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If she found a new mentor, I might admit I’m wrong about Leah Cole as a State Rep

18 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Since lately, I’ve enjoyed the wrath from both loony right wingers, and well-meaning fiscally conservative friends, I felt it was time to maybe show my softer, more sensitive side, and admit something rare.

I might be wrong this time about it being impossible for Leah Cole — because she is an out-numbered Republican  — to develop into an effective State Rep for Peabody.

But … before you get too excited, understand that my proclamation comes with an asterisk.

You see, before I can be proven wrong, Ms. Cole needs to stop hanging out with the wrong element on Beacon Hill.

If Cole wants to succeed, Reps such as Brad Jones should be her mentor

If Cole wants to succeed, Reps such as Brad Jones should be her mentor

Cole needs to change mentors, and start learning a few things from Rep Brad Jones (R-North Reading). The House Minority Leader is an excellent example of how a Republican can get things done for his district at the State House, despite being out-gunned 5-to-1 by Democrats.

Knowing that he’s outnumbered like Custer at Little Big Horn, Jones wisely picks issues on which he knows he can get consensus with Democrats. It’s  how Jones and the other 20 other pragmatic Republicans in the Great and General Court get things done for their districts.

But right now,  since Leah Cole would rather follow those more interested in obstruction than bi-partisan solutions, there’s a problem.

Cole’s mentor is a right wing ideologue from Andover named Jim Lyons. Lyons, whose handed Cole a few juicy checks for her campaign war chest, is the King of Chuckleheads on Beacon Hill. If you’ve ever heard him on the radio show of hack newspaper columnist Howie Carr, you’d realize how out there on the fringe Lyons is when it comes to issues. Like Carr himself, I’m talking tinfoil hat crazy, and an always angry-at-the-world demeanor.

Instead .. Cole follows Rep Jim Lyons to the lunatic fringe

Instead .. Cole follows Rep Jim Lyons straight  to the lunatic fringe

Not only is Lyons an obstructionist, but earlier this year he marshaled his handful of extremist lunatic pals, and tried to oust Jones from the position of Minority Leader. Why? Well, they don’t like it that  Jones is willing to find consensus with Dems, and make government work for the people of the Commonwealth. Thankfully, there weren’t enough wing-nut votes to get the job done. By the way,  Jones got overwhelming support from the Republican caucus, which voted 21-0 to keep him as Minority Leader.

And guess what?  Knowing his coup was going to fail big. Lyons had his merry band of right wingers, including Ms. Cole,  not show up for the vote.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, and obviously Rep. Lyons isn’t, to realize that you need some support on the Democratic side of the aisle to get issues advanced, whether they’re policy or parochial,” said Jones, during a time when Lyons and his goons failed to oust him. “That’s just a mathematical reality, as much as I may not or he may not like it to be the case.”

Brad Jones is a Republican rep who gets it.

And if Leah Cole would only listen to the wise Rep from North Reading instead of a crackpot from Andover, even I might change my mind about her potential future effectiveness as Peabody’s State Rep.

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Choice should be Joyce-like when it comes to the race for Peabody State Rep

16 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

It’s been almost two years since the passing of Joyce Spilliotis, and each year at this time I think about her when campaigns heat up. That’s because, in my opinion, the former State Rep and Peabody City Councilor was a model of what we should expect from all of our public servants.

We need a rep who went about the job just like the late, great Joyce Spillotis

We need a rep who went about the job just like the late, great Joyce Spillotis

A lot of what Joyce got for Peabody while on Beacon Hill was because she was a Democrat, who was in step with the major themes of those who ran her party. But first and foremost, she always strived to do what was right for Peabody, and the people she represented.

If that meant tangling with the Speaker, so be it. If it meant cutting a deal with members of her party, and even wooing some Republican votes to get what she needed for Peabody, she knew how to negotiate.

At the end of the day, she was certainly a Democrat, but it was always people over party.  It was always Peabody first.

People have asked me lately why I’ve been so rough in this space on our freshman Republican State Rep Leah Cole, and the first thing I usually say is that it’s definitely not personal. Although I’ve met Leah only a couple of times, I think she’s a nice person. I also think it’s admirable when people in her age group get involved in community service, and that we need more 25-year olds running for office, especially when it comes to Library Trustee, school committee, and city council.

But I don’t think her being part of the minority party on Beacon Hill, and her lack of business, leadership and life experience are good qualities for Peabody’s State Rep. to have.

