Farley-Bouvier Wins Special Election
Democratic nominee Tricia Farley-Bouvier was the winner of the special election on Tuesday. Right, Mayor James Ruberto totes up incoming election numbers.
Speaking at the Crowne Plaza shortly after the polls closed, Farley-Bouvier pledged to supporters: "The next year is about you!"
The Democratic nominee fended off three opponents in an election that saw about 6,000 voters go to the polls, or about 24 percent.
Her victory was slight — 92 votes by some counts — considering her strong backing by the current city administration and deploying some big guns, such as ads with Gov. Deval Patrick.
Hot on her heels was Green-Rainbow Party candidate Mark Miller, who nearly bested former seat holder Christopher Speranzo last year. Speranzo's departure months into his third term for a life appointment in Berkshire Superior Court left a bad taste in the mouths of some voters that Miller had hoped to capitalize on.
He was still excited about the close vote, calling it a "victory for multi-party democracy." Surrounded by supporters at Baba Louie's, he took a jab at the media's coverage of the campaign, especially The Berkshire Eagle that his family once owned as "unfair and appalling."
The Eagle endorsed Farley-Bouvier over the weekend.
Miller said he will not seek a recount but instead devote more time looking into the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Coming in third and fourth, respectively, were indendent Pam Malumphy and Republican Mark Jester.
The excitement was palpable at the Crowne Plaza earlier in the evening as Farley-Bouvier's supporters waited for the numbers to roll in. All but two precincts in the city were open for polling and ballots came in fast and furious.
Friend and former boss Mayor James Ruberto crowed "It's over!" as Farley-Bouvier took an early lead. Miller surged ahead slightly with nine of 12 precincts reporting, but the former city councilor was firmly in front as the final numbers were tallied.
Farley-Bouvier, who's expected to make her first official appearance as representative-elect on Wednesday at a ribbon-cutting at the Conte Federal Building, succinctly summed up the election:
"Democracy in action ... the people have spoke."
3rd Berkshire Candidates Wrap Up Endorsements
As candidates make their final push to get out the vote, individual and organizational supporters have been vocal in announcing their hopes for the winner.
On Sunday, The Berkshire Eagle announced its endorsement of Democratic nominee Tricia Farley-Bouvier for the seat, in contrast to last November when the publication chose not to endorse a candidate in the race between Speranzo, the re-elected incumbent, and the paper's former editor, Mark Miller.
iBerkshires.com has not publicly endorsed any candidate in this race, but has instead collected a list of endorsements received by each candidate.
Republican Mark Jester recently received the endorsement of New Jobs for Massachusetts, a newly formed political advocacy group based in Boxborough. A self-described avid sportsmen, Jester has also received the endorsements of the Massachusetts Motorcycle Political Action Committee, Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts, National Rifle Association, Berkshire County League of Sportsmen Clubs (23 clubs and 3,000-plus members), Pittsfield Sportsmen's Club and Lenox Sportsmen's Club.
Green-Rainbow Party candidate Miller's campaign has garnered a perhaps surprising amount of support among labor unions such as Massachusetts Nurses Association and United Auto Workers, which have traditionally favored Democratic candidates. Other major organizations include Mass Alliance, a statewide coalition of progressive organizations and action groups, Planned Parenthood, and Clean Water Action. While the growing Occupy Berkshire movement kicked off just over a week ago has not officially endorsed any candidate, vocal support for Miller's candidacy was expressed by many participants at their recent rallies, and Miller was seen in attendance at their Lenox rally at Town Hall.
Independent candidate Pam Malumphy told iBerkshires "of the many endorsement questionnaires that were sent to me, I only filled out NARAL's [National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League]. What I've really focused on is going door-to-door and connecting with voters and great volunteers in this community." Malumphy cited as supporters City Councilor Melissa Mazzeo (who has run radio ads supporting Malumphy's campaign), Adam Hersch of Cavalier Management, Rich Vinette, executive director of Lee Development Corp., former Berkshire Chamber Chairwoman June-Roy Martin, and former City Solicitor Kathleen Degnan.
Farley-Bouvier is a favorite of many local and regional Democrats including Mayor James Ruberto (who hired her as his public affairs aide and then promoted her to acting director of administrative services), Rep. Benjamin B. Downing, Rep. Paul Mark, and Gov. Deval Patrick, who was in attendance at a Friday fundraiser held for her at Itam Lodge. Her campaign also offered the following names of local businesspeople and personalities who've publicly endorsed her run: Council President Gerald Lee, former Mayor Kit Dobelle, Tom Geary, Jeanne Massimiano, Carole Siegel, Shirley Edgerton, Mary O'Brien, Mary Rentz and Miguel Gomez. Farley-Bouvier also received the endorsement of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, who had previously endorsed candidate Peter White in the primary.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday for all precincts voting in the special election. A list of polling locations can be found here and on the Election 2011 blog. (Note: Precincts B in both Wards 1 and 5 are in the 4th District.)
Jester Endorsed as 'Jobs Candidate'
"As a state representative, we strongly believe that Mark will fight for initiatives that will help grow jobs in Massachusetts. Mark Jester is the pro-jobs candidate," said Hruby.
