Monday, January 30, 2006

Gabrieli Declines to Run for Lieutenant Gov

The Boston Globe today announced that Chris Gabrieli has decided not to run for Lieutenant Governor. The Tom Reilly campaign had leaked last week that they were in talks with Gabrieli to run with the Attorney General as an informal ticket for the September primary. As of yesterday, it appeared that they were going to announce the formation of that ticket today, but apparently, Gabrieli has backed out. Frankly, I don't think this loss hurts the Reilly campaign as much as David does, but maybe they're wishing that they hadn't leaked the news last week.

From everything I've heard, Chris Gabrieli is a good Democrat, and has been a candidate in search of a race for a number of years. That said, I'm not sure what he would have added to the Reilly ticket other than money. Now, I know that money's important, but the idea of the all-but anointed gubernatorial candidate anointing his lieutenant wouldn't have helped Reilly's case that he's not the same-old Democratic insider that voters have found unappealing for years. While that depiction of him is not necessarily fair, the press coverage of late -- particularly the Conte phone call -- is creating this perception, almost as background noise. Sure, maybe it hurts Reilly for a day in the news that he didn't get who he wanted, but maybe it's better that he doesn't look like he's making backroom deals to pick his LG.

By the way, the Globe article contains this curious passage:

The negotiations over a Reilly/Gabrieli ticket came just days before Saturday's local party caucus around the state, where Patrick is expected to win a large share of the delegates to be chosen for the Democratic convention in June. The convention will endorse candidates for statewide office.

Reilly's low-key approach to wooing the Democratic rank and file has surprised party leaders. Even Reilly insiders concede that his aim is not to win the Democratic convention endorsement.
I think the Globe is making a mistake in assuming that Reilly is not working the caucuses -- I know he has the Lowell and Boston machines working for him, and they are certainly making an effort here in Watertown. Not only that, but I find the idea that Reilly would not win the endorsement at the convention as mildly absurd. I know the media likes to pretend that these things are chock full of liberal Democratic activists, but thanks to the rules change last year, the convention is now the largest collection of Massachusetts political insiders ever assembled. Something close to 40% of the delegates will be appointed or ex-officio. If Reilly is not focused on winning the convention it's because he doesn't have to.