Keller at Large

The comfort food election

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller notes the emergence of ‘compulsive stress eating’ during the pandemic and wonders whether voters might do the same during today’s primary election and the November election, effectively going with their comfort-food issues and pols, such as Ed ‘SpaghettiOs’ Markey, Joe ‘Lasagna’ Biden and Donald ‘Mr. Pillow’ Trump. We’ll see. 

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Primary Election Day, evictions moratorium hearing, and more

— It’s primary election day and Massachusetts polls in many communities open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. 

— U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, will meet voters at Holy Name Parish School in West Roxbury, followed by events in Hyde Park, Dorchester, Grove Hall, Worcester, Fall River, New Bedford and Nubian Square.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, who is running for re-election in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary contest, greets voters in Jamaica Plain in the morning, followed by a similar event in Springfield at noon.

— U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf continues hearing arguments on whether to issue a preliminary injunction temporarily lifting the Massachusetts moratorium on most evictions and foreclosures that runs through Oct. 17, 1:30 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker and Treasurer Deb Goldberg holds their regular monthly meeting, 3:30 p.m.

For the most comprehensive listing of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available), as well as MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

Reminder to readers: SHNS Coronavirus Tracker available for free

A reminder to our readers as the coronavirus crisis unfolds: The paywalled State House News Service, which produces MASSterList, is making its full Coronavirus Tracker available to the community for free on a daily basis each morning via ML. SHNS Coronavirus Tracker.

The coronavirus numbers: 11 new deaths, 8,827 total deaths, 301 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Primary Day: State’s turnout could be the highest in 20 years

WGBH’s Mike Deehan and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) report that Secretary of State Bill Galvin expects Massachusetts to set a new record for voter turnout in today’s federal and state primary elections, thanks largely to the expansion of mail-in voting this year. Deehan and Lannan have the numbers.

Btw, State House News Service has an excellent summary (pay wall) of all the congressional and legislative races today.

Then again, primary results could be delayed until Wednesday

Today is not just primary day. It’s also a major test of the state’s expansion of mail-in voting this year. And Secretary of State William Galvin is already warning that voters may have to wait for the results, possibly/probably until Wednesday, as a result of the huge volume of mail-in ballots, as the Herald’d Erin Tiernan reports.

And then there’s this, via Steph Solis at MassLive: “In Massachusetts, mail-in voters can cast their ballot at a polling place in case of USPS delays; Here’s how the state prevent duplicate votes.” Duplicate ballots? They better be right about the preventative measures. Michael Cronin at the Gloucester Times reports that Cape Ann town clerks are nervous about elections held in the middle of a pandemic.

The NYT has a piece on how expanded mail-in voting is going across the nation – and it lists Massachusetts as one of the states that “maybe” gave mail-in voters enough time to send in their ballots. But fear not, all you worrywarts. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “Galvin Confident Voting Locations Will Be Well-Staffed.”

Boston Herald

Establishment Under Siege Day

WGBH’s Adam Reilly and the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld have good stories this morning about how many incumbents – including Ed Markey, Richard Neal, Seth Moulton and Stephen Lynch – are trying to fend off insurgent challengers in today’s primary elections. We’re talking mostly progressive rebels trying to knock off establishment candidates. And sometimes it’s progressive rebels trying to knock off progressive establishment candidates.

The U.S. Senate race: The Final Hours

Obviously, there are a lot of stories this morning on the marquee primary election of the day, i.e. the U.S. Senate Dem primary race between Ed Markey and Joe Kennedy. And the contest continues to attract national attention. From the NYT: “In Massachusetts, Markey Outflanks Kennedy by Running as Bold Insurgent.” An insurgent incumbent? Okay.

In other U.S. Senate-race news, from WBUR’s Anthony Brooks: “Markey, Kennedy Make Final Push For Votes Ahead Of Tuesday’s Primary. From WGBH: “Though Markey Is Up In The Polls, His Re-Election Isn’t A Sure Thing, Says Analyst Jon Keller.”


Today is the general election for seven lucky legislative winners

Primary Day? It’s effectively General Election Day for Massachusetts voters who will likely elect seven new members to the state House of Representatives today. The reason? The winners of seven of today’s Dem primary races face no Republican opponents on the November ballot, reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall – scroll down to legislative races).

