Monday, January 25, 2010

Blame Game Over U.S. Senate Race -- and Flip-Flop of the Year Award

The Democratic Party and its supporters wasted no time to start passing the blame over the loss their candidate, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, in the U.S. Senate special election last Tuesday to State Senator Scott Brown.

Political reporter Bob Katzen writes in his Beacon Hill Roll Call column about how the blame could be passed all the way back to 2004 -- when the state legislature passed a law changing the way a new senator is chosen. At the time, Senator John Kerry was the Democratic nominee for president; if he would have won that race, the law up until 2004 gave the governor the power to appoint his successor in the senate.

And the governor at that time was none other than Mitt Romney, a Republican.

If the 2004 bill had never been passed, then Senator Paul Kirk, temporary appointee of Governor Deval Patrick, would continue in his post until after the November 2012 election for the seat.

While the 2004 bill passed the legislature overwhelmingly, finger-wagger Jon Keller singles out Milton State Sen. Brian Joyce and Mattapoisett Rep. William Straus for their roles behind the bill.

Locally, we can ask: How did our Allston-Brighton representatives vote on the 2004 bill to change the way a senate vacancy is filled from an appointment to a special election? A "yes" vote was in favor of a special election instead of a gubernatorial appointment.

Rep. Kevin Honan - Yes
Rep. Michael Moran - Was not yet elected
former Sen. Anthony Galluccio - Was not yet elected
Sen. Steven Tolman - Yes

Note that Rep. Moran played a more recent role in September 2009 in chairing the legislature's committee on elections that reformed the 2004 law in order to provide for a temporary gubernatorial appointment pending the outcome of the special election.

Honan, Moran, Galluccio, and Tolman all voted for the September 2009 bill.

Reps. Honan and Moran both voted against a similar bill in 2006 that would have granted the same temporary appointment powers to the governor. They both win the "Flip-Flop of the Year" award for Allston-Brighton.

No comments: