetts trail for Patrick.
Healey, who has ripped Patrick in TV ads as a big spender who is soft on crime, hinted yesterday that she will keep up the air war as polls show the race tightening, a tactic Clinton called the work of a desperate candidate.
“When they start throwing the kind of stuff at you that they’ve been throwing at (Patrick) - they don’t do that unless they think they’re going to get a big whuppin’ later on,” the ex-president said to thunderous applause at the Westin Copley Place.
Clinton, whose calm, conversational style of speaking contrasted sharply with boisterous remarks by Sens. John F. Kerry, Edward M. Kennedy and Patrick himself last night, said Healey’s campaign reminded him of his own battles with Republicans, who he said admitted to playing dirty.
“I heard about some of these things they’re saying about Deval, and it reminded me of a conversation I once had with Newt Gingrich,” Clinton said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Radio talk show host Howie Carr has finally come right out and said what has been on the minds of so many recently: Christy Mihos, it's time to go!
With the independent candidate's angry effort attracting just single- digit support, with no sign of a gain in momentum, even some of Christy's friends are urging him to get out of the race at once.
But will he?
The Mihos effort was quite clearly motivated by revenge against the Romney administration, after the governor failed to renominate him for another term on the Turnpike Authority board several years ago. For that, Christy has chosen to take out his anger on GOP Lt Gov Kerry Healey.
With Healey still ten or more points behind Democrat extremist Deval Patrick, the anti- Mihos chorus is getting increasingly louder.
Let me be blunt: You are a straw for Deval Patrick. Of course you deny it, but there’s an old saying that the best straw is the one who doesn’t even know he’s a straw.
For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a straw is a candidate in a fight who drains off votes from the main challenger. Basically, a straw splits the anti-vote, so that even if a majority are against a particularly odious candidate, he still slides in. Christy is playing Ross Perot to Deval’s Clinton.
But this campaign is not a referendum on Christy Mihos. It’s about Deval Patrick. There is only one question in this fight.
Are you for Free ’Em All Deval, or are you against him?
Look, Christy, we all like you. You’re a good guy. I’ve had you on my show about a million times; we’ve been to each other’s houses; we’ve gone out to dinner together; one of my best friends is on your campaign payroll.
But the fact remains, your continuing presence in the race is only helping one person, and his name is not Joe Sixpack.
You’ve admitted that you would vote for Deval if you weren’t running. Before the primary, on NECN, Jim Braude asked you flat-out who you would pull the lever for if you couldn’t vote for yourself.
First you said you’d go “someplace between Chris Gabrieli and Deval Patrick.”
Braude: “You only get one vote. Who would get that vote?”
Christy: “Probably Deval. Yeah, I like Deval.”
So I asked you on the radio last week about that interview.
Me: “Did you say you wanted him to be the governor if you couldn’t be?”
Christy: “Get away, get away. Howie, please, get away.”
Look, we understand Mitt Romney didn’t reappoint you to the Turnpike board. Basically, he fired you, and that hurt your feelings, after all you’d done for him.
Here’s three words for you Christy: Get over it. Living well is the best revenge. You’ve had your chance to speak truth to power, whatever that means. You’ve been lauded by all the pundits who are really for Deval.
I saw Fred Smerlas, the former NFL defensive lineman from BC and Waltham, on Friday and he wanted me to pass on a message to you from the Greek-American community. Here is what he said:
“Christy, I want a state where my children are safe and I can afford to live. OK? NOW PLEASE GET THE HELL OUT OF THE RACE!”
ELSEWHERE: At the Scotto Bloggo, media contributions to Deval's campaign are uncovered.
When one side of a nasty race is urging the other to be "nice", that's a sure sign the attacks are proving effective.
How else can we explain the sudden push by key Democrat insiders to insist the Healey camp cease their negative campaigning? They must be very, very worried.
After all, they know as well as anybody that earlier polls showing Democrat Deval Patrick up to 25 points ahead of Kerry Healey were not to be believed, coming right off of Patrick's big primary win and the first debate.
You knew theBoston Globe survey was bogus when it claimed that almost every voter had already made up his or her mind on the race. Given how little voters know of Patrick, even now, that just didn't seem possible.
And, in recent days, Patrick's extremist past has certainly come back to haunt him. Since then, his campaign has had to play defense, while Healey's effort finally has begun to gain momentum.
With the governor’s race taking a nasty turn, a team of high-powered Democrats - as well as candidates Grace Ross and Christy Mihos - are calling for a cease-fire.