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Telegram blames union for ‘Worchester’ blunder

The buck stops with the … advertiser. That’s the Worcester Telegram’s response to the misspelling of its home city in a full-page campaign ad taken out by a union on behalf of Joe Kennedy. Universal Hub has more.

Universal Hub

‘Biden is on track to lose the Electoral College’

Bet that headline caught your attention. John Ellis, a former regular op-ed columnist for the Globe and now only an occasional op-ed columnist for the Globe, writes that Joe Biden may have the popular vote locked up in November. But not the electoral-college vote. It was the most-read piece at the Globe as of early this morning.

Boston Globe

Diluted influence: Berkshire voters lament loss of Congressional dominance in western Mass.

Whoever wins, the Berkshires loses. As the First Congressional District primary lurches to a close, Danny Jin at the Berkshire Eagle notes that no one from Berkshire County has held the seat since the early 1990s–after nearly a full century of having the seat filled by someone from the state’s westernmost county. And the post-2010 Census redrawing brought Springfield into the district – and it’s been all Hampden County domination since.

Berkshire Eagle

Stand down: Baker rescinds National Guard activation order

The Globe’s Jeremy Fox and MassLive’s Tanner Stening report that Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday told National Guard troops, who were activated over the weekend amid nationwide protests and tensions, to stand down. And, yes, the original activation order had to do with those protests and tensions. 

The Globe’s Joan Vennochi says the activation was a “wise preemptive preparation” by the centrist Baker.

Showdown deepens as Andover teachers refuse to enter schools

Is this a harbinger of things to come in other districts? Hundreds of teachers in Andover refused to enter schools to begin professional development as ordered by the district, deepening a showdown over teacher and student safety as a new school year looms, Genevieve DiNatale at the Eagle-Tribune reports. 

Christopher Huffaker at Andover Patch reports the School Committee voted later in the day to authorize legal action against the union, including asking state officials to declare the work action illegal.  And then there’s this statewide development, via SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Teachers, Nurses Detail 16 Back-to-School Concerns.”

Eagle Tribune

Math malfunction: GPA calculation errors led to scores not admitted to elite Boston schools

Some administrators apparently need some math lessons at BPS. From the Herald’s Alexi Cohan: “An error made in calculating grade point averages led to some Boston Public Schools students missing out on exam school invitations, while others were admitted to the schools when they shouldn’t have been, the district announced Monday.”

CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt has more on the miscalculations that led to 62 students being denied exam school seats.

Boston Herald

Wednesdays are now senior days at some RMV sites

Another pandemic-driven change to services – and a welcome one for the elderly. Steph Solis at MassLive reports that five Registry of Motor Vehicles service centers — in Watertown, Danvers, Leominster, New Bedford and South Yarmouth – have temporarily designated Wednesdays to customers 75 and older whose extended driver’s license or ID card will soon expire. Solis has all the when, where and why details.


Fours Sports Bar closes — and Faneuil Hall retailers may not be far behind

CBS Boston reports that the legendary (somewhat) Fours sport bar near TD Garden is closing after 44 years. The Globe’s Dan Shaughnessey bemoans the loss of the “best Boston sports bar of all time.” We disagree with the “best” description, saving that designation for our favorite sports dive of all time. But we know what he means.

The pandemic-era demise of the Fours comes only days after Cheers Boston closed in Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall, where the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports there’s an awful lot of empty stalls these days.

CBS Boston

And, finally, Somerville lays out plans for Phase 3 reopening

From WCVB: “Somerville, the last remaining Massachusetts community that has not entered phase three of the state’s economic reopening plan, could begin reopening additional businesses next week.” And we’ll also get to see how many businesses don’t reopen starting next week.


Marijuana regulators approve shift to new delivery-retail model to promote equity

We apparently have a new category of marijuana retailers in Massachusetts. The Cannabis Control Commission, looking for ways to increase the number of minority-owned firms within the state’s emerging pot industry, yesterday approved a new system in which cannabis-delivery companies can buy their weed directly from wholesalers and sell and deliver the products to consumers.

