Keller at Large

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller has had the rock group The Who on his mind ever since he heard incumbent Ed Markey claim his victory over Joe Kennedy represented change. Change? When every congressional incumbent breezed in Massachusetts?

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Revenue numbers, Clark on elections, and more

Department of Revenue today is expected to release closely watched data on state tax collections for  August, amid pandemic-era revenue shortfalls the state has been experiencing.

Cape Cod Reopening Task Force holds press briefing on the economic and public health outlook for Labor Day weekend and the region’s economy beyond the summer months, 9 a.m.

— The Edward M. Kennedy Institute hosts U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark for a virtual conversation about legislative priorities, the current state of Congress, and the upcoming election, with the Globe’s Kimberly Atkins moderating, 1 p.m.

Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance holds a virtual press conference with students and parents from Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Framingham and Worcester to discuss their safety concerns around schools reopening, 1 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern of Worcester will talk about how Massachusetts Democrats can influence close Congressional races in other states where Democrats could flip Republican seats, 7 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: 22 new deaths, 8,853 total deaths, 288 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts .

Still counting: Auchincloss holds narrow lead over Mermell in yet-to-be-called 4th race

Maybe they’ll know by today. The Globe’s Matt Stout, SHNS’s Matt Murphy and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg report that Secretary of State William Galvin has gotten an extension to keep counting mail-in ballots today to try to determine the winner of Tuesday’s Fourth Congressional Dem primary race. Jake Auchincloss has a 1,700 vote lead over Jesse Mermell in counting so far – and it looks like he may well win the race. But we’ll see. Looks can be deceiving.

How Ed Markey won (and Joe Kennedy lost) the Senate primary race

There’s a lot of post-election analysis this morning about how and why Ed Markey managed to soundly defeat Joseph Kennedy in Tuesday’s Dem U.S. Senate primary race. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports it was partly Markey’s “seizing the mantle” of progressive causes. WGBH’s David Bernstein reports Markey actually showed a “flash of Kennedy magic.” The Globe’s Christina Prignano has four takeways on Markey’s victory while a three-reporter team at WBUR has three takeaway points. Interestingly, they both note Markey’s big win in Boston, thanks partly to Marty Walsh.

And, finally, Eileen McNamara at WBUR has a piece headlined “Enough With The Kennedy Dynasty Hot Takes. Joe Lost Because He Was Impatient,” with his defeat the direct result of a “promising but impatient young man’s sense of entitlement.”

So was Markey’s victory a huge triumph for progressives?

The Globe’s Victoria McGrane reports how Ed Markey’s defeat of Joe Kennedy in the U.S. Senate primary race highlights how progressive causes and goals are seeping into Democratic campaigns in general. Meanwhile, the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips, in a somewhat convoluted column, tries to argue that both Markey and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal’s victories – even though the latter defeated a progressive – should bolster the progressive cause.

But … but … didn’t a lot of progressive candidates also fail on Tuesday in Massachusetts? Yes, they did. See post below. So it sure looks like Markey’s triumph is being blown out of proportion a bit. And it’s partly being blown out of proportion by President Trump, who dearly wants to paint Democrats as crazy lefties (Politico), and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who dearly wants to paint progressives as unstoppable idealists. I.e. they both have vested interests in spinning Tuesday’s results in Massachusetts. The Globe’s Brittany Bowker has more on the various, and sometimes contradictory, reactions to Tueday’s Senate race in Massachusetts.

And, yes, it was an incumbents and establishment night on Tuesday

President Trump and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can spin and frame the Senate election all they want. But most local journalists are reporting that Tuesday’s results, taken as a whole, point to incumbents successfully holding off mostly progressive challengers in Dem races.

WGBH’s Mike Deehan and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) report that 17 of the 18 incumbent state representatives who faced challengers were returned to office on Tuesday – many of whom will continue to faithfully stand by House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Meanwhile, Jon Keller, in his Keller at Large on MassterList podcast today (see post above), says it was a clean sweep for congressional incumbents as well – and centrist Jake Auchincloss may well win the open 4th Congressional set.

And, finally, from the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld: “Voters stick with same, tired old pols in non-change election.”

Neal’s ‘meat and potatoes’ victory over progressive arugula

One more it-was-an-incumbents-night post, from MassLive’s Jim Kinney, who reports how U.S. Richard Neal’s “meat and potatoes” appeal trumped Alex Morse’s progressive-change appeal in the First Congressional District on Tuesday.  


Baker PAC does well backing incumbent Dems

Speaking of incumbents, CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports that a super PAC tied to Gov. Charlie Baker did “very well on primary night,” with many of its favored candidates winning. But the PAC donated mostly to incumbent Dems and Republicans, skewing how effective the PAC really was on Tuesday, Mohl writes.

Other PACs were busy Tuesday. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “Education Super Pac Spent Heavily to Boost Moran.”