“We are not going to allow Kerry Healey to ‘Swift Boat’ Deval Patrick,” former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger said yesterday, referring to the infamous Republican attack ad credited with helping sink Sen. John Kerry’s bid for president.
Harshbarger accused the Healey camp of using “Karl Rove tactics” and “fear mongering.” He said the GOP is “distorting” Patrick’s support of rapist Ben LaGuer and his 1985 defense of Florida cop-killer Carl Songer to create a situation similar to the Willie Horton furlough scandal that plagued former Gov. Michael Dukakis in his presidential bid.
“These are typical Republican attack ads,” Harshbarger said.
Healey campaign spokesman Tim O’Brien countered that Democrats have been “running smear attacks against the lieutenant governor for months.”
He added, “If Deval Patrick’s record is negative, then maybe they nominated the wrong person.”
Both independent candidate Christy Mihos and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Grace Ross called on Healey and Patrick to stop the sniping.
Healey's campaign must surely know that the key to victory is to tell the truth about Patrick's extremist background. If they don't do it, Boston's newspapers sure aren't going to. The moment Kerry Healey backs off, she will lose the race.
After revelations that Patrick sought the release of a demented and violent convicted rapist he hadn't even met previously and lied about it later, Massachusetts voters were jolted into a serious reality check regarding a candidate about whom they still know relatively little.
Patrick had claimed just days ago that his only assistance to the convict was in the form of letters on his behalf, but the Globe reports today that he sent rapist Benjamin LaGuer money, as well. His admission came only after the paper confronted him with the allegation.
On talk radio, Howie Carr had a field day tearing apart Patrick while interviewing family members of the rape victim, who continue to be outraged by the Democrat's fringe behavior. Moving the Mark Foley congressional case to the back-burner, Patrick's meltdown dominated discussions.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Deval Patrick today defended letters he wrote urging the release of convicted rapist Ben LaGuer, while GOP contender Kerry Healey said the letters show Patrick cares more about criminals than their victims. The two campaigns emerged from their second debate last night throwing haymakers, as Patrick’s prior support of LaGuer dominated the chatter at morning press events.
Patrick wrote two letters to the state’s parole board urging LaGuer’s release because he had been impressed by letters he received from the convicted rapist. While acknowledging he had never met LaGuer, Patrick said today he wrote the letters out of concern for “racism in the jury room.”
Healey, addressing questions at a separate event, charged that Patrick’s advocacy of LaGuer reveals skewed priorities in dealing with the criminal justice system. She said the letters show Patrick cares more about defending criminals than protecting victims of horrific crimes.
LaGuer was convicted of tying up and brutally raping a 59-year-old neighbor in Leominster in 1983. The conviction was affirmed by a 2002 DNA test that supported the prosecution’s case against LaGuer, who is now serving a life sentence.
The Herald published a story about Patrick’s previous support for LaGuer in August. At the time, a campaign spokesman downplayed Patrick’s participation in the case, telling the newspaper that Patrick has not followed the case closely in recent years.
Patrick sought to put even more distance between himself and LaGuer today, saying his letters did not assert LaGuer’s innocence, but expressed an opinion that he appeared prepared to return to society. Patrick said pressing a case for his innocence would have been a mistake.
Patrick defends letters, calls Healey criticism 'cheap political shot'
By Andrea Estes, Globe Staff
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick today defended his advocacy on behalf of a convicted rapist and slammed Republican Kerry Healey for taking a "cheap political shot."
Patrick, who twice asked the state's parole board to free Benjamin LaGuer, serving a life sentence for binding and raping a 59 year old neighbor in 1983, said he would make the same appeal again because "there were serious issues raised about the fairness of his trial."
Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey's campaign moved this morning to capitalize on Patrick's relationship with LaGuer, issuing a release that asked why "Deval Patrick lied to the press and the voters about his involvement trying to free a brutal rapist?"
Patrick stood his ground and shot back.
"I haven't lived my life or run my career trying to make sure that there isn't something somebody in some campaign will feature to take a cheap political shot," Patrick said. "As much as I respect the lieutenant governor, that is a cheap political shot."
Patrick said reports that racism may have played a role in LaGuer's conviction convinced him to advocate on LaGuer's behalf. But when pressed today, Patrick conceded he did not investigate to determine whether LaGuer, who is imprisoned at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, was actually guilty.
