March 1 – Marjorie Decker has withdrawn from the State Senate race to replace Anthony Galluccio.
Here what she had to say:
After consulting with my family, friends, and close supporters over this past weekend, I have decided to withdraw from the Special Election for the Mass State Senate to replace Anthony Galluccio.
I chose to run for Senate for many of the same reasons that motivate me to serve on the Cambridge City Council. To me, public service is advocating for good jobs, affordable housing, better access to health care and equal opportunity.
Last year I called on my family, friends and constituents to give me their time, effort and financial support for my re-election to the City Council. They worked hard and sacrificed much to help me win that election. I have never run for office just for the sake of running.
When the Special Election for State Senate was first announced, I considered the prospects for victory extremely promising. Since I announced my candidacy, the number of candidates has increased dramatically – more than doubling – thus my chances of winning have been greatly reduced.
In good conscience, I cannot ask my family, friends and supporters to give more time, effort and financial support if there is no realistic prospect of success.
Consequently, I have decided that at this time I can best serve by focusing all of my energies and efforts toward my role as a Cambridge City Councilor. As the effects of the recession continue to devastate working families, we have many challenges that must be addressed.
I want to thank my family, friends – new and old, and supporters –from Cambridge, Charlestown, Chelsea, Somerville, Revere, Saugus, Somerville, Allston and Brighton for their willingness to consider my candidacy and to offer their support to me.
It’s worth noting that, up to a point, it was the fact that there were many candidates in this race that helped make Marjorie’s campaign viable – as the only woman in an election that would likely be determined by vote-splitting and personal identity. Denise Simmons’ entry into the race changed the equation substantially, and now Simmons’ candidacy becomes immediately viable for the same and related reasons. Denise is now the only woman in a six-way race and she will likely be able to use her status as an African-American woman, an openly gay woman now legally married to her partner, and as the most recent Mayor of Cambridge to her advantage. This should translate into campaign donations from within the Senate district and from outside the district from various interest groups just as Jarrett Barrios was able to draw those donations a number of years ago for this same seat. Whether this helps her to succeed throughout this district remains an open question.
One factor worth considering in Marjorie’s decision to withdraw (though you’ll have to ask her!) is that she would have to share the support of labor unions with several of the other candidates. Another important factor is that this April/May election will have to be done all over again in September/November and you can only spend your campaign donations once. It is likely that, regardless who wins in the special election, many of the same candidates will do it again this fall, and short-term incumbency is not likely to provide that much of an advantage. It’s entirely possible that Marjorie will keep her resources intact and try again in September under more favorable conditions. If not, she really does have the potential to be a very good city councillor if, as we teachers like to say, she would only apply herself.
Regarding the Simmons vs. Decker aspect to this, I ran some numbers yesterday using the November 2009 municipal election ballots from the 11 Cambridge precincts in this Senate district. Denise Simmons was ranked somewhere on 48.9% of those ballots compared to Marjorie Decker being named on 21.1% of those ballots. Certainly, Marjorie’s status as a write-in candidate was a factor, but it’s reasonably clear that Denise Simmons would have the greater degree of Cambridge support in this election. Denise will, of course, have to share that Cambridge support with Tim Flaherty, Dennis Benzan, and Sal DiDomenico, each of whom have some base of support in the Peoples Republic.
Most of the speculation continues to be that Sal DiDomenico has the best chance right now in this election with Tim Flaherty driving hard for the hoop. Much of this is determined by the fact that Everett is expected to generate 30% or more of the votes in this election and Sal is the Everett candidate (with Cambridge roots). However, the likelihood in this race where vote-splitting will determine the outcome as much as anything is that the winner will largely be dictated by who can raise the most money and assemble the strongest get-out-the-vote effort on April 13. — Robert Winters