There’s something else, though, and this is where I think about the job done by Joyce.

Many times, I get the impression that Leah Cole is on Beacon Hill to be more of a foothold for the dysfunctional Mass GOP, than she is there to represent the residents of Peabody. I cite her rhetoric during the special election, during which she managed to get about 6% of the district’s roughly 28K voters to fill in the oval next to her name.

During that campaign, and while defending the acceptance of donations from outside of Peabody, she sometimes talked about how State Reps don’t just represent their districts, but also make decisions for the entire state. I don’t think I ever heard Joyce Spilliotis worry about anything other than the people who needed here most back her in Peabody.

“I believe her platform will be different. I am interested in hearing what she has to say. … So much of her support comes from outside of Peabody; I would like to know what exactly she intends to do for the citizens (of Peabody),” Beverley Griffin Dunne, Cole’s Democratic opponent on Nov. 4th ,told the Salem News yesterday.

And Beverley is right. While Joyce Spilliotis was all about Peabody and constituent services, Leah Cole seems more interested in pushing forward with the state Republican Party’s agenda, and wooing support from OUTSIDE of Peabody. She’s worked on a number of fiscally responsible tax issues, which I feel most Peabody people would agree with, but it’s all been rhetoric rather than action, since Republicans on Beacon Hill have very little influence.

Money is not only the “mother’s milk of politics,” it’s also the major thing that ends up influencing the decisions of most elected officials.  This is why my eyebrows are raised when I see that a majority of the money in Cole’s war chest coming from non-Peabody people.

When Cole talks about more responsible tax policies and not bilking the middle class, most of us stand up and cheer. But then we peel the onion, and see that she received $22K in in-kind contributions from the uber right-wing Marlborough Republican City Committee, which is in lock-step with the far right nationally when it comes to social issues. Heck, we all want lower taxes, but I believe that the majority of Mass. voters are live and let live when it comes to same-sex marriage. I also believe that, while most people are not pro-abortion, they certainly aren’t – like most Republicans – against a woman’s right to choose.

This is indeed going to be one of the more interesting Peabody State Rep races in recent memory. All I suggest is that people peel the onion, and ask themselves the following before making a decision:

Which of these two candidates is more like Joyce?

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Poll: With 7 weeks to go, who do you prefer in 6th District Congressional race?

15 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

With seven weeks until Election Day on Nov. 4th, it’s time to take the pulse of of our audience on the Sixth District race for Congress. As always, keep in mind that this poll is not scientific, and only reflects the opinions of our Eye On Peabody audience.

Please be sure to share this on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, so we can get an even larger sample.

Richard Tisei

Richard Tisei

Seth Moulton

Seth Moulton

 

 

 

 

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Dunne and the Dems need to avoid over-confidence in state rep race against Cole

10 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

I’ve heard it already a few times today. Less than 24 hours after Beverley Griffin Dunne’s convincing victory over Jim Moutsoulas in the Democratic primary for Peabody State Rep, people are saying that Republican incumbent Leah Cole will be trounced by the Peabody School Committeewoman on Nov. 4th.

And all day … I’ve been telling them they’re taking Cole way too lightly.

Leah Cole ... working toward the fringe?

Leah Cole

Beverley Griffin Dunne

Beverley Griffin Dunne

Make no mistake, if she runs the right campaign, and is able to raise some money, I feel that Dunne will be our next State Rep from the 12th Essex District.  I also feel that Dunne would be a far more effective state rep than Cole, who as a member of the minority party on Beacon Hill,  has no shot to bring Peabody anything more than a scrap of the bacon.

For the simple reason that Democrats overwhelmingly dominate the Massachusetts Great and General Court, Peabody needs a Democrat in that seat.

But while I don’t think Cole, or any Republican for that matter, can help Peabody get what it needs when it comes to local aid, I also think that people are way underestimating the incumbent’s strength as a candidate.

People who underestimate a Republican’s ability to win in Peabody are either misinformed, or still living in 1972.

Peabody is no longer a city dominated by Democrats. That’s not just me talking. That’s science. Although Dems still outnumber Republicans almost 4-to-1 in our fair burg, those without any party affiliation outnumber Democrats almost 2-to-1.