Many politicians, academics and lawyers have supported LaGuer over the years, but that support diminished after DNA tests conducted in 2002 linked him to the crime.
Patrick said based on a recent review of the case, he believes "justice has been served" and vowed that if elected he would not issue a pardon.
This morning's release from the Healey campaign carried the headline: "Dear Ben ... Best regards, Deval."
The release quotes a Sept. 28 statement from Patrick in which he said he had not been involved in LaGuer's case in "more than 10 years." The Globe reported today that Patrick wrote two letters on LaGuer's behalf, sending the second in April 2000.
No defense for Patrick coddling criminals By Virginia Buckingham Thursday, October 5, 2006
It’s a mindset thing. When I got a couple of letters from convicted rapist Ben LaGuer at the Herald, I filed them - in the circular file. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
When Deval Patrick was the targeted recipient of the serial prison correspondent, the would-be governor tried to get the guy released by writing to the Parole Board. He even sent a couple of letters to LaGuer in prison, in one apologizing for not being timely enough in his response. “I am sorry not to have written sooner,” Patrick wrote in 1998. “Given the significance of events in your life, I am embarrassed that I did not make the time.”
He ought to be embarrassed to have jumped to the defense of a man convicted of brutally raping his bound and gagged victim over a span of eight hours without ever having investigated the facts of the case from a source other than LaGuer himself. Only now, six years after he last tried to get LaGuer sprung, has Patrick agreed to meet with the first cop on the scene, now mayor of Leominster, Dean Mazzarella. His tardiness must be attributed to the “overwhelming press of other business” like that which delayed Patrick’s response to LaGuer.
No wonder Patrick lied about the frequency and timing of the contacts when first asked about them by the media!
Patrick now says that he stopped helping LaGuer after 2002 DNA testing tied the rapist to the crime scene. He’ll have to come up with another excuse to explain riding to the rescue of admitted cop killer Carl Ray Songer.
These are the facts: Florida Highway Patrolman Ronald Smith was shot to death by escaped convict Songer in 1973. Smith, a father of a 2-year-old girl, approached what he thought was a motorist in trouble in a broken-down car. Smith was hit by at least five shots.
Two hunters witnessed the murder and caught Songer and an accomplice as they tried to flee. Songer, who is white, received the death penalty and was scheduled for execution in 1985 when Patrick, then a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, won Songer a reprieve and a reduction in sentence on appeal.
Patrick successfully argued that Songer hadn’t been sentenced fairly because he wasn’t able to present evidence of his good character during the sentencing hearing. Now, under Florida law, Songer is eligible for parole and the murdered patrolman’s family, including his now grown daughter, have to argue before Florida’s parole board to keep him in prison.
With talk radio, columnists and the blogosphere now armed with enough anti-Patrick fodder to last several years, it's hard to imagine how the Democrat will regain his momentum. Voters have got to be alarmed by the severity of these developments.
Supposed "independent" gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos is again doing the dirty work for Democrat Deval Patrick during a statewide debate now underway in Springfield, Massachusetts. At this point, there's something truly fishy about Christy's candidacy: it's obvious his only purpose is to aid Patrick, a Howard Dean / Ned Lamont- style extremist.
Right out of the gate, Mihos repeated his angry, spiteful attacks on GOP Lt Gov Healey, allowing Patrick to avoid appearing mean. With Sleazy Christy running interference, the Democrat is able to look as though he's above the fray.
Mihos continued to interrupt Healey, doing what he could to block her responses and undermine her presentation. His campaign is truly dirty and that's become obvious to many. Given the relatively few proactive issues on Christy's plate, it's a wonder why he is running, other than to continue his unhinged, stalker- like attacks against Healey. Yet he doesn't have an unkind word for the Democrat- run legislature or Patrick.
Healey, for her part, is working harder to come across as poised, confident and less likely to be shaken by Christy's relentless attacks. Whether this improvement is enough to improve her poll standing is for now unclear. Meanwhile, she still needs to let us know why she would like to be governor. If she were to be asked that simple question, it would be interesting to hear the answer. Where's the fire in her belly?
Nonetheless, it is truly time to exclude Mihos and Green Party candidate Grace Ross from the remaining forums. Both have had two primetime opportunities to express their positions and even dominate the proceedings, despite polling results in the low single digits. We've heard relatively little from Patrick at this point, so let's end his free pass once and for all.
