Monday, June 07, 2010

The State Auditor Race: A Definitive Look

There's a bunch of people running for State Auditor this year, and I think we should take a look. Full disclosure: I like Suzanne Bump. A lot. I dislike Guy Glodis. A lot.

The Democrats
Guy Glodis: The auditor candidate who has the most experience with the State Auditor office. After all, his Sheriff's office is being audited by the current State Auditor for oodles of wasteful spending and free lunches (literally!). As the hack candidate for office, he's got a long record of bigotry, sexism and homophobia. He's also got bags of money, but given his track record at the state convention, he's not smart enough to spend it wisely. His supporters seem to support him more out of fear of going against the Good 'ol Boy network than the fact that they think he'd do a good job, or even an okay one.
Can he win? The primary? Yes. The General's probably another story, but because Auditor is dooown ballot, he'd have a shot. Then again, voters wouldn't just have the chance to vote against Guy Glodis, they'd be able to vote against Dianne Wilkerson, Sal DiMasi and Big Dig politics, too, because Glodis is cut from the same, exact kind of cloth. To put matters into perspective, even I'd leave that oval blank, should Glodis be the Democratic Nominee.

Suzanne Bump: Sure, as a former Beacon Hill staffer, state rep and Secretary of Labor, she can't lay claim to outsider status, but not all 'insiders' are bad insiders. She's definitely the good, experienced, knows-how-to-get-stuff-done kind. As Labor Secretary, not only did she win a lot of praise, but she did a great job managing an office many times larger than the State Auditor's. She has a wonderful progressive record from her Beacon Hill days and has some great ideas for using the office to make sure the state's many offices and branches are not only managing themselves in a legal manner, but in an efficient one, too. She's already proven herself in being able to get at efficiencies that save money and improve the system, especially the 1991 landmark legislation she drove through that reformed the Worker's Comp system in a way that benefited both workers and businesses.
Can she win? With a distinguished record and a healthy base of support, she's easily the best candidate on paper. Having met her, she's also engaging, open and honest, and not at all bad at 'retail politics.' So I think paper can match reality.
Mike Lake: Worked in the Clinton and Bush White Houses and claims to have "effectively managed" it. Needless to say, that sounds like a Kirkian overstatement to me, but he's welcome to describe what exactly he did, beyond making a computer program, and how that amounts to running its day to day operations. That said, he's clearly a very bright person and a great up-and-coming talent in the state's Democratic Party, showing he has the ability to create around himself a nice cadre of dedicated volunteers, who can often make all the difference in the world.
Can he win? It's within the realm of possibility for him to win the primary, but it would get harder from there. His biggest issue in the race has thus far been the concept of Energy Audits. It's something the Patrick administration got through and is working on already. While there's some question of redundancy in the State Auditor's office picking that up as well, in addition to the notion that energy audits is outside the auditor's scope, it seems a legitimate way to save money and make the state even more efficient, so the idea certainly has some merit. It may just not play that way in a general election.
Given that, he could easily be pinned as naive and inexperienced, running for an office with a platform that's outside the purview of the role and redundant in state government. The fact that he looks even younger than he is wouldn't help him avoid that meme. Needless to say, winning the General could be an uphill climb and would require a lot of time and effort by party activists that may be better spent in the Governor's race and other important, competitive elections for Congress.

The Republicans
Kamal Jain: Kamal's the outsider Republican candidate, with a career inside the private sector. He's first generation Indian-American, which would likely be a Massachusetts-first for a statewide winner. He's also from the Libertarian Party, which would have made him a Massachusetts never. He's pushing transparency as his big issue, promising to make all state finance records easily available online. He's not the first and won't be the last to do so, even if he wins. Judging by this article in the Herald, I have to guess he's going to have a sizable ability to self-fund his campaign, but then again he may be trying to make some obscure point that I just don't get. Or is it just for headlines?

Can he win? He doesn't seem like a particularly strong candidate, but he shouldn't be taken lightly either. It's an anti-incumbent year, which may help him against the establishment Republican pick. Can he pick up teabagger momentum to get past his Republican opponent? Probably not, and if he did, it would only make it even more likely the Democrat could win. In fact, that's probably the easiest way either Lake or Glodis take this thing if they win the primary. Then again, maybe he'll make good on his $27 billion "max spending" threats...

Mary Cannaughton: The Big Dog Republican in the race, she'll probably win the primary with ease. She should also have enough money to compete and get her message across, even if she couldn't outspend a Democrat like Glodis. She's a CPA and says she's been trained as an auditor, so the only candidate with more experience for the position is Bump.
Can she win? Her slogan is "professional not political," which shows she's not running as a Republican, per say, but rather as a nonpartisan -- which would help her in Massachusetts. This is especially dangerous since even some of my progressive friends will say that this is the sort of seat they wouldn't mind a "fiscally conservative" Republican to hold. She could absolutely, positively win this race and shouldn't be taken for granted.

A key for Democratic opponents would be to show she isn't nonpartisan and would use the office to make a Tea Party crusade against government. Against Bump and probably even Glodis, she's a definite underdog, but with Glodis she'd have a clear path of attack ("Hack, Hack, Hack!") and with Lake, the media would be doing much of the attacking for her ("Moonbat!" "Young!" "Idealistic!") and a lot of it could gain traction.

The Green-Rainbow Party
Nat Fortune: Nat's running outside the traditional party circles, hoping to pull off the upsets of all upsets. His experience is as a Whately School Committee member and Physics Professor. His wife is on Whately's Board of Selectmen. He has some good ideas, but appears to be mostly a gadfly.

Can he win? Well, I spoke about that issue pretty strongly on this BMG diary, so I won't go to great lengths here. Like many other Greens, he has some good ideas, but finds the political parties so dirty that he makes himself irrelevant by refusing to participate in it, for all intents and purposes. That may make him feel better as a person, but if he ever wanted his ideas to be the winners, going G-R is not the way to do it. No, he can't win, but he may be able to steal enough progressive votes to keep the Democrat from being the winner. If the Democrat so happens to be Guy Glodis, that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

SUZANNE BUMP-Will prove she can "BUMP IT UP", Suzzane knows what is expected of the Auditor's Office, stopping fraud by using the personnel of Special Investigations to the best of their abilities. Working with the Division of Local Mandates to make sure the cities and towns receive the monies they deserve.Suzanne will make sure that State Agencies & Housing Authorities are treated fairly but make it known she will expect any findings to be corrected expediantly.
Suzanne may speak with a soft voice but she has a way of making it clear that she wants results.
Her opponent had his Sheriffs office audited recently, wastefull spending, free expensive lunches etc., not exactly resume material more like a resume for disaster.
Suzanne is a Professional with self decorum, you won't see her making sexist, homophobic & bigoted comments, showing a clear disrespect for those who support her. Go Getem Suzanne you the best!

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