Friday, September 02, 2005

A GOP Primary After All?

Fresh on the heels of Charlie Baker's announcement that he's sitting out the governor's race, the Boston Globe's Brian McGrory reports today that former Turnpike Board member and Republican zillionaire Christy Mihos is talking about running. Mihos had previously talked about running for John Kerry's Senate seat, however he's now saying that he wants a competitive primary for governor if Mitt Romney sits out. From the column:

"If [Romney] doesn't run, I believe in competition. I don't ascribe to the belief that we all have to get behind one candidate."
Of [Lieutenant Governor Kerry] Healey, he says: "She's a very nice person. And I like her. But I don't think it does the party any good to have just one candidate. And I don't think people will stand up and say, 'Mitt Romney has deemed her his successor, let's follow lockstep.'"
As with Baker's, announcement, this is good and bad news for state Democrats. Mihos, with his piles of money, will make sure that the Republican primary is expensive for Healey, and whoever else may want to run. The more money they spend before September, the less they'll have to spend before the general election. Of course, Healey and Mihos both have access to practically infinite resources, so don't expect either of them to become paupers before next November. The bigger advantage is that those candidates will likely spend next summer bloodying each other rather than sniping at the Democratic candidates from the sidelines and raising money and resources unchallenged.

The flip side, of course, is that Mihos is a candidate that could potentially catch fire. He's more socially liberal than Romney and he's a bona-fide Big Dig Whistleblower. He can credibly use the old Republican playbook of running against special interests and the legislature without having the baggage of being linked to the current administration. Look for him to play of the fact that Jane Swift tried to fire him because he didn't want to raise tolls while on the Turnpike Board.