During the few opportunities we've had to hear Patrick, he comes across as oddly bland and overly vague, with little to say that would excite voters. Where's the passion? Suddenly, he's become downright boring.
That's a far cry from the Dean- like approach he took during the primary election. Voters still know little about his true nature and what he would do if elected. It's hard to believe he's doing this well in the polls.
One benefit to this debate: as it is being held in Springfield, Boston- centric candidates are forced to pretend they care about the rest of the state, especially its long- troubled larger cities.
To Kerry Healey's campaign, there should be no mystery: their gubernatorial candidate simply must improve her debate performance tonight if she is to have any chance of overtaking Democrat Deval Patrick in the polls.
But so far, independent candidate Christy Mihos has created such a noisy sideshow that Patrick has been all but forgotten in recent days. Strangely quiet after the primary, he either believes he can coast to victory, or has already run out of things to say.
With Patrick as a still- unknown presence in Bay State politics, whether he is truly up to the rigors of campaigning, much less governing, is not yet known.
In the last debate, however, Patrick was content to sit back and watch as attack dog Mihos tore Healey apart in a way that many saw as unreasonable. Meanwhile, when Kerry could get a word in, she didn't project her voice well enough and seemed somewhat uncomfortable in the room.
This time, Healey must show authority and confidence, while at the same time not being afraid to go on the attack a bit more. She'll have to focus on Patrick more and ignore the angry rantings of the untrustworthy Mihos.
Yes, the pressure's on and Healey simply must deliver a home run tonight in order to keep this race competitive. Otherwise, Patrick could very well run way with a lead that proves impossible to overcome, simply by letting Mihos do his dirty work.
Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey steps onto the debate stage tonight seeking to keep front-running Democratic gubernatorial rival Deval Patrick in her sights - and to stay out of independent Christy Mihos’ target range.
“It’s going to be great,” she told reporters at a press conference at her campaign headquarters yesterday. “It’s going to be great.”
The second clash of the general election campaign - this one in Springfield tonight - is Healey’s chance to rebound from last week’s Herald-Fox 25 debte, during which she was hounded by Mihos even as she sought to ignore him.
Healey has spent the week pounding away at Patrick with TV ads and press conferences essentially labeling him a tax-and-spend liberal.
She has said that she considers the election a two-person race and suggested last week that a one-on-one debate against Patrick would help diffuse some of the “noise” of a multicandidate exchange.
But Mihos as well as Green-Rainbow candidate Grace Ross will be on the stage at American International College tonight.
As polls show her trailing Patrick by double-digit numbers, Healey said her focus is going to be pointing out the issues where she and Patrick differ, including taxes and spending plans - in addition to showing voters that she’s more than Gov. Mitt Romney’s lieutenant.
That's because no one has been able to verify Christy's claim that Healey once called former Republican Acting Governor Jane Swift "my hero", according to the report. In fact, the charge is apparently based entirely on Mihos's own supposed recollections.
Swift, an eccentric, unelected governor who served before Mitt Romney, is unpopular in the Bay State, having retreated to town life in northwestern Massachusetts after leaving her position. Her relatively brief tenure is generally seen as a period of incompetence on Beacon Hill.
Since there are no media reports from the time that back up Christy's claim, it is quite possible that the angry independent challenger is simply making it up.
Mihos remark on Healey's hero mystifies her campaign
It was one of the more memorable moments of the Sept. 25 debate: Independent Christy Mihos teased Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey for allegedly having called former acting governor Jane Swift her ``hero."
Mihos made the remark as he ranted against Swift for axing him from the Turnpike Authority. For Mihos, who clearly considers Swift a political nemesis, likening Healey to her was meant as an insult.
``You're my hero, Christy," Healey shot back dryly. ``You're my hero."
A search of newspaper archives produced no record of the hero remark, however, and the Healey campaign said it had no idea what Mihos was talking about.
But Mihos, through a spokeswoman, contended that he personally heard Healey make the comment on at least one occasion at a Republican fund-raiser in 2001, when Healey was chairwoman of the state party.
``He has a clear recollection of her saying it," spokeswoman Nicole Nionakis said late last week. Mihos couldn't recall the context, she said.
Healey campaign manager Tim O'Brien said in an e-mail that Mihos is misinformed if he's trying to link Healey with Swift.
``We know in 1999 Christy wasn't paying too much attention to cost overruns and construction quality at the Big Dig," O'Brien said by e-mail. ``Apparently he wasn't paying too much attention either in 2002 when Kerry Healey and Mitt Romney pushed Jane Swift out of the governor's office by criticizing her tenure."