The mail-in vote process: It worked on Tuesday. But Galvin’s not sure about November

Yes, there’s been count delays, confusion and other problems associated with Tuesday’s expanded mail-in voting in Massachusetts. But Secretary of State Bill Galvin and Common Cause (MassLive), the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham and others (which includes us) were pleasantly surprised how smoothly, relatively speaking, mail-in voting went the other day.

But Tuesday was a primary election – and Galvin says he’s “very concerned” about the November general election, when turnout is expected to be much higher and the potential for trouble rises accordingly, as CBS Boston reports.

One intrepid reporter tells all about how she voted both by mail and in person

Officially, she didn’t vote twice. But unofficially she did. In a piece headlined “I voted by mail and in person; Here’s how,” MassLive’s Steph Solis explains the somewhat confusing, and somewhat concerning, process that allows mail-in voters to vote again at polling stations if their mail-in votes haven’t been processed yet. And the state does have a “track my ballot” website that allows people to confirm the status of their mail-in votes.


It’s so clear: McGovern draws GOP challenger who embraces QAnon conspiracy

U.S. Rep. James McGovern had clear sailing in Tuesday’s primary–now the fun begins. McGovern’s GOP opponent in the 2nd District, Tracy Lovvorn, is drawing national attention as one of a growing number of would-be lawmakers who have shown support for the QAnon conspiracy theory. Darragh Roche atNewsweek reports Lovvorn has shared social media posts friendly to the theory’s followers–making her one of 21 such candidates slated to appear on ballots across the U.S. in November. 


Three’s a crowd? More twists in Cape House race

Former heavyweight boxer Kip Diggs earned a spot on the November ballot by winning a write-in campaign for the Democratic nod in the 2nd Barnstable district on Tuesday, but may again face the foe he just vanquished–as well as the GOP incumbent, William Crocker. Geoff Spillane at the Cape Cod Times reports the second Democratic running a write-in campaign on Tuesday, Michael Mecenas, had earlier filed enough signatures to be on the final ballot as an independent. 

Cape Cod Times

Baker actually rode the T and … he really returned. And his fate is still known

Switching to non-election news, we don’t know which is bigger news. That Gov. Charlie Baker actually rode the T earlier this year. Or that he lodged a complaint about a dead animal along the T tracks. The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro has both. And cue Charlie on the MTA.

Boston Globe

COVID-19 comeback? More communities slipping into ‘moderate risk’ infection category

The Herald’s Rick Sobey and Lisa Kashinsky and CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl report on troubling COVID-19 data that shows that the number of moderate-risk communities in Massachusetts has recently risen from 30 to 48. Meanwhile, infection rates in eight cities and towns designated as “high-risk” hotspots remain stubbornly high.

Going too far: State cracks down on assisted living facility for locking dementia patients in their rooms

This is taking quarantining way too far. From the Globe’s Andrea Estes: “State officials have suspended the certification of a Boston assisted living facility after inspectors discovered that employees were locking dementia patients in their rooms to enforce a quarantine aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19.” The facility in question is Landmark at Longwood in Boston.

Boston Globe

Despite pandemic (or maybe because of the pandemic), health-care remains lobbying king on Beacon Hill

CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports that lobbying remains alive and well on Beacon Hill, despite the pandemic and physical closure of the State House this past spring. The traditional biggest spenders – topped by health care groups – just kept on spending during the first six months of the year, according to lobbyist disclosure filings.


Meanwhile, highest-paid hospital CEOs saw 87% compensation boost over five years

Has your pay nearly doubled in the past five years? The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett has the details on how some of your insurance premium and tax dollars are spent at the area’s top hospitals.

BBJ (pay wall)

Economic engine: Report cites Devens’ strong job growth

It’s working. The number of jobs attributed to Devens, the former Army base turned economic development zone, has doubled since 2012, according to a new report from the Donahue Institute. Mark Conti at the Telegram reports more than 40 percent of the 6,092 jobs are in the manufacturing sector. 


Pandemic’s latest restaurant victim: The Pour House

This one hurts. Our once favorite greasy cheeseburgers joint in the Back Bay, The Pour House, is now up for sale after “34 glorious years,” its owner says. The Globe’s Jeremy Fox has more on the latest pandemic restaurant victim.

Getting to the Point with Congresswoman Katherine Clark

Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D, MA-05), Democratic Caucus Vice Chair, will participate in a conversation about the current state of Congress. Moderated by Kimberly Atkins, Senior Opinion Writer at The Boston Globe, she will talk about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, her legislative initiatives, and the upcoming elections.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

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


Broad Institute corona catchers for 108 universities – Boston Herald

Time to pour one out for the Pour House – Universal Hub


Fewer UMass Dartmouth students on campus will take toll on local economy – Herald News

Braintree council backs ‘thin blue line’ flag – Patriot Ledger

Infected crew disrupts Steamship Authority – Martha’s Vineyard Times


Trump says people in North Carolina should vote twice – Reuters

Biden posts stunning monthly cash haul: $365 million – Politico

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