These voters, designated as the “unenrolled,” have the most impact on all of our elections, and are the reason why Republicans Scott Brown (twice), Charlie Baker, and Richard Tisei have carried the vote in Peabody in recent elections.

It’s also one of the reasons why Cole won in the first place. Oh sure, Cole was definitely aided in that special election 18 months ago when Dunne and Dem-turned-independent Dave Gravel split the vote. But mainly conservative, ticked off unenrolled voters put Cole over the top. I know this first hand after my door-to-door campaigning last fall for Ward 5 Councilor. With many unenrolled voters I visited, it was sometimes snarls once they learned that I was a Democrat.

But the great conservative unenrolled vote is not the only challenge faced by Dunne.

Ms. Cole is not just some candidate from South Peabody. She is a young trophy piece for the Massachusetts Republican Party in what is a sea of blue on Beacon Hill. With the exception of Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei, Cole will get more Mass GOP attention when it comes to money and strategy than any other Republican candidate this cycle. She already has a 4-to-1 advantage over Dunne when it comes to cash in her war chest.

She’ll have plenty of dry powder to launch mail campaign salvos at Dunne, painting the Democrat as a dreaded “liberal,” while painting herself as a state rep with a record of fighting to keep your taxes in check. Even though Ms. Cole has no power on Beacon Hill to keep salons from raising your taxes, and even though Dunne is a moderate on many issues, Cole’s anti-tax message will sound good to those reading the brochure.

This will not be a cake walk for Beverly Griffin Dunne. If the Democrats take Cole lightly, their candidate might go down in flames. It’s something that everyone who wants to see that seat turn blue again needs to understand, and believe.

Get ready, because like the Congressional race, this one is also going to be a battle to remember.

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Looks like Tisei will go after Moulton by trying to portray the Dem as a Tierney ‘clone’

10 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Now that the shock and awe of last night’s primary  victory by Democrat Seth Moulton has come and gone for Richard Tisei, we’re suddenly getting a glimpse of the Republican’s battle plan for the Nov. 4 final election for Congress in the 6th District.

Seth Moulton

Seth Moulton

Richard Tisei

Richard Tisei

When Moulton, in historic fashion, upset incumbent John Tierney, 49-41%, many North Shore politicos wondered if this also meant an end to Tisei’s hopes in the final.

After all, while polls were showing that Tisei this time was likely to topple the nine-term Congressman in November, a match up with Moulton looked bleak for the Republican.

After all, Tierney offered a treasure trove of “material” for Tisei, a moderate Republican who lost to the incumbent by just one percentage point two years ago.

There were plenty of ways for Tisei to attack Tierney. But how in the world could he possibly go after Moulton, with his five Harvard degrees,  business experience., and noteworthy service record that included several tours in Iraq as a combat-tested Marine captain?

How could they possibly attack someone with no scandals, and no voting record?

We now have an idea.

It appears that Tisei will attack Seth the “Clean Marine” by trying to paint him as … wait for it …  “John Tierney Light.”

“Seth Moulton may have defeated John Tierney in the primary, but if elected to Congress Moulton would be a less effective carbon copy than the inept Tierney,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement released last night. “As Moulton said, he agrees with Tierney ‘on all the issues’ and that is exactly what makes him so wrong for Massachusetts families and small businesses.”

The other part of Tisei’s strategy will be to portray Moulton, a first time candidate, as someone who doesn’t have enough experience to serve in Washington. It’s not con coincidental that Tisei’s immediate message in front of the TV cameras last night surrounded his own political experience.

Understanding that this attack is on its way, Moulton even joked during his victory speech last night about how “I was six years old” when Tisei first won political office. Moulton is 35. So, we expect some more playful barbs about Tisei being an “old man” at 52.

But as for the strategy of trying to paint Moulton as a Tierney clone, the Tisei campaign and the Republicans might want to be careful.

After all, although Moulton continuously played the “progressive” card in an effort to woo the Democratic Party activists during what was a hard-fought, more ideological-based primary, you can expect his message to take more of a mainstream turn en route to the Nov. 3 final election.

There’s no doubt that Moulton is a Democrat, and will stand with his party when it comes to core issues in the party platform. But trying to paint Moulton as being bad for families and small businesses?

Sorry, Mr. Prior, but in the words of Waylon Jennings, that dog just won’t hunt.

One thing, though, is certain: If you’re a political junkie like me, this is definitely going to all make for marvelous theatre over the next eight weeks.