When even your own family has had enough, isn't it time to back off?
After revelations in the Boston media today that independent gubernatorial candidate Christy Mihos's brother and sister are now on record as supporters of Republican Lt Gov Kerry Healey, however, it seems unlikely that Mihos will tone down his outrageous bullying anytime soon.
Granted, the Mihos family rift goes back years, but there is evidence that at least some of the conflict does relate to issues with his campaign claims.
With another major debate between the candidates set for tonight, all eyes will be not only on Healey, where a better performance is a must, but also on Mihos, who could very easily lock himself out of future forums if he continues the angry antics that generated outrage during the last televised event.
So far, he seems determined to throw the election to Democrat Deval Patrick.
Gall in the family: Mihos kin back Healey, smack Christy
In a vicious political backstabbing, Christy Mihos’ own brother and sister have thrown their financial support behind Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, with one sibling saying the convenience store magnate has “embarrassed” the family with “despicable” attacks on his GOP rival.
James Mihos, who once ran the Christy’s Market chain with his politician brother, and his wife, Linda, have each given the maximum $500 donation to the Healey campaign. Mihos’ sister, Marlene Mihos-Bucuvalas, made a $100 donation to Healey this weekend. None have donated to Mihos.
As if the turncoat political contributions weren’t enough, James Mihos fired off a biting e-mail to Healey supporters, saying he and his wife were “pleased to have recently contributed to the Lt. Governor’s campaign.”
“We do so because we believe that Kerry Healey is the most qualified candidate amongst the four contenders but also in part because we are embarrassed by the way my brother Christy has treated the Lt. Governor during the campaign,” the e-mail states.
James Mihos also chastised his brother for showing “disrespect” to Healey and described his conduct in the race as “abhorrent.”
“We sincerely hope that in a small way our donation will mitigate Christy’s despicable behavior,” concludes the e-mail.
A spokeswoman for Christy Mihos declined comment and Mihos did not return calls. James Mihos and Marlene Mihos-Bucuvalas did not return calls. The Healey campaign also refused comment.
News of the family political split comes as Mihos - already under fire for relentless attacks on Healey - faces off in a debate tonight against the lieutenant governor, Democrat Deval Patrick and Green-Rainbow candidate Grace Ross. In last week’s first debate, sponsored by the Herald and Fox25, Mihos went for Healey’s jugular, blasting her as ineffective and out of touch.
The flap is just the latest sign of turmoil between Mihos and his siblings. In March, his sister accused him of lying in his political bio about paying his own way through college - an accusation Mihos later acknowledged was true. The two have not spoken in years.
From: Jim Mihos Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 11:46 AM Subject: Donation
My wife and I are pleased to have recently contributed to the Lt Governors campaign. We do so because we believe that Kerry Healey is the most qualified candidate amongst the four contenders but also in part because we are embarrassed by the way my brother Christy has treated the Lt Governor during the campaign.
While he may disagree with some of her positions his disrespect for the office of the Lt Governor and Kerry Healey as an individual is abhorrent to us. We sincerely hope that in a small way our donation will mitigate Christys despicable behavior.
That was the message from Democrats furious that Republican gubernatorial candidate Kerry Healey would dare to use their recorded praise of her past deeds in a campaign ad.
To make matters worse, she’s now thinking about making a new ad out of yesterday’s press conference, after Democratic lawmakers said they stood by their initial remarks.
The Dems are demanding that Healey take the offending spot off the air, calling it a ploy to mislead voters into thinking they back her.
The ad, which debuted over the weekend, features Democratic Sen. Steven Baddour and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley praising Healey’s work on criminal justice issues last week as Healey signed a tough new sex offender law.
Baddour said the ad “represents some of the worst things about politics. I’m thoroughly disappointed that her campaign would intentionally distort my role in this event.”
In the ad, Baddour is shown at the press conference saying: “She deserves a great deal of admiration and respect,” while Conley said: “Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey put in place a very good law.” The ad ends with a clip of Attorney General Tom Reilly’s pre-primary comments calling Patrick “soft on crime.”
This is exactly the kind of campaigning that will be necessary for Healey to win in November. It puts opponents in an uncomfortable situation that's hard to explain away easily.
According to today'sBoston Globe, Democrat Deval Patrick is 25 points ahead of Republican Lt Gov Kerry Healey. So is the race already over?
