It isn't any secret that I've become a fan of Jamie Eldridge - but I just don't like him, I also think he's going to win. I think I have a pretty good track record of picking races, too (Deval Patrick in March '06, for starters). Here's why Jamie Eldridge is going to win:
- He doesn't need tons of cash. If he can win on public financing, with an opponent, he can beat the well-funded Niki Tsongas & Company.
- Despite several good candidates, the blogosphere has largely recognized Jamie Eldridge as the best, progressive candidate. I've noticed that in races where the blogs are divided (i.e. John Bonifaz's campaign, up until the very end), we don't make much of a difference. However, when the blogs become a chorus of support, it's either useful for the campaign or is reflective of a larger political base of excitement that's seeped into the blogs. Either way, the blogs are singing the praise of Jamie Eldridge and it will make a difference.
- His race is exciting. At the health care forum, I truly witnessed it. Lynne told me it was the same at the Iraq forum. If the progressives and grassroots in the 5th district have lined up behind Eldridge, watch out.
- In a Democracy for America poll, Eldridge's campaign took 70% of the support from DFA's district members. That's 70% out of all five candidates. The great importance of that is he'll probably get their official endorsement and support, but it's definitely a good gauge of his support among progressives too.
- Even Tsongas supporters have conceded to me her support is soft. Just read this guy and wonder if she's going to be the next Tom Reilly (albeit a helluva lot more likable).
- With 5 candidates, if all the progressives in the district line up for Eldridge, he wins.
- Furthermore, while he isn't from one of the larger cities in the district, he's the only person from his entire area and the people in the large cities are going to divide their support (i.e. Donoghue and Tsongas in Lowell).
- Primaries have low turnout, especially those that take place in the summer. Special elections tend to be even lower turnout. I wonder how high the turnout is going to be the day after Labor Day? Because that's when this election is taking place. Who's going to show up at the ballots during a Labor Day Special Election Primary? The people genuinely excited about their candidate - or the people who would normally vote based on name recognition or even region?
- Eldridge may not be that far down in the polls today, with an entire summer to make up whatever the minute difference is. I've heard several rumors that in Tsongas's internals, he's pulling a close second.
So there we go. Jamie Eldridge is going to win this thing - in this blogger's eyes. However, I will remind all primary voters to vote your heart. Whoever wins this primary will win this race, even if it's someone scary like Meceli (pro-life and anti-gay). So, like in almost any other primary in Massachusetts, I'm giving my annual reminder: don't vote based on any preconceived electability that may or may not be true, vote for the person you think will best serve the 5th Congressional District, Massachusetts and - most importantly of all - America.