NJFM conducted a survey of all the candidates running in the special election on Oct. 18 to fill the vacant 3rd District seat. Jester's survey showed that he has the best understanding of how regulations, high taxes and government bureaucracy can deter job growth, according to Hruby. Moreover, Jester supports immediate reforms that can help the commonwealth's economy.
Jester is the second candidate in the state to receive the distinction of being a "Pro-Jobs Candidate" from New Jobs for Massachusetts. Last month, newly elected state Rep. Keiko Orrall received the first recognition.
Figures supplied by NJFM
NJFM has been sounding the alarm that Massachusetts has a jobs crisis. According to its figures, the commonwealth needs one million jobs in order to satisfy the need for employment.
NJFM officials say the new organization is funded by private small contributions so it does not have a membership list that might face retaliation from the State House for being vocal on issues.
Mike Hruby of Boxborough has been a consultant to large and mid-sized technology companies for more than 20 years. During the course of more than 500 projects, his firm helped companies nationwide enter new markets for their products. Since 2004, he built a data center cooling business for a client based on its patent, and found licensees for corporate technologies. He wrote an award-winning book on corporate growth strategy titled "Technoleverage." He has a master's degree in resource economics from the University of New Hampshire.
Miller Endorsed by Clean Water Action
"Clean Water Action is pleased to endorse Mark Miller for the Massachusetts House in the 3rd Berkshire District in the upcoming special election," said CWA Massachusetts Political Director Jeff Knudsen. "We were impressed by his commitment to protecting our drinking water; reducing global warming pollution; promoting clean renewable power and quality green jobs creation; and to replacing toxic chemicals in children's products with safer alternatives. CWA believes that Mark Miller will be a strong environmental leader and we look forward to working with him in the House."
In addition to CWA, Miller is running with the support of Planned Parenthood, the UAW, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and Mass Alliance.
Malumphy Says Opponent's Anti-Choice Stance Hidden
Following a unity rally for 3rd Berkshire District Democratic nominee, Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Malumphy reached out to Lee Harrison, the chairman of the Berkshire Brigades (the countywide organization for the Democratic Party) to relay that she had learned that their nominee was anti-choice.
Mr. Harrison responded with an email stating, "I guess this response sums it up" and attached a letter written to Massachusetts Democrats by Chairman Walsh.
In the letter, Walsh offered the following:
"Tricia and I don't need to agree on every issue for me to be enthusiastic in my efforts to support her election."
The letter, however, never states what issue or issues Mr. Walsh is referring only leaving further suspicion that Ms. Bouvier's anti-choice stance is being hidden. In this letter, which begins with a reference to Congressman Barney Frank, Mr. Walsh gives the impression that he and Ms. Bouvier disagree on a far less important issue than one that is fundamental to the core of the Massachusetts Democratic Party platform.
"I was offended that Mr. Harrison was so dismissive regarding this crucial issue and equally offended in reading the letter from Chairman Walsh. He begins by making a reference to Congressman Frank which only added another layer of vagary to a letter that never addresses the real issue of Ms. Bouvier being anti-choice," said Malumphy. "What is the Democratic party if it does not uphold its core value in supporting a woman's right to choose?"
Speaking as a former Democrat, Malumphy is a pro-choice advocate currently chairing the Berkshire Commission on the Status of Women and a member of a countywide consortium working to address the critically important issue of teen pregnancy.
[Farley-Bouvier has said she is personally against abortion but supports programs that educate about pregnancy and family planning. In a statement in The Berkshire Eagle, Farley-Bouvier said, "As an elected official, I understand that I am responsible for all of my constituents and their varied needs. ... Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and it is my responsibility to uphold the law. I will not vote to restrict access to or funding for programs and services for women who seek services."]
LETTER FROM JOHN WALSH BELOW
We support Democrats in elections
Like so many things, Barney Frank has the most interesting way of describing situations like this. I once heard the congressman explain that there was only ONCE where he voted for a candidate whom he agreed with on everything. That was himself — the FIRST time he ran. He conceded that by the time he was running for reelection there were a few votes he wasn’t too happy about. I guess the point the congressman was making – and one I agree with – is there are many different factors voters take into consideration when casting their votes for a candidate. Our party is strong because Democratic primary voters are wise in their decision-making and we nominate and elect excellent candidates who hold a wide variety of positions on many issues. As a state party organization, we trust the wisdom of the people who make up our party on the ground and once they have chosen the nominee we do what we can to help them win.
The Democratic primary voters in Pittsfield had a familiar challenge: three talented Democrats running for this one open seat. They chose in Tricia Farley-Bouvier a woman who has worked hard for Democrats and Democratic causes for many years. She ran a grassroots, door-knocking, person-to-person campaign that would make anyone in the BMG community proud. Tricia and I don't need to agree on every issue for me to be enthusiastic in my efforts to support her election. If the voters in Pittsfield agree, she'll be a welcome addition to a very strong – and very Democratic – legislative delegation from the Berkshires.
Last week, I traveled to Pittsfield with two members of our staff for the event to kick off the final election. Our staff has been in regular touch with Tricia and her team this week and I’m looking forward to being back in Pittsfield early on Saturday to help and would encourage any Democrat who is free to join Auditor Suzanne Bump as Tricia's campaign kicks off a canvassing effort that will be crucial to her victory.
It's beautiful in the Berkshires this time of year.
John Walsh, Chair
Massachusetts Democratic Party