Not even close, for three big reasons:
--- The poll was taken just after Patrick's huge Democrat primary victory and before any real examination of his record had occurred.
--- Keep in mind, this is a Boston Globe / WBZ - TV survey, so take with a grain of salt any such effort that comes from two of the area's most liberal news outlets. The Globe has been an enthusiastic supporter of Patrick to date.
--- And, as even the article admits, Patrick's extreme- left views are at odds with a majority of Bay State voters.
Democrat Deval L. Patrick holds a commanding lead over Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey in the race for governor, even though a majority of voters oppose his positions on immigration, income taxes, and crime, a new Boston Globe/CBS4 poll indicates.
Fifty-five percent of voters surveyed supported Patrick, while Healey, the Republican nominee, was backed by 30 percent. Independent Christy Mihos received 7 percent, and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Grace Ross got 1 percent. Six percent said they were undecided.
Healey's battle to close the gap between her and Patrick will be made difficult by her low personal popularity with the voters. Forty-two percent of those surveyed had an unfavorable opinion, while 40 percent viewed her favorably . By comparison, Patrick, fresh off his huge primary win on Sept. 19, received a rating of 63 percent favorable, 16 percent unfavorable .
Governor Mitt Romney, whose voter appeal has eroded significantly in the last year, also seems to be a drag on Healey's candidacy. Forty-five percent of those surveyed said Healey's role as Romney's lieutenant governor would make them less likely to vote for her, while 25 percent said they would be more likely to support her, and 24 percent said it made no difference.
Romney was viewed favorably by 40 percent of those surveyed and unfavorably by 48 percent, the worst rating since he took office in early 2003. In March, 49 percent of voters surveyed by the Globe's pollster gave Romney a favorable rating, and 41 percent viewed him unfavorably.
Asked about the direction of the state, 57 percent of the voters surveyed said they believe Massachusetts is seriously off-track, and 34 percent feel the state is headed in the right direction. In March 2005, a Globe poll suggested that 47 percent said the state was on the right track and that 40 percent thought things were headed in the wrong direction.
Andrew E. Smith, the director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, which conducted the poll, said Healey's best hope of overtaking Patrick is to describe him as an ultra liberal out of touch with voters' concerns. But he said that may difficult because the electorate views him as a positive, optimistic person.
Smith is wrong here: most of the electorate hasn't much of an impression at all of Patrick, an unknown in Massachusetts before a year or so ago. And it's hard to believe that terribly rigid opinions of Healey have yet formed, either.
Next, theGlobe spells out where Patrick's extreme views are decidedly out of touch with Massachusetts voters:
Healey, while facing an uphill climb to catch Patrick, can find some good news in the poll, which suggested that voters agree with her on several of the hot-button issues she has highlighted as she tries to draw distinctions with Patrick.
For example, she has criticized Patrick for supporting a proposal to grant driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants and for backing in-state tuition rates at public colleges for undocumented immigrants.
The poll suggests that voters oppose the tuition break for undocumented immigrants by a margin of 59 percent to 30 percent. Sixty-three percent opposed giving undocumented immigrants driver's licenses, and 29 percent supported the idea.
Healey also is in line with voter sentiment on another issue aimed at non citizens: requiring people to provide photo identification in order to vote. Sixty-eight percent supported the idea, and 24 percent opposed it.
Voters also sided with Healey on proposals to limit employers' access to criminal background information that is now available under the Criminal Offender Record Information law. Patrick has said he would support efforts to limit access, siding with the advocates for ``CORI reform," who argue that a criminal record unfairly haunts people who want to make a clean start.
Patrick's position -- which Healey said is proof he is ``soft on crime" -- got scant support from voters. Twenty-three percent backed the call to limit access to criminal records, while 64 percent agreed with Healey that the records should be available.
Healey had a narrower advantage on the issue of taxes. Asked whether they support a rollback of the state income tax rate, which was approved by voters in 2000, 50 percent of those surveyed said they favored the rollback and 40 percent opposed it. Support for the rollback is widespread across the category of voters. Republicans and Healey's voters are the strongest backers.
The result: this race is still up for grabs. It's up to Healey to get a lot more aggressive, very, very quickly.
Part of the Radio Equalizer family, Bay State Showdown: 2006 is here to track every nasty twist and turn in this year's key Massachusetts races, especially the epic gubernatorial battle. Brian Maloney is a columnist, radio host, blogger and has appeared on cable shows such as the O'Reilly Factor.