When Grace Ross posted on BMG a few weeks back about contemplating a run for Governor, many people (including me) implored her to either run in the Democratic Primary or not run at all. We don't need to give Tim Cahill, Christy Mihos or Charley Baker any help in nudging Patrick from the Corner Office. So, that she decided to challenge Governor Patrick in the primary does not bother me. In fact, it's not only a good thing for Democracy, but ultimately a good thing for Governor Patrick.
All that said, she has a very, very steep hill to climb to even get on the ballot. With just days (literally) to convince longtime party members to mount a caucus effort (an almost impossible task given that she just became a Democrat and couldn't have a Democratic grassroots effort yet), she's going to need at least 15% of State Democratic Convention voters to endorse her candidacy at the convention to get her on the ballot. Caucuses take place in your local community between February 10-24 and any Democrat can run for it (check with your local paper, or contact your local ward/town/city chair, for specific times and locations).
Of course, Chris Gabrieli pulled off getting on the ballot way after that year's caucus meetings, but there was lots of backdoor dealings that few people without the pockets and clout of Chris Gabrieli could pull off -- and Patrick, despite having a masterful caucus strategy that won him a majority of supporters for the convention, was still a political newcomer that did not control the party apparatus at the time. So while Ross starts out a little sooner, she's actually much further behind than Gabrieli was to the 15% promised land.
I supported Governor Patrick in 2006 and will almost certainly do so again, enthusiastically. Given the economic realities of the past three years, he's done a remarkable job. From ending bad corporate loopholes, to passing the transportation bond bill in the nick of time (our state's own second stimulus), we've weathered the economic storm better than most and are poised to come out of it much stronger than most -- which runs counter to our history with economic recessions.
I could talk about a dozen other things -- marriage equality, environmental bills, pension and ethics reform -- but it's not going to change my mind: Grace Ross in the primary can't possibly hurt Governor Patrick's reelection efforts. In fact, it could help him. She was a breath of fresh air in 2006, very sharp in the debates, and will force Patrick to work that much harder for votes, that much sooner. Competitive primaries, more often than not, help candidates sharpen their message, grab lots of free media and build their ground efforts -- so when they get past the primary, they're best poised to win in the general. So, despite the fact that this blog will almost certainly oppose Grace Ross's candidacy, it certainly welcomes her heartily to the race.