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Why is Congressman Tierney lying about fellow Democrat Seth Moulton’s record?

6 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Being a moderate Democrat, I haven’t always seen eye to eye with Congressman John Tierney. But that was always about the issues. After all, it’s OK for Democrats on all sides of the spectrum to disagree. It’s what makes our party a “big tent” of different ideas.

Seth Moulton has forced Congressman John Tierney to lie out of pure desperation

Seth Moulton’s surge has caused Congressman John Tierney (right) to lie out in recent campaign mail pieces

It’s how I expected Mr. Tierney would approach his battle against challenger and fellow Democrat Seth Moulton, who he faces in Tuesday’s primary for this 6th District seat. Surely, our Congressman would uphold the honor of the office, and respect Moulton, his fellow Dem, by running a hard, mud-free, honest campaign.

Boy, was I wrong.

The latest campaign mailers from the Tierney camp, which landed in my mailbox this week prove that Tierney not only has no interest in debating Moulton only on the issues, but that the Congressman has decided to bring shame and dishonor to his office by lying.

On the heels of a poll by Emerson College this week, showing that Moulton was virtually tied with Tierney after trailing him by 42 percentage points earlier this spring, the Tierney camp put out two reeking-of-desperation mailers that are filled with despicable lies. The two pieces are so bad that I actually feel embarrassed that John Tierney is a fellow Democrat.

Both pieces distort the facts and lie, saying that Seth Moulton is being backed through the donations of right wing special interests groups, that he worked for prominent “Republican politicians in Texas,” and once said “he wouldn’t run for Congress as a Democrat.”

But fellow 6th District Democrats, we have a problem …

Tierney Lie No. 1: The “right wing donors” that Tierney claims are “bankrolling” Moulton’s campaign is one right-leaning PAC from New Hampshire that last year sent Moulton an unsolicited check for $1,000. What Tierney’s piece doesn’t tell you is that Moulton immediately returned the donation, once learning that this PAC usually only donates to Republicans. But even if he didn’t return the check, saying that $1,000 is “bankrolling” a campaign that has raised more than a million dollars is quite a whopper of an exaggeration.

Tierney Lie No. 2: The “Republican politicians” the Congressman says Moulton “worked for” was actually just one man, and it had nothing to do with politics. A few years ago, Moulton got a job working for a private-sector high-speed railway, whose chief exec just happened to be a retired judge, who is a registered Republican.

Tierney Lie No. 3: Tierney tries to insinuate that Seth Moulton is a Republican in disguise. Moulton is a life-long Democrat, who once he decided to run for Congress, never left any doubt that he would run as a Dem. From Day 1, his issues all fell in line with the mainstream, mainly progressive Democratic Party platform.

These lies are all despicable, and Mr. Tierney should be ashamed of his behavior.

Moulton forces virtual dead heat with Tierney in Congressional contest poll

5 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

moulton

Seth Moulton … “The Comeback Kid”

After a barrage of mailings and TV commercials by challenger Seth Moulton, a new poll indicates that the race for the Democratic nomination in the 6th Congressional District is now virtually a dead heat.

The independent Emerson College Polling Society released a poll today showing Incumbent John Tierney with just a 47-44% lead over Moulton in the Tuesday, Sept. 9th primary.

Although it’s uncertain if Moulton can come all the way back on Tuesday, the new poll shows that he is indeed the “Comeback Kid.” An Emerson poll in April showed Tierney with a 64% to 11% lead over Moulton.

The latest poll was conducted Sept. 2-4th, with 343 likely Democrat primary voters, and has a margin of error of 5.3%.

The poll featured further bad news for Tierney.  Another survey also asked about general election match ups. In a November matchup between Tierney and Republican Richard Tisei the Republican holds a 51-43% edge.  Meanwhile, the Emerson poll gives Moulton a 44-36% edge over Tisei.

It will be very interesting to see what affect the Tisei match up part of the poll has on hardcore Dems, who obviously don’t want to lose this seat to a Republican. Up until now, many of the North Shore city and town committees, including the Peabody Democratic City Committee, have been solidly behind Tierney.

In the Democrat primary poll, minor candidates Melissa DeFranco comes in at 4%, while John Devine gets just 1%.

Overall, 6% remain undecided.

Poll: Who will you vote for in Peabody State Rep Democratic primary?