Needless to say, owners of bricks-and-mortar pot shops are not happy. CommonWealth magazine’s Shira Schoenberg and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) have the details

Lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair (and bloodied telegram) to be auctioned off

A lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair – and a bloodied telegram that it was wrapped in soon after his assassination – is now up for auction by a Boston-based company, reports Heather Adams at MassLive. They’re expecting bids to reach $75,000 or more.


The thin white line: Police ranks still largely white in many Mass. cities

Amid nationwide protests over police shootings of African Americans and calls for police reforms, WCVB’s Karen Anderson reports that many municipal police departments across the state remain overwhelmingly white. We’re talking 75 percent and up white in cities such as Quincy, Lynn, Everett, Worcester, New Bedford and Lowell.


Former Marine convicted of murder gets state’s first commutation hearing in six years

Speaking of law-enforcement/reform matters, the Globe’s Shelley Murphy reports that Thomas Koonce, a former Marine who was convicted of murdering another man when he was only 20 years old, has become the first Massachusetts inmate to be granted a commutation hearing in six years, i.e. during the Baker administration years. The SJC recently urged the governor to consider commutations and pardons for deserving inmates “to mitigate the spread of COVID-19″ in prisons.

Boston Globe

From now on, it’s GBH, not WGBH

Not even an apostrophe? Yes, WGBH has announced a rebranding of its official name to … GBH. Not ‘GBH. Just GBH. We sure hope they didn’t spend a lot of dough on a marketing consultant. Fyi: Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin has more, including how GBH once stood for Great Blue Hills. He explains.

True feelings: Methuen council votes ‘no confidence’ in highly paid police chief

Stop making us look bad. That’s the message the Methuen City Council hopes to send to Police Chief Joseph Solomon with its unanimous vote last night to declare it has “no confidence” in the chief’s leadership, Andrea Estes at the Globe reports. The main issue: Solomon’s “outrageously excessive” compensation package.

Boston Globe

Desperate times: Campaign seeks to keep Daily Collegian going amid pandemic

It’s come to this. With its print edition on the shelf due to the coronavirus and income from ads plummeting, the UMass Daily Collegian is in danger of defaulting on loans and a group of alumni have launched an online crowdfunding campaign to help boost the student paper’s bottom line, Jim Kinney at MassLive reports. 


His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham discusses his new book, His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope with Michelle Miller, co-host of CBS This Morning: Saturday and CBS News national correspondent.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

US Foreign Policy and Europe

Ambassador (Ret.) Nicholas Burns, Harvard professor of diplomacy and international relations; Robert Mauro, director of the Boston College Irish Institute and Global Leadership Institute; and Alexandra Vacroux, executive director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, discuss US foreign policy challenges and opportunities in Europe.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956

Fredrik Logevall, Harvard University professor of history and international relations and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, discusses his forthcoming book JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956 with George Packer, staff writer at The Atlantic.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Virtual 2020 Corporate Citizenship Awards

Join the Boston Business Journal for our annual Corporate Citizenship Awards.

Boston Business Journal

Priorities Primary Debrief: 2022 & The Future for Massachusetts Democrats

Please join us at 12pm on September 15 for a Priorities Primary Debrief: 2022 & The Future for Massachusetts Democrats. This event will feature a legislative primary overview, a look at some polling we’ve conducted on the 2022 gubernatorial election (campaigns are likely to start as early as November!), and a discussion of voter attitudes.

Priorities for Progress

Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America

Senator Sherrod Brown discusses his new book, Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America, which explores the careers of senators who have also sat at Desk 88 on the Senate floor, including Hugo Black, George McGovern, and Robert F. Kennedy. Senator Jeanne Shaheen moderates.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Today’s Headlines


‘It’s never been this bad’: One-fourth of businesses haven’t reopened at Faneuil Hall due to pandemic – Boston Globe

In reversal, Greater Boston landlords scramble to find renters for Sept. 1 – Boston Business Journal


Task force calls for Amherst to hire chief diversity officer – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Third Steamship Authority crew member tests positive for Covid-19 – Cape Cod Times

With month to go, Salem has low census rate – Salem News


Swift Boat mastermind launched Super PAC to back Trump – Politico

New Trump pandemic adviser pushes controversial ‘herd immunity’ strategy, worrying public health officials – Washington Post

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