( – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)
In 1948, Democrats in Massachusetts were tired of seeing statewide candidates win in districts held by Republican lawmakers. They also knew that in order for their candidate Paul Dever to beat incumbent Republican Governor Robert Bradford, they had to do better than in 1946 when he beat Maurice Tobin. Tobin had been blocked by a Republican legislature in passing his liberal agenda, and Democratic leaders knew that for Dever to avoid the same fate as Tobin in 1950, they needed a Democratic House to help pass his agenda. Democratic leaders targeted 40 Republican held seats, and recruited candidates community by community to run in them, many seats they had previously left uncontested.
John McCormack (Democratic Party Whip and leader of the Massachusetts delegation) offered his support and encouraged O’Neill to campaign hard to make the Democratic Party the majority party in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for the first time in a century. Their effort paid off as they captured 38 out of 40 GOP districts targeted by the Democratic strategy. Tip O’Neill became the first Democratic Speaker of the House.
This is a great lesson we should take to heart. It was great seeing pickups in the House and Senate this year in addition to Governor-Elect Baker. Rest assured, the Democrats are already planning on reversing these pick ups. Take a look over at Blue Mass Group.
I know it’s tough running a campaign in which you know the odds are long to win. I’ve won elections, and lost them. This was the first time I ran knowing that in all likelihood, unless we caught lightning in a bottle, would not prevail. We managed to make my opponent and the Democratic Party spend over $50k on a seat they didn’t worry about in 2012, and that was $50,000 not directed to Coakley or other Democratic candidates. We spent about $3,000. I applaud those that ran similar campaigns in other difficult races.
If you live in a district with a long term Democratic incumbent, but your district voted for Baker, I ask you to start planning for 2016 and 2018 now. Either start asking around for whom the most popular person is in your district, and convince them to run as a Republican, or consider running yourself. A run in 2016, even in a tough Presidential election year will give a candidate great name recognition for 2018. The opportunity exists to grow our party further than the gains made this year. There are a lot of seats that SHOULD be held by Republicans, and a lot of others that could be if the Democratic Party has to spend resources in Suffolk, the liberal towns in Middlesex County, Western Mass, and Springfield and Worcester.
Start asking around now, and let’s all work together building the party for the future. If you are interested, I urge you to attend a Post-Election Review/Debriefing Tuesday, November 18th at 7pm at the Leominster Veterans’ Center. We will be discussing and reviewing data, and laying out a plan to begin recruiting candidates for the next election cycle. Remember, a successful campaign for 2016 begins with fundraising before the end of THIS year.