4 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

James Moutsoulas

James Moutsolas

Beverley Griffin Dunne

Beverley Griffin Dunne

With less than a week to go before the Sept.9th state primary, let’s see where The Eye audience stands when it comes to the most-important local race on the Democratic side.

Who do you prefer to be the Democratic nominee for State Rep in the 12th Essex District: Beverley Griffin Dunne or James Moutsoulas?

Please be honest, though, and ONLY take our poll if you are eligible to vote on the Democratic side on Tuesday, and you live in the 12th Essex District (Peabody Wards 1-4; Ward 5, precincts 1 and 3 only). Only vote in our poll if you are either a registered Democrat or an unenrolled voter who plans to take a Democratic ballot.

I would appreciate your honesty here so we can get some indication on where our growing audience is trending.

I’ve set this up so you can only vote once.

Moulton now has Tierney’s attention; did the incumbent get caught flat-footed?

26 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

As the race to become the Democratic nominee for Congress in the 6th District gets more interesting by the day, North Shore political pundits start to wonder if maybe incumbent John Tierney and his team got more than a little complement following some rosy polling data last spring.

Suddenly, incumbent John Tierney (right) can't simply ignore challenger Seth Moulton

Suddenly, incumbent John Tierney (right) can’t simply ignore Democratic challenger Seth Moulton

At the time, an internal campaign poll showed the incumbent leading challenger Seth Moulton by 47 percentage points, with just 20 percent undecided. It looked like the Tierney campaign could start spending its dry powder on “evil Republican” fundraising emails aimed at a November re-match against Richard Tisei, who lost to the incumbent by just one point two years ago.

Fast forward to today. Moulton, a Salem businessman with three degrees from Harvard and a resume that includes four combat tours in Iraq as a Marine captain, is hard-charging toward the Sept. 9th primary. He’s spending more than a million dollars on mail pieces and TV commercials, and at this point has all of the momentum.

The Moulton TV ads are clearly working, and this morning the Tierney camp was hit with some further “shock and awe” when the Boston Herald endorsed Moulton, writing “Tierney continues to run his stealth campaign, and we continue to be amazed that anyone would vote for him when there exists in Seth Moulton a smart, fresh-faced alternative.”

So what happened here? Did Team Tierney get caught flat-footed and all giddy following that April poll? Or, was it simply some of that legendary Tierney arrogance that allowed Moulton to make it a race.  Certainly, Tierney himself didn’t take Moulton seriously following that poll, and now watches in horror as Captain Seth races up from behind.

Whether Tierney will end up the Democrats’ version of Eric Cantor, still remains to be seen.

Moulton’s message is clearly resonating with Democrats, who are looking for new, bright leadership, and are fed up with the Pelosi Gang in Washington. But the question is whether there are enough of these type of pragmatic, centrist (and progressive) Democrats to overcome Tierney forces that are made up of the Tierney toadies who infest the Democratic city and town committees across the 6th District.

We shall see if Mr. Clean Marine can come all of the way back here, but at this point one thing is definitely clear:

Seth Moulton now has John Tierney’s attention.

Things getting interesting (and close) in race between Moulton and Tierney in the 6th Congressional District

20 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

We’re suddenly getting an answer to when  the Seth Moulton for Congress campaign will begin it’s frontal assault. After pacing incumbent John Tierney for more than a year when it comes to fundraising, the Moulton campaign is suddenly using a barrage to get its message of change out to those who will vote in the Sept. 9th Democratic Primary.

I’ve received no fewer than four, glossy  mail pieces from the Moulton campaign in the past week, and lawn signs are popping up all over Peabody and elsewhere in the 6th District. And now,  Moulton TV ads are starting to inundate the local airwaves.

The full-court press is on, and no doubt the polls are tightening up. Back in the spring, Tierney’s internal polling gave him a large lead over Moulton, but we suspect any day now we’ll be hearing about an independent  poll showing that the embattled Congressman might actually be “on the ropes” in his battle against Moulton.

Either way, it’s shaping up to be a difficult campaign season for Tierney, who — if he survives Sept. 9th’s primary —  will need to deal with Republican Richard Tisei. And Tisei came within a hair of defeating Tierney two years ago. It’s no wonder that many national pundits have deemed Tierney as being one of the most-vulnerable incumbents this Congressional election cycle.

For those who really love the game of politics … this is getting very interesting! Here’s one of Seth Moulton’s latest